Historically known as the 'Target Man', we've rebranded this term to be all encompassing. More than just about any role, the word 'Target' immediately paints a picture of the type of player we're looking for. That is, someone strong, typically tall, aerially savvy, robust, and frequently used by their team as a target for advancing up the pitch. In the hockey sense, they would typically be the one responsible for 'roughing up the opposition'
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.
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.
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.
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.