Ahead of the 2022-23 season, fans and pundits from across the globe questioned Brentford's ability to survive. Even despite a positive start, many remain convinced that the Bees will be struck with 'second season syndrome', where supposedly, the Premier League becomes much more difficult to survive. But following a formidable 4-0 win over Manchester United, Thomas Frank clearly has the keys to unlock any opposition defense, and should be set for another season of success. Here is our analysis of Brentford so far this season, and their potential to challenge for a top-half finish this campaign.
Game of Numbers – #3 – The Evolution of the Target Man
Target Men are often seen as the bottom of the barrel centre-forward in terms of footballing ability. But increasingly, it's becoming more difficult to quantify 'Target Men', recognizing the vast skillsets they employ. The likes of Aleksandar Mitrović and Sasa Kalajdzic are easier to distinctly categorize as 'Target Men' for their physical, imposing frame that allows them to score headed goals for fun. But it becomes more difficult to keep the likes of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez in that same specification, recognizing the vast array of traits they possess, particularly speed on the break. Target Men have historically been seen as slow, technically inept individuals who use their physicality, whether that be height or strength, to get one up over the opponent. But more and more, we are seeing an evolution of the 'Target Man' in 2022, to include a vast array of traits.
Undervalued Premier League Talents: Christian Eriksen
On Saturday February 26th, the Premier League witnessed one of its most harmonic cheers, heard all across the globe. The day marked the remarkable return of Danish superstar Christian Eriksen, making his debut for Brentford after suffering a heart attack during Euro 2020 for his native Denmark. For Bees fans, it was a momentous occasion. But Eriksen played it cool, almost as though it was just another day at the office.
Undervalued Premier League Talents: Teemu Pukki
Although Teemu Pukki has succumbed to relegation for the second time with Norwich City, he remains one of the most fascinating and complete centre-forwards on the planet. Full of exceptional movement, intelligent pressing, and a natural eye for goal, Pukki scored 11 times in both of his two Premier League campaigns for the worst team in the league. Now at the age of 32, Teemu Pukki is unlikely to return to the Premier League. That said, his price tag according to Transfermarkt sits at just €5 million, which would be an absolute steal for a player who's hit double figures in both of his Premier League seasons. With that, we discuss and analyze the remarkabilities of Teemu Pukki, and the potential suitors for the Finnish forward if he were to seek pastures new this summer.
Analyzing the Premier League table based on Expected Points (xP)
The use of probability models in football to calculate Expected Goals, Expected Goals Conceded and Expected Points, have taken off to new heights in recent years - with more fans, coaches, managers and even players paying attention to these hypothetical numbers. Between statistical probability, the actual result, and the expectations for all that has been produced, we analyze how many points each team should have won in each match, based on Expected Points.
Our Ten Most Popular Analyses of 2021
2021 was the most successful year in the six year history of TheMastermindSite.com. Over the course of the year, we doubled our number of views, visitors, social media followers and email subscribers from where we left off in 2020. Our most popular feature and the aspect of our website that has gained the attention from pro club managers, former and current professional players, and writers from The Athletic, has been our tactical analyses all year long. So with that, here are the ten most popular analyses of the year, all written by Rhys Desmond in 2021.
The Longball – Newcastle’s New Found Fortune, Wolves’ South Korean Sensation and United’s Injury Crisis
John and Declan are joined by Jamie Smith of The Mag to talk about the Newcastle takeover, how Manchester United can deal with the injuries to Maguire and Varane, and Declan's souring opinion of the Bees of Brentford! Follow the show on social media @mastermindsite and use the links below to follow our great panel.
The Longball – Premier League Preview Show – Brentford
On this episode of The Longball Premier League Preview Show, John and Declan are joined by Brentford superfan Billy Grant of the Beesotted Podcast. The panel discuss how the nerds have taken over the Bees in their meteoric rise to the Prem, how Brentford might not just survive but thrive in England's top flight, and their deep love for a particular wonderkid.
Thomas Frank – Brentford – Tactical Analysis (2020-21)
Since taking over in 2018 from Aston Villa's Dean Smith, Thomas Frank has turned Brentford from an average to below average Championship side, into a nearly unstoppable one, with now two back to back playoff finals in two seasons. Frank's tactics emulate the same principles as some of the world's best managers and teams in the modern era, with unique takes that have turned The Bees into one of the most efficient sides in the division. Even if they can't make it happen in the playoff final for the second year running, Brentford appear as though they will be in the Premier League sometime very soon, due to their excellent recruitment, and Frank's exceptional management and tactics. Here is our tactical analysis of Thomas Frank's Brentford in 2020-21.