The first game of the season is a special one for so many reasons. I‘ve spoken before about the roller coaster of emotions we go through as football fans and nothing epitomises that more so than the first match of the season. After what has, let’s face it, been a horrid 18 months or so, this time it all felt a little bit different. As I rolled into an unfamiliar part of West London, I had the cliche butterflies in my stomach. Brentford we are here.
With the butterflies soon replaced with beer all that was left was to greet all of those who I’ve missed over the course of the pandemic. It was very much “the usual suspects” and soon after we arrived the chanting started. The pub was rocking, the beer was good and the company was even better. We are very much back!
No beer, no goals, no defence
I’ll come onto the match in a moment but firstly a word on the new Brentford stadium. I’ve always found the decision not to serve alcohol to away fans irritating if not slightly understandable. But no beer, no programmes and the weirdest selection of food I’ve ever seen at football made the whole thing very “meh”. The atmosphere wasn’t brilliant despite the best efforts of the traveling faithful, the home support was almost non-existent. But hands down the most annoying aspect of the away end is the bank of TV’s suspended above the fans. Quite what the point of showing everything happening on the pitch below but with a 5 second delay is, who knows.
As for the match itself, aside from the opening 15 minutes or so we were so poor. The analysis has been done to death but we I simply couldn’t see where a goal was going to come from. Yes we were missing strikers but we barely threatened the Brentford goal. Shot after shot sailed high, wide or straight at the keeper. Not good enough at this level and far from the start we wanted. And there was something very “stokey” about their second goal as well. Leno was fouled but the ball was allowed to bounce and then was bundled in. All from a long throw. Must do better.
A hellish journey back included dashing across platforms, two cancelled Ubers, barely making my train and then a long, slow walk home. Not a happy boy.
There are two weeks of the transfer window left and Edu and Arteta have their work cut out to turn this around. We’re a long way off where we need to be and with Chelsea and City imminent, we need to turn it around. On Sunday we go again.