Brentford v West Ham United: match preview

Next up we cross London to what used to be called Middlesex where we will be hosted by Brentford. Kick off is 2pm with no UK tv coverage, this being a Sunday match thanks to our European involvement.

So Brentford then. They’ve won two, drawn one and lost four of their last seven, their latest outing last weekend being a 1-0 defeat to PGMOLiverpool at Anfield when yet another poor refereeing performance handed the home side three points.

Their two wins immediately prior to that reverse came at home to Forest and away to Chelsea. All that has left them in 10th place with 50 points from the 35 games they have played so far. No real chance of Europe or going down. Mid-table mediocrity one might say but all things are relative – it’s a position they would have died for only a few years ago.

Daisy had a reasonably quiet time of things when we played them back in January – there was little transfer activity in the transfer window and what activity there was either related to their development squad or came a bit late for inclusion in these pages.

Daisy tells me that they did bring in one grown-up signing in the form of Kevin Schade. The winger is on loan from Friburg until the end of the season, the deal being expected to go permanent during the summer for what is likely to be a club record fee, part of which may have been increased by virtue of his having picked up his first two German caps during the March international break.

One should mention a bit of a curiosity in the loan arrival of Romeo Beckham who came in from Inter Miami II – the second string of the club owned by his Dad. It may be overstating it to suggest that Dad bought a club just to give his son a game but the fact that the full back couldn’t get into the first XI out in Florida and has been brought in to play for the Brentford B team suggests that skills may be more on a level with his mum’s musical talents than his Dad’s skill with a ball.

They will of course be relying to a certain extent on the skills of Ivan Toney. It is a matter of some debate as to whether Toney should be on the pitch at all at the moment. He was originally charged with betting on matches back in November with further charges bringing the total up to 262 back in Decmber. It appears he accepted some, but not all of the charges back in March. Since when the authorities done the square root of nothing at all.

Surely they only have to find him guilty on one charge to issue a punishment? A ban of six months is being talked of and, of course it would suit Brentford no end if at least two months of that were to be served in the close season. Or maybe they are going to treat it as annual leave so that he can pick the games he misses, thus avoiding the need to go up to all those horrid places up north. Either way, the glacial speed with which the authorities are moving is incredible even by their standards.

Meanwhile Bees’ manager Thomas Frank, when asked how he saw how Toney would progress, he responded to the effect that he would get "better and better". I’d like to think that the choice of words was deliberate but given English is an (admittedly well-spoken) second language for the decidedly German Frank, I suspect the double entendre was unintentional. More’s the pity.

Let’s move on to the wild and wacky world of Association Football. And with the vultures starting to circle over the not fit for purpose PGMOL, Howard Webb has announced that next season the audio from the discussions between on-pitch referees and VAR officials will be released after matches for discussion on TV.

Referees will of course be on their guard so most of the "help me out here mate" conversations will be toned down or edited out. However, it should reveal just how awful our officials are. With any luck it will be a nail in the coffin of an organisation that has presided over the worst decline in refereeing standards in the history of world football.

Elsewhere Accrington Stanley defender Mitch Clark has gone on another level from Ivan Toney by having no fewer than 312 charges of betting levelled against him. It will be interesting to see how quickly Clark gets dealt with in comparison with Toney. In fact I think I will pop down to Winstone The Turf Accountant to see if he will open a book on which case will be heard first.

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Throw in the Obnoxious Klopp’s disciplinary hearing which has been pending since the start of the month and it could be a three-horse race.

And so to us. Well it was hard work but the result was right in the end. I said in the first half to Maltese Hammer who had made the trip over that we needed to get Benrahma on the ball a lot more than we had done up to that point. On the few occasions he did get to take on his full-back he had him – as I believe the expression goes "on toast". The referee didn’t help things much, seemingly trying for the record for the number of completely wrong decisions made in a single match not involving Mike Dean.

Thankfully even he couldn’t ignore the attempted decapitation of Bowen by Ryan who, arguably might have walked – the penalty incident was worth a yellow for the reckless nature of the "challenge" and he later picked up a deserved yellow for the time wasting for which he received his first warning on 13 minutes.

Thankfully we didn’t have to rely on a referee trying to work out what handball is as Antonio was alert enough to bundle the ball home to give us the lead after the ball was pushed off the line by a defender.

When a team comes with the sole intention of damage limitation sometimes you have to grind out a victory. Whilst they will be happy to still be in the tie the down side for them will be that they will need to be a bit more forthcoming in a manner that will suit us down to the ground.

Back to Sunday and Scamacca, who it appears couldn’t be arsed to watch his teammates in a major semi-final, is out, obviously. I wonder how sore that knee will be if we get through to the final?

Coufal, whose attitude seems to be everything that Scamacca’s isn’t, has a small chance of playing but with safety pretty much assured I wouldn’t expect him to be risked with bigger fish to fry. Ogbonna has been unwell with the sickness bug everyone has been getting whilst Antonio was hobbling a bit at the end on Thursday night. Likely to be available but may not be risked.

So the prediction then. Well much will depend on what sort of side we put out. There being nothing on this game – and it having little effect on anything of consequence elsewhere I expect that there will be some changes with a side more akin to that which started the Cup match there in January.

Having said that we won that one, so on reflection I will be taking the £2.50 that I was going to put on Klopp’s disciplinary hearing being first to be heard and placing it instead on a draw. Please make that a bet on 2-2 if you will Mr Winstone.

Enjoy the game!

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When last we met at the Brentford Community Stadium Won 1-0 (FA Cup 3rd Round, January 2023

Poor game enlivened by the introduction of Benrahma who, whilst his goal owed a little to ordinary goalkeeping, was probably the brightest thing on a dull winter’s night.

Referee/VAR: Michael Oliver/Rob Jones

Oliver gets a remarkably easy ride from everyone, presumably on the strength of his telling everyone he’s the best we have. After recent weeks it would be nice if he could do something to prove it.

Danger Man: Ivan Toney

Top scorer allowed to carry on playing thanks to his case proceeding with all the pace of a freshly-kneecapped tortoise.

Percy & Daisy’s Poser-Type Thing

Last time we visited the pages of NL news for the following headline:

"Bomb" that forced evacuation of Alkmaar courthouse was XXXXX XXX"

Well done to Mrs Boerdereij-Zoetermeer of Holland On Sea for spotting that the missing words were "pedal car".

This week we go all historical as we look back 18th century writer Dr Samuel Johnson. In a conversation with Scottish economist Adam Smith Johnson is reported to have responded to a lengthy Smith ramble with the words "but pray sir, have you seen Brentford?". Our poser this week is:

What was Smith going on about to prompt such a reply?

Good luck everyone!

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