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  1. Given Watkins has outscored Rashford and Sterling most Villa fans I know think they got a good deal. Smith obviously knew what he was getting having managed him a season and a bit. I suspect if Villa didn’t have Grealish they’d have outbid West Ham for Benrahma. Particularly as Moyes wants him to do more defensive work and hasn’t played him in the freer forward role he had with us. But even in a team giving him that role he’d have needed to improve his defensive work rate, which is probably another reason he went for less as a player who still had some development ahead whereas Watkins ‘’merely” had to step up to the higher level, which perhaps is overstated a jump given how well Bamford has done. I think both would have stayed had we gone up and we’d have made a better fist of the PL this season than Fulham or WBA. Oh well I’m hoping we don’t find out how much Toney goes for because we’ve gone up and not sold him!
  2. Both teams are capable of giving the other a beating. Which one will, or if it ends up a sterile 0-0, I haven’t the foggiest. League position, being 7 points clear, at home and harder to score against make Norwich favourites but if the favourites always won where would the fun of football be? The only really silly comment is the one about getting Toney for £20m. Come on, he’s matched Watkins’s goals with a dozen games to go while chipping in 9 assists so what part of that makes him worth £13m less than him and less even than we got for Maupay the season before?
  3. He was out for most of last season with a cruciate ligament injury but the league suspension meant he got a few sub appearances and was available from the start of this season but it took him quite a while to regain full match fitness and form (not really until November/December). Early season he was poor and worse for trying too hard to do things his body wasn’t yet up to executing, particularly stepping into Benrahma’s position. Looking good now.
  4. Well, apart from Pontus Janssen (out for the last 3 months not back until end of next month at earliest), Christian Norgaard (out since October maybe back in a couple of weeks), Charlie Goode (out most of the season through illness), Emiliano Marcondes (out a couple of months, not yet in contact training), Shandon Baptiste (out since September, unlikely to return this season), plus shorter term injuries recently for Josh Da Silva and Bryan Mbeumo, that’s spot on. Everyone has had injuries to key players, but it’s nice when opponents haven’t noticed because the understudies have performed so well!
  5. It’s quite flattering really to ‘show’ Brentford would would be out of the bottom 3 even if we’d played with 10 men all season. But I’m a bit disappointed at the thoroughness of the job done as it has only looked at Toney’s goals and not his 9 assists. We really would be sunk then!
  6. No lack of ambition, just the realism of knowing we can’t hang on to players who’ve shown their ability to be given a chance to make the step up if the club doesn’t itself go up. We’d have probably hung on to Benrahma and Watkins if we’d gone up and I think we’d have been competitive in the PL. The ambition, starting from a much lower base, is similar to yours, but going from a perennial midtable L1 club to one that’s competed in the top half of the Championship to one that hopes to establish in the PL without a billionaire backer is a long, hard slog.
  7. Touché! Having experienced the nadir of being beaten regularly down the bottom of L2 I’m quite happy if we get the red and white of the King of the Mountains and ascend to the PL (though stripes not spots- don’t want to look like Mr Tumble!).
  8. A fair comment and I’ve been following far too long not to have experienced many such bad runs (eg last season it wasn’t the last two games that did it but a weak start and a lacklustre handful of games prior to the last pre-lockdown game). I take a bit of comfort from us not having played especially well in many of the games in the run- there were many fans going ballistic at a toothless 0-0 away at Wycombe as well as for having conceded late equalisers to you, Swansea and Blackburn at home. We also have some key players who’ve been out a long time, like Jansson (hopefully back late March) and Norgaard (back training, maybe ready in a couple of weeks). I think it will be a bit like a Tour de France stage. You were staging a breakaway but Brentford and Swansea have jumped the gap and the 3 teams could fire each other on to keep and grow that gap ahead of a sprint finish. One or more might not have the legs to do it or suffer a puncture and get swept into the peloton. The one coming third will probably otherwise end far ahead of 4th and then have to pick itself up for the play offs. Leaving that analogy aside, there’s also the chance of a 4th team joining us. If Reading beat us on Wednesday they’ll be well placed after having gone through their own bad patch.
  9. Quite right. We did mess it up in the last 2 games of the season where a win or two draws would have given us second and a lacklustre display in the play offs (which we have never won in 9 attempts). But at the league’s suspension we were well adrift of top 2 and just sustaining a play off spot would have been decent after a poor start. 8 wins on the trot gave that tantalising glimpse of automatic promotion. Season before last we did well to stay in touch but only had 3 away wins all season, one of which was a technical one as Bolton couldn’t fulfil the fixture. This season is looking different and hopefully like 13/14 when we followed L1 play off loss (after missing an injury time penalty in our last league game that would have given us promotion) with automatic. But a long way to go!
  10. As a Brentford fan I’m torn between thinking this run can’t go on and not being able to make a strong case for anyone beating us without some seriously freak event!
  11. We are currently missing the following first team regulars: Pontus Jansson- captain, out for a couple of months already and not due back playing after ankle op until end of March Norgaard- Danish international CDM (did a nice job v England!) out since October, got hobbled by Shelvey in Carabao QF and still a couple of weeks off Da Silva- missed 3 games after red card v Spurs, now minor hip injury so might not be back for next game Mbeumo- missed last 2 games after being subbed off early, scored 16 goals last season from wing Baptiste- unlikely to play again this season (we all felt Fosu was a freebie chucked in by Oxford to give him a mate at the club- that’s the Fosu who crossed in for all 3 goals last night) Marcondes- would normally have been playing in Ghoddos’ position Arguably we have been missing the heart/spine of the team through most of our unbeaten run. The run in will be fun. Most Bees were disgusted by Swansea’s approach to our game last week considering they’re meant to be a skillful team so would much prefer Norwich to win tomorrow (though rationally a 0-0 filled with suspensions for both would be ideal! I never wish injury on players)
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