Just another day…… – 3/8/14

palaceWhere do you start after an afternoon that was packed so full of action, excitement and talking points?

In football terms the day was a total success as Brentford finished their preseason with a flourish by outplaying Premier League opposition in Crystal Palace and totally deserved their victory by three goals to two.

Brentford’s smooth passing style totally bamboozled a big, hard and tough Palace team that provided a stern challenge, but were unable to deal with the pace and movement of Brentford’s midfielders and attackers who interchanged to marvellous effect.

Having faced the tippy tappy possession based style of Nice and Osasuna in their previous two friendlies, Brentford wanted to face a high quality team which played in a traditional English style in their last preseason game and Palace totally fitted the bill.

The score by no means flattered the Bees who could and should have scored six had it not been for some desperate last gasp defending and some shoddy finishing.

Andre Gray was a revelation, pulling the defenders out of position, holding the ball up, and providing a constant goal threat. He missed a sitter just before the break but later took a far harder chance, drilling home from the edge of the box after a clever turn.

As for Moses Odubadjo, he scored a winning goal that lit up Griffin Park and has merited countless repeats on Sky Sports News.

Taking a long diagonal ball from the impressive Tommy Smith on his chest, he flicked the ball effortlessly over the left back, retained full control at top speed and roared into the penalty area where he dipped his shoulder, left Damien Delaney for dead and had enough composure to keep his balance and slot home a goal that defied both gravity and belief.

I lay awake last night replaying this goal in my head with a sense of amazement and anticipation at just how good Moses is and how much we should expect from him over the coming season.

Gray palaceYet what would have impressed Mark Warburton just as much as the goal was the moment early in the game when Moses made a lung bursting seventy yard covering run back towards his own goal and dispossessed the speedy Bolaise somewhere near our left corner flag after a quick Palace break had threatened danger.

Moses has already shown that he is total class and is worth every penny we paid for him.

The Tabar/Douglas partnership also played its part in the win with both players dovetailing perfectly and the way Jonathan took Marcos’s flick in his stride, waltzed into the penalty area, rounded his man and contemptuously curled the ball into the far corner had to be seen to be believed and demonstrated his growing confidence.

It isn’t often that a player shows signs of real improvement to his game after the age of thirty but Jonathan seems to be bucking the trend.

The pair of them are beginning to understand each other’s game, with one sitting and providing defensive cover and the other motoring forward in support of the attack and apart from a crazy ninety seconds where we committed defensive hari-kari by conceding two soft and totally avoidable goals, we looked solid and confident at the back.

Alan Judge was also a live wire, revelling in his free role and creating danger for the Palace defence everywhere he roamed.

Matthew Benham has just started his game of posting cryptic clues about new arrivals which given that his brain seems to work in a totally different dimension to mine, are totally above and beyond me, however I assume that a new striker will be arriving next week to fill the major gap in the squad.

All sorts of names, some close to home and others more exotic are being bandied about on the message boards and social media and I am sure that all will be revealed shortly.

I will look more closely at the make-up of the squad and our likely opening day line up over the next few days but after putting things off as long as possible, let’s now examine the elephant in the room. adam-forshaw-brentford

After playing half a game on Tuesday, Adam Forshaw was expected to play some part in yesterday’s match, a fact previously confirmed by the management. He failed to appear on the teamsheet and was, indeed, absent from Griffin Park.

Mark Warburton confirmed that a second and still unacceptable bid had been received from a “rival Championship club”  (or Wigan, as we all know) and that Adam had been given a couple of days off to consider his future.

I wrote an article a few days ago, probably and justifiably long since reduced to the internet version of fish and chip paper, where I stated with utter conviction that Adam would stay at the club for a while longer and that any approach from Wigan would be firmly rebuffed.

Candidly I still feel that Adam would be best served by playing another season at Brentford where he would be an automatic first choice and a major driving force in the team.

The extra experience and profile he would gain would make him an even more enticing prospect for clubs far higher in the food chain than Wigan.

Judging from Mark Warburton’s body language and tone of voice yesterday I suspect that things have changed.

I can only surmise that Adam’s head has been turned by the offer of a wage packet far beyond our capabilities and that his agent is feeding him tales of the immediate riches that can be obtained elsewhere.

Maybe something similar happened with Clayton Donaldson too?

If that is the case then Wigan can slowly increase their bids from their current apparently derisory level, aware that there is now a two-pronged attack being launched on Brentford from themselves and the player’s agent.

I might be wrong but that is my guess about what is happening behind the scenes.

Maybe Adam will decide to remain at the club a while longer but I now feel that his departure is far more likely, as long as Wigan decide to negotiate seriously and finally come up with a figure that is acceptable to us.

I am sure that all will be revealed in the next forty-eight hours.

I would be very sad and frustrated to lose Adam but yesterday proved that we are incredibly strong in midfield and still have Alex Pritchard to come back from a minor training injury.

Forshaw would be a major loss, as any player of his calibre would be, but as long as we get a decent price for him, and only Matthew Benham knows what that figure would be, I remain confident that we would still cope – no thrive – without him.

No player is bigger than the club and I am sure that Mark Warburton already has a potential replacement in mind.

Forshaw leaving for a large fee would also prove helpful to us in terms of meeting the restrictive requirements of Financial Fair Play.

Yes, I know, I am grabbing at straws, and like all Bees fans I hope that he decides to stay but an unsettled player is of little use to the club and the dressing room.

So a day of mixed emotions with a week of high drama and theatre expected before the big kick.

I await the next act with bated breath!

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