Beesotted contributors The Gowler and Paul Kowalczyk (@BeesBreakdown) give us the tactical and statistical lowdown of Brentford’s draw to Wolverhampton.
Thomas Frank switched back to a 4-3-3 to face a struggling Wolves side. Ben Mee, Dasilva, and Wissa returned to the starting lineup, while Zanka, Roerslev, and Onyeka went to the bench. Brentford prefer to line up in a 4-3-3 against perceived weaker sides where they can hold more possession.
Wolves lined up in their 4-2-3-1 with Neves, Nunes, and Podence highlighting their attack. An injury to Nunes gave Moutinho an opportunity to impress, while new signing Guedes came on late.
The Bees also had to make an early change as Jensen came off injured after 37 minutes. Damsgaard showcased some of his passing ability, which was much needed with Jensen off. Dasilva also provided creativity going forward and did well defensively, completing 5 tackles and two blocks. Another bright spot off the bench was Keane Lewis-Potter, who impressed in a short 15 minute cameo.
Brentford didn’t rely on long balls as often as they have in previous matches. Fans were audibly unhappy at times, due to passing the ball back to Raya, but this allowed Brentford to stretch Wolves’ defense and create space going forward.
45 + 4
Possession: Brentford 58% – 42% Wolves
xG: Brentford 1.4 – 0.6 Wolves
xG set play: Brentford 0.83 – 0.11 Wolves
Big Chances: Brentford 2 – 0 Wolves
Other Brentford stats:
Total Shots: 12
Aerial duels won: 18 (62%)
Brentford created good chances but again were missing that final pass. The Bees showed glimpses of good buildup play, but struggled to consistently execute. Wolves left plenty of space between their midfield and defence for Brentford to exploit, but the Bees had difficulty taking advantage. Brentford would get into dangerous areas, but Toney couldn’t capitalize.
Damsgaard and Dasilva had decent matches with ups and downs. They both will need to play with more consistency before being unquestioned starters. The inconsistency in the midfield has been a difficulty for Brentford this season as they wait for Nørgaard to return from injury. Jensen’s injury is also concerning as he has been a crucial component of Brentford’s team.
A frustrating match for Bees fans to watch as Wolves took advantage of multiple time-wasting opportunities. Wolves used a clever, yet disgraceful, tactic to fake a keeper injury to stop the match while another Wolves player received treatment instead of playing with 10 men. As Jay Harris of the Athletic pointed out, the ball was only in play 44% of the match. This is the second lowest of any Premier League match this season. Wolves showed more tactical prowess at taking advantage of the rules than they did on the football pitch.
When Wolves felt like playing, Brentford did well to force them wide and minimize chances going into the middle. Neves’ goal came from a low percentage chance (0.04 xG), but because of the players blocking Raya’s view and the pace on the shot, the Post Shot xG was 0.34. Brentford had a few good chances, but could not capitalize on them. Mbeumo and Toney each missed a chance from headers only a few yards from goal. Toney’s yellow card means he will be out for the next match, leaving questions about his replacement.
Another disappointing match that Brentford probably should have won. While Brentford played well, they failed to capitalize on their chances. Wolves made it very difficult for the Bees to find a rhythm. The Bees travel to Forest this weekend and hopefully will end the losing streak away from home. Hopefully Brentford can expand on the play style implemented against Wolves to control the game and utilize their chances more efficiently.