Pretty absurd end to the Nations League campaign there, but don't beat yourself up for it. As others said, it may bring with it more advantages than finishing third would have!
A Swarm Of Bees - Christmas Carol (EP 19)
Last month was another success and The Bees we sitting comfortably at the sixth place, which will see them play some continental football if we finish there, but this seems like dream that could never happen. Nobody would not even think for such scenario in the start of the season, but here we are now in the beginning of December talking about possible League Europe finish. I'll be more than happy if we just avoid the battle for relegation, so anything else will be bonus. However our last match last month was the awful loss against Crystal Palace, so we should be really careful!
Mbeumo is injured and will miss almost the whole month. We have not the easiest schedule playing against Leicester (A), Chelsea (H), Watford (A), Everton (H), Bournemouth (H), Manchester United (A).We will need to rotate a lot more this month as we have too many games.
Leicester vs. Brentford
Playing against the most underachieving team this season as the Foxes are just 2 points away from the relegation zone. We were the far better team in the first half and Ollie Watkins got us the lead after a beautiful set up by Benrahma! We controlled the match, but in the first minutes of the second half our left back Rico Henry got injured and we didn't have a person who is natural at his position, so Tilo Kehrer finished the match at LB, which was used by our opponents who didn't stop attacking down his wing. However we survived and got a precious win over the new manager of Leicester - Neil Lennon! Pedro Chirivela was the POTM providing great passes from the back.
After the match we learn that another player from our initial starting XI is injured - Rico Henry will miss the whole month, disaster news. We have the young Dominic Thompson and the not-so-good-performing Adam Andersson who can play on this position.
Brentford vs. Chelsea
We eliminated Chelsea last year in one of the cups and they got the revenge this time. This time we were purely outplayed by the current PL Champions. However we missed a lot of chances, especially between their second and third goal and didn't play as bad as the scoreline shows. The third goal was the final nail it the comical match that Dalsgaard played. From one of the free kicks they hit the bar, the ball comes back in the feet of the Danish player, nobody around him and he BLASTS IT in our net.
The youngster Thompson played okay on the left back, but now we have problem on the right as Dalsgaard performance was too bad.
Watford vs Brentford
OLLIE F`N WATKINS! What else can I say! Playing against the really well performing team of Watford which are led by Steven Gerarrd. Both teams decided to go for all the three points from the first kick of the ball and it was really entertaining! We turned the scoreline after we received a goal from corner kick and played with confidence after that. In the final quarter of the game they pushed us hard and got the goal they wanted. In the extra time of the match Ollie Watkins scored brilliant goal from outside the box into the far top corner to get the glory and the headlines in the papers! (The goal won Goal of The Month) What a performance by him! Sierallta made his debut for us just now and played really well at the back and the young Dominic Thompson was the other player that impressed a lot, the youngster provided 2 assist, proving the trust put on him!
In the week before our next match another injury happened - maybe our most stable player, the goalkeeper David Raya is injured and will miss at least 2 matches, maybe more.
Another important thing that occurred - Ben Pearson & Ethan Pinnock came to my office and demanded more playing time, Ethan even suggested to goal on loan just to play, he was simply flawless last year so he deserves it and will get a chance to prove himself. Ben was another case and he was told that there is enough time for him to show us his quality and he understood that. (he gets sub parts, but started just 2 matches for us).
Two days before the next match Mathias Jensen, the most important player on our roster called sick, so we will miss 4 of our initial eleven against Everton. We started with not our typical players and made SIX changes.
Brentford vs. Everton
I'm okay with this result, we played almost all of our reserves and they performed really good, we just didn't won. Of course Everton are really good side and took us to the limits, but our defense (Andersson-Jeanvier-Pinnock-Thompson) didn't disappoint. Even the POTM was awarded to Pinnock who got his chance and took it by the neck! Christian Fruchtl also showed his quality and saved a lot of shots! That was not the case in another match for Tibbling & Eliasson, just mediocre displays.Pretty good performance given the circumstances.
