Brentford have played some of the most attractive, attacking football in the Championship for the last few campaigns, but have just missed out on the play-offs, largely due to a failure to convert their dominance in games into wins, because of missed opportunities.
Last season Dean Smith’s side enjoyed most of the possession against most of their opponents, but a combination of missed chances and failing to hold onto leads meant they finished in ninth place six points outside the play-offs.
However, this season The Bees appear to have found the clinical edge that was missing last season. Their improvement in front of goal has been down to the form of both Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins, both have now had a year to adjust to life in the Championship and are now beginning to consistently convert the opportunities that are falling their way. Maupay is the divisions leading scorer with seven goals so far, despite missing some games through suspension, while Watkins has also scored four.
The stats highlight the improvement that has been made in the attacking third, with The Bees averaging two goals a game so far this season, a marked improvement on the 1.3 goals per game they averaged over the course of last season. Smith’s side are also averaging 15.1 shots per match, which suggests they are continuing to provide opportunities to their forwards.
Not only are Brentford starting to become more clinical in the last third, but they are also showing an added steel in defence. Last season their biggest Achilles heel was throwing away leads in matches, but they are showing more composure in defence now and beginning to see out matches more comfortably. The 2-0 win at home to Wigan on Saturday demonstrated their new-found ability to see out games that they have dominated.