Rosler makes good start
Brentford are nearly two months into their first season under Uwe Rosler’s leadership – and the Manchester City legend has made an impressive start.
Rosler’s appointment took many Brentford fans by surprise, when after a long process, he was named as Nicky Forster’s replacement.
But since arriving at Griffin Park, he has impressed with the quality of his signings and the style of football in which he wants the team to play.
Sure, there has been the odd blip along the way, but that happens during the course of a nine-month season.
Results and performances would suggest that the Bees are more than a match for most teams in League One but that they haven’t yet managed to reach the level where they can beat the really good sides.
For example, Brentford had no problem seeing off Yeovil and Leyton Orient at home and should have also earned three points against Colchester.
But an impressive-looking Tranmere side and an even better-looking Preston both wrapped up comfortable and deserved victories in west London.
It has been a similar story on the road – although the victories have been more hard-fought.
“Clayton Donaldson has started to find the net a bit more regularly – but even when he is not scoring he is always involved in build-up play.”
Exeter, Walsall and Wycombe could all have taken a point off the Bees but in each case Rosler’s side held on to secure the victories and followed that with a fourth successive win on the road last Saturday at Oldham – their first by more than a one-goal margin, which means they have won twice as many away as home games.
One thing Rosler has not succeeded in yet is changing the game when his team go behind.
In the league, Brentford have so far lost every time they have conceded the first goal – and the only match they have turned around was the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie at MK Dons, which they eventually won on penalties after a 3-3 draw.
Against Tranmere and Preston, they did not seem to know how to rescue the match and once they went two goals behind it was game over.
At Bramall Lane, Brentford played well in the first half but a very poor 25-minute spell after the interval cost them the game.
On the positive side, some of the football seen at Griffin Park has been an absolute joy to watch.
Brentford played some lovely stuff in the opening-day win over Yeovil and Shaleum Logan’s beautifully-made and taken goal was a perfect way to cap the 2-0 win.
But that was nothing compared to the 20-minute spell in the first half against Colchester.
The touch, movement, passing and awareness of the players produced one of the best sequences of play seen by a Brentford side in a long time.
The one thing missing was a goal – and ultimately the Bees paid for that when the Essex side scored a late equaliser to draw 1-1.
The quality of the new players arriving at the club has been a big plus.
For a player to turn down the chance of a move to Ajax in order to join Rosler’s revolution – step forward Harry Forrester – says a huge amount about what the manager is trying to achieve.
Although the former Aston Villa player has only started one game so far, he showed enough potential in that match to prove that Bees fans can expect great things from him.
Logan is another who has shown that he has plenty of class – it’s just a shame that injury has sidelined him since the middle of August.
Clayton Donaldson has started to find the net a bit more regularly – but even when he is not scoring he is always involved in build-up play and looks an intelligent player.
Add the wing wizardry of Niall McGinn, a regular Northern Ireland international, the leadership of ever-present Jonathan Douglas, and the defensive qualities of Marcel Eger and it is clear Rosler has bought well.
The established players have also been showing their worth as competition for places hots up.
Sam Saunders displayed his talent with a dead ball in the 5-0 demolition of Leyton Orient, while Richard Lee turned in a man-of-the-match performance in front of nearly 1,500 travelling fans to preserve the points at Wycombe.
And Rosler has not been afraid to blood youth – starting 18-year-old Jake Reeves ahead of some more experienced players in seven of the side’s 10 League games after some impressive performances in pre-season.
The drop in the number of substitutes from seven to five has definitely affected the club, with more players now not getting a look-in on a matchday.
With Donaldson and Gary Alexander Rosler’s first-choice striking partnership, Charlie MacDonald was relegated to the bench for all the early league games and was left out completely at Exeter.
MacDonald moved to MK Dons because he wanted regular first-team football and many fans were sorry to see him go. He contributed a huge amount to the team over the past three seasons with his goals and 100% commitment.
But Brentford must look to the future now and the hope that Rosler’s side can fulfil his aim of being in the top 10 by March.
If that can be achieved, then if the club can have more luck with injuries than they have had so far, we could be in for a very exciting final two months of the season.
But that’s all far ahead of us and more immediately there is a very exciting October to look forward to.
Games against Saturday’s visitors Huddersfield are always eventful – and that fixture is followed by a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy rematch against Charlton on Wednesday week.
The month also features three more home games and the long trek to Carlisle.
One date not to be missed is October 22, when Brentford come up against former boss Martin Allen and ex-Bees players Stuart Nelson, Ben Burgess, Gavin Mahon and Sam Sodje at Notts County.