And by the Murphy's law - "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." After his brilliant display and clean sheet against Everton - Fruchtl injured himself in training which means that in the next match we will have to play with our third keeper between the posts. The only returning player was Jensen.
Brentford vs. Bornemouth
Great gift for our fans as we beat the cherries at Boxing Day! Superb display by the young lad - Dominic Thompson, who replaced Henry and nobody even noticed, even he is making great runs,. He scored a banger, nobody in the stands expected such a powerful shot and also won POTM! Mathias Jensen (2) & Ben Pearson (1) bossed the midfield and provided the assists. It's great news that all the players that demands more playing time, show their quality! Alexander Isak haven't scored from two months so the young Forss is getting more and more chances to prove himself and he clinched our win with a nice finish! Unexpected heroes for inspired Brentford! Also our third and very promising Icelandic goalkeeper Gunnarsson played well.
Another blow for the team as Said Benrahma will miss at least 2 matches and the really well performing Thompson will miss the last match for the month against Man Utd, we are getting more and more thin at the bench.
Manchester United vs. Brentford
We didn't replicate our play in the first match against the Red Devils. That plus the performance of Greenwood who just embarrassed our defense twice as he run through it. Another factor was the too many injuries and missing players. The young Finnish striker Forss gets another goal which is promising and maybe will earn him a start in the league. Not the best way to finish our most successful year, but we missed too many players - Mbeumo, Henry, Raya, Benrahma, Fruchtl, Thmopson. We must perform at 110% if we want to match the play of the big clubs in the league and that was not the case.
Player of the Month
Terrific month for our top scorer Ollie Watkins, who won us 2 matches with his 4 goals! The performance against Watford was godlike as there are not so many matches like this in the career of the footballers! Even that he is played sometimes on the wing, sometimes up front - he just don't disappoints! Superb month for Watkins!
Mathias Jensen played really well and got 3 assists for the month, the young Dominc Thompson also deserves recognition as he was brilliant scoring 1 and assisted 2.
LEAGUE TABLE & VERDICT
Even though we won 3 of 6 matches we dropped one position into 7th (even points with Everton), but of course I'm more than happy about it. We are just 3 points behind the CL spot which is unbelievable. We managed to get another successful month behind us.
Liverpool finally lost (against Norwich, typical FM), but are too good for the other teams. We, Watford & Everton continue to impress and are in a tough battle for some continental football. Leicester are really struggling (I don't know how with these players that they've got), hopefully they will escape from the tight position there are in.
A lot of the players that didn't get many chances impressed this month and showed that they deserved their place in the squad - Andersson & Thompson on the wingback, Pearson & Chirivella in the centre of the field and Fross upfront! This that I can trust them means a lot. Both reserve goalkeepers also turned up when needed! Pinnock & Jeanvier show their form from the last year and I have 4 equally good CBs.
Tibbling is showing no progress, Isak has not scored from almost 3 months, Fosu and Raggett are not showing the needed quality. The last two maybe will be transfer listed.
Dalsgaard contract is expiring in 6 months so if there is a nice offer for him, he will go. We already sold Reece Cole (youngster) to Almeria for €230k. as his contract is also expiring. We will try to make some more profit with selling another youngsters.
Before the start of the transfer window we already rejected a lot of offers - €18.75M for Pontus Janssen & €13.5M for Said Benrahma by some Chinese teams. Loan offers for Baptiste & Sierralta (Marsille and QPR)
Another packed month is coming up as we will try to continue our good form.
Thanks for reading once again & hope you enjoy it.
Tango, Scott & ZedT - quite frustrating, yes, but of course good standing in the Nations League can be a great bonus in upcoming qualifications. We were competitive in all matches except the first one, so I'm not worried so much. Sadly, we will play weaker teams next year.
TheLFCFan - Yes, the Norway winning against us in the last minute and the comeback for Romania over Norway from 0-2 were the turning points, we were not so lucky this time.