Brentford’s August Review: results belie performances

With a two-week break from the Championship for internationals, this is a good time to review how all 24 teams have looked in their first five league games. Here’s our assessment of Brentford.

What we said in pre-season

“These are exciting times for Brentford, with midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo adding grit to guile. The Bees might not be the biggest spenders, but they make up for that with clever recruitment and a fluid system that enables attacking players to flourish. 6th

Have they surprised us so far?

Yes, but it’s too early to re-assess the Bees too drastically. With the talent in their squad and general performance levels, they should not occupy a bottom three position. The fact they currently do is down to problems in both boxes, but these look fixable. The basis of an exciting team is there.

The positives

Brentford’s play in the middle third has been, at times, a joy to watch. Neal Maupay bamboozles defenders with his sharp runs, Florian Jozefzoon has shown bags of pace, Ollie Watkins has adjusted to this level seamlessly while Romaine Sawyers is becoming one of the league’s most creative players. Keep getting into good areas and results will start to pick up.

The negatives

No matter how dominant Brentford have been this season, imperfections in key areas linger. They have the propensity to miss 10 good opportunities and then concede from the first chance the other team gets. They must start being more ruthless while on top and show some defensive concentration at vital moments.

Late business?

Jota’s likely move to rivals Fulham might grate with fans, especially given the support the club gave him during a difficult time in his personal life. However, the Bees have a consistent, progressive system that enables young, attacking players to come into their own, which is why Jota can be replaced from within the current crop. Arguably a bigger blow would be Harlee Dean’s possible exit for Birmingham, which means a defensive leader should be Dean Smith’s number one priority.

The Football Lab’s Grade

Based solely on results, this grade would be an F. Based solely on performances, it would be a C. The latter should give fans confidence that the former will improve. D