The Inside track on Brentford: What Middlesbrough can expect ahead of Riverside meeting
The transfer window has slammed shut and Middlesbrough must now turn their attentions to Saturday’s clash with Brentford at the Riverside. But what can they expect?
We caught up with Bees supporter Billy Grant from podcast Beesotted Brentford to get the inside track on Boro’s next opponents.
1. How are Brentford shaping up after pre-season and their opening fixture?
BG: “We’ve had so many players come in, you can’t really take too much from our pre-season really. On top of that we had our top striker (at the time) Neal Maupay and winger Said Benrahma not play in our opening match against Birmingham due to transfer speculation.
“We were dominant - 78 per cent possession and 800 plus passes. Hit the woodwork three times. Blues keeper made some blinding saves. But we lost to Birmingham’s only goalmouth chance - a 20 yd header. Our keeper Raya was a spectator. That result was so so Brentford.”
2. Who are Brentford's key players and who will Boro need to look out for?
BG: “Blimey where do I start? We have pretty much a whole new squad. Key man Maupay has left for Brighton. Benrahma still has a cloud around him. Central defender Pontus Jansson was bought into sure our leaky defence so I would say he is a key player.
We’ve been begging for a really effective defensive midfielder and are hoping Christian Nørgaard will do the job. I’m also excited to see what sort of danager winger Bryan Mbeumo - just signed from Troyes for £6million - will cause.”
3. What system are Brentford likely to play?
BG: “Against Boro I’m figuring we we’ll go three at the back. Two wing backs. Two in the middle. Striker up front flanked by two out wide.”
4. How are the Brentford fans feeling ahead of the meeting with Boro?
BG: “Not sure. Maybe we have made too many changes at once to expect a result.
“We know potentially we have a great side. We have signed a number of players who were wanted by some big teams. But the reality is we have pulled in eight first team players to date so we really need to see how they will gel.”
5. What would mark a good season for Brentford this season?
BG: “Reaching the playoffs would be a great season. We have the quality. But I’m thinking maybe we’re bringing in a whole new squad this year to gear ourselves up for a promotion push next season - our first season in our new stadium.
“If we go up this year, it will be a bonus. And a great way to see out Griffin Park - the stadium we love.”
6. Finally, how do you think the game will go and what's your score prediction?
BG: “A lot of new players - many of whom I have no idea how they will perform on the day.
“I’m going safe. A 1-1 draw. After being beaten by Boro year on year, our unbeaten run at The Riverside stretching to a whole three matches.”