Date: 2nd January 2017 at 11:38am
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The fixtures over the Christmas period really show what clubs are made of. Not only do the players have to resist all the temptations that surround them in order to stay fit for the run of games, the manager is also tested in terms of team selection and how he rests players whilst still putting a strong side out. For me, it really does show which managers are suited to the job and those who are not.

Today sees Brentford make the journey to Birmingham for a league game just 2 days after the Blues played a tough game against Barnsley. It won’t be the easiest game as Brentford tend to be tenacious and play well as a team together. Due to this, the one to watch article is more difficult to piece together as not one player stands out. They are like cogs that all need to work together in order to get the desired outcome. However, with squad rotation and a higher chance of injuries being picked up because of fatigue, it may play to our advantage and mean that Brentfords usual cohesion is disrupted.

Last time we faced Brentford, I chose Bentley as their one to watch. He then duly gave away a penalty and also let a shot sneak under his body so you could say that I played a vital part in that game despite the prediction about the oppositions most effective player being slightly off. I’m hoping to do the same today. I think that we should be beating teams like Brentford though so I will choose a Brentford defender for the one to watch and this week it is Harlee Dean.

In his 23 appearances this year, he has received 9 yellow cards. This shows that he is not afraid of putting a boot in, in order to slow the game down and take one for the team. But it does also mean that if he does pick up a yellow card, then we do need to exploit that and really drive at him because he tends to dive in no matter if he is on a warning or not so we have to be smart. He occasionally has been played as a full back but it is more likely that he will play at centre half. If he does, then it is his aerial ability and willingness to block anything that really puts him above others. He reminds me in a way of John Terry. Not blessed with pace, but just hurls their bodies in the way of any shot or cross in order to clear the danger and it is an admirable quality in a defender.

Brentford do like to play the ball out using their fullbacks also so if we cut off that supply line and force the ball inside to the likes of Dean, they’re less comfortable in moving forward. Dean often elects to play the long ball which I am hoping we can deal with effectively as we have strong headers of the ball in defence. Overall, we need to attack with pace and move the ball at a faster pace than we did in the opening minutes at Barnsley.

Brentford are there for the taking. I believe we can beat them and that we should be beating them. But it won’t be an easy game and they will set up very defensively. I just hope we use Che Adams or even Viv to try and break down that slow defence.

 
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