Good afternoon and welcome to our Saturday 5.30pm game between Brentford and Everton at Gtech Community Stadium. The home side have played five games and have six points, results have been mixed and a little deflating after a fine campaign last year. They began the season with a home draw against Palace, then an excellent 3-0 win over local rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage. Then a 2-2 draw with Spurs followed by a 1-0 defeat up in Newcastle. Then a 2-2 draw at home to Bournemouth. So all in all, three home games with three draws…
… but if you had to pick a visiting team to help you get your party started in front of your own fans, why not Everton? The hapless Toffees have picked up where they left off from last year, losing at home to Fulham and Wolves, getting pumped at Villa, losing at home to Arsenal and drawing at Sheffield United. That gives them the princely sum of one point from five games. They are in the relegation places and they’re highly likely to be there or thereabouts in May. They’re third favourites to go down with only Luton and the Blades less fanciable as a Premier League proposition for next term. Sounds about right to me from what I have seen so far this year.
Everton’s record at Brentford is poor: they have played seven times in West London, drawn three and lost four, that would equal the record set by Derby County in 2000-01. Jim Smith’s side eventually managed to secure 17th place and stayed up. That was a heck of a turnaround around from the Rams actually: after 13 games they only had seven points. Anyway.
On the subject of slowe starters, I just the following excellent stat on the BBC: that Sean Dyche has a weirdly terrible record in August and September. A Dyche side has not won in August or September in 14 attempts, when his Burnley outfit beat Norwich. Maybe the big man’s coaching philosophy takes a while to bed in. Or maybe he and his teams prefer the levelling factors of driving rain, cold etc.
Here is Dyche on the season so far: “There is a lot of good in it but the league table doesn’t lie. I can’t change my tune when you’re going well and when you’re not. The underlying story is better than the league table says but at the end of the day we are the only ones that can change that. I am under no illusion we have to change that. Sometimes you want to play well, if you don’t and you win then at this stage you take it.”
So in summary the league table doesn’t lie but in this case it does?
We will have team news and updates from 4.30pm this Saturday afternoon and then kick off is at 5.30pm. I’ll also be blogging the 8pm match, involving Manchester United by the way, so please stick around for that if you can.