Are Brentford in a Premier League relegation battle?

5 min

Injuries, suspensions, a disastrously difficult stretch of late, as well as perhaps a bit of complacency, have all contributed to a Brentford decline this season. 

After two remarkable Premier League campaigns that exceeded every expectation, it was hoped the Bees would be able to kick on from the previous campaign’s comfortable top 10 finish.

But, at the end of the day, the Premier League doesn’t care what issues a club may face, with the stark reality being that Thomas Frank’s side are just five points above the perilous drop zone.

Brentford are currently 15th in the table having claimed just 26 points and one win in their last nine, leaving many supporters looking over their shoulders with a shudder.

Of late, the fixtures have been difficult as an onslaught of “Big Six” clubs have taken on the Bees since the end of January – Tottenham, Manchester City (twice), Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. 

All things considered, they did relatively well in most of these fixtures, forcing late winners from Arsenal and Man City while very nearly getting an unlikely win over Chelsea before an Axel Disasi equaliser shared the spoils. 

And while it was encouraging to see good performances out on the pitch, the reality was one single point came from these games. 

There is no reward for simply playing well against the top teams, and while the ever optimistic Frank would be able to pull the positives from it, supporters merely saw their side slump further down the table. 

READ MORE: Brentford have shown enough glimpses of encouragement as a cruel month comes to an end

While some may excuse the lack of points against these bigger sides, there have also been some inexcusable performances against sides closer to the Bees in the table. 

A 4-2 loss at West Ham was arguably one of Brentford’s worst performances since their promotion to the Premier League, outplayed and looking lethargic from the first whistle as the Hammers raced into a 2-0 lead in under ten minutes.

Most recently, the Bees had a chance to steady the ship, or at least keep their heads above water going into the international break as they trekked up to Turf Moor to take on Vincent Kompany’s Burnley. 

However, an early red card for Sergio Reguilon that also resulted in a penalty for Burnley meant the Bees were up against it for 80 minutes, eventually succumbing to a 2-1 defeat.

Their lone win since January has come against Wolves, with a 2-0 win at Molineux appearing to be a turning point, only for it to prove a false dawn.

Since then, the Bees have lost five and drawn just once and have been outscored 15 to seven during that period and only holding a lead in 14 minutes of 540 minutes played

READ MORE: “We need to look at what we can do” – Thomas Frank on the startling issue hurting Brentford

In many ways, Brentford have also been the architects of their own downfall, with poor defending in crucial moments and sloppy turnovers in midfield.

Some of these woes can be attributed to countless injuries as the Bees are without a true full-back other than Mads Roerslev – and have often relied upon a makeshift back three of Kristoffer Ajer, Nathan Collins and Zanka.

Without Ethan Pinnock to clear up messes or the vocal leadership of Ben Mee, the backline has too often looked disjointed, fragile, at times lazy, and defeatable.

It’s fair to say injuries have made life hard for Brentford this season but surely now is the point where that’s no longer an argument and just a rationalisation for poor defending and poor performances. 

At what point do Brentford have to look themselves in the mirror and say enough is enough?

Life doesn’t get much easier for the Bees after the international break either, with matches against Manchester United, Brighton and Aston Villa to come. 

Games against Sheffield United, Luton Town and Everton will provide a chance for Thomas Frank’s side to put some breathing space between them and the bottom three – but as Burnley proved, they are no easy games at the business end of the season.

READ MORE: Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins is an unstoppable force Brentford should be proud of

While endless excuses could be made, the reality is Brentford are in a relegation battle, which is slightly unfamiliar territory for this side. 

Good performances without points to show for it are useless now, and to pretend otherwise is to be in a state of pure denial.

Given the small gap Brentford still hold over their relegation rivals, their future is still very much in their own hands, but they need to get points on the board, and they need them fast.

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