There was a divide in the feeling as we all emptied out of St. Andrews on Saturday. Some felt that we were lucky to get the draw; others felt that we were unlucky and should’ve grabbed all three points. Amongst them was Garry Monk, who, along with everyone in the stadium, said that we weren’t good enough in the first half. But we were much better in the second half, and deserved all three points and repeated the fact the players are a great bunch of hard workers. But to be fair to Garry, everything was off during the first half. The atmosphere was nervous and tetchy, mainly due to the scrappy football.
Ipswich, in my eyes, are easily the worst side I’ve seen at St. Andrews this season. We saw that in the opening two minutes, where we hit the post, and should’ve scored just before. However, the fact that we then allowed them to take the game to us is very worrying. Were the players just not up to it? Or was it just a rare tactical misjudgment from Garry Monk? I don’t think we will ever know but if Ipswich can put two past us during a half where we aren’t up to our best, then I am worried about having a bad half against Brentford on Tuesday night.
I believe that Mahoney and Kieftenbeld have to start against Brentford. They completely changed the pace and intensity of the side in the second half. And of course, let’s not talk about the delicious cross that Mahoney whipped in, in the 93rd minute, which Adams subsequently took, and put it straight at the keeper.
On the other hand, Maghoma needs a wakeup call. I can’t name a game recently where he has been a standout performer or made a significant impact. And maybe dropping him is the answer. Any other player who has a bad run of games, would be dropped, so does the fact he is last year’s player of the year mean that he shouldn’t be dropped? No.
In the 2nd half, we saw glimpses of Garry Monk’s ideas for our side. The diamond formation with Jota in-behind the striker, Maghoma on the left, and Mahoney on the right. This formation looked exciting and if we play like that for most of our games, we will be fine.
Brentford are formidable opposition, they have the league’s top goalscorer, Neil Maupay, who has 9 goals and 3 assists to his name this season. However, they are winless in their last 4 games, with losses against Arsenal and Derby, and draws against Reading and Ipswich. Both Ipswich and Reading are quite defensive sides, who are set up to frustrate the attacking opposition. I wouldn’t say Blues are the same as these sides, as we play some very nice football, but we are similar when defending.
The fact that Brentford have struggled to pick up results against these sides give me hope that we can get a result at Griffin Park. Last time we were at Griffin Park, we were hammered 5-0. And that game proved to be the downfall or at least the start of it, for Steve Cotterill. I remember the gutless feeling I had after that game, I had almost accepted relegation by then, and had no hope for our side under Cotterill. Exactly the opposite of right now under Monk.
I’m not sure if we will get a result at Brentford, but what I am sure of is that if we are at our best, we definately won’t suffer a 5-0 deficit this time. Keep Right on.