Brentford have been struggling in front of goal recently and it raises the question if their forward line is desperately missing that prolific goal scorer.
The season started brightly and in the absence of Ivan Toney, Brentford's frontline were punishing teams with their clinical touch. However, in recent weeks Brentford's form is raising concerns that they're now missing that presence up top whom on which they can rely to score the goals necessary to win matches. Brentford sit 14th in the Premier League, and one of the biggest issues to conclude from their league position is their lack of wins. The bees have drawn an incredible four games so far this season and it can be argued that these results could of all been wins. Inevitably their striker worries are now a topic to question as the bees last game ended in a disappointing draw away to Nottingham Forest. Forest were demoted to ten men early on in the second half and despite a Christian Norgaard opener the bees struggled to put the game beyond the home team who equalised and then defended in a compact formation for the remainder of the match.
Despite the extra man advantage Brentford failed to create any clear cut chances to dispatch, the forward line failed to apply a finishing touch and couldn't break down the Forest defence who stood firm. Wissa and Mbuemo are direct intelligent forward players, but they don't possess the same physical poacher threat as Ivan Toney does. A player like Toney you feel could have won Brentford some of these games that ended in stalemates because of his willingness to get in the right positions to score. Toney offered a different playstyle that teammates could work off and it appears now manager Thomas Frank has some thinking to do in order to get both Mbuemo and Wissa combining again. Furthermore if the rumours are to be true and Toney is up for sale in January then Brentford will certainly need to be in the market to find a replacement. Neal Maupay has joined the club on loan but his recent record in front of goal suggests he will not cure the worry. Maupay did look lively in spells when he came on against Forest but once more there was no final product to reward the team for their pressure.
Whilst is may be an out an out number 9 Brentford are missing, it also important to consider the impact of the injury to Kevin Schade. Schade himself still wasn't the same kind of player Toney is however his unselfishness mixed with the pace and skill he was capable of displaying helped players like Mbuemo and Wissa to perform at their optimum as well. The front three we saw at the beginning of the season of Schade, Wissa and Mbuemo was electric and caused defences all sorts of issues. Schade opened up so much space for Mbuemo and Wissa to work in as his runs to get in behind meant the other players around him could pick up pockets from which they could then go and create chances from. The german's goal against Palace is a clear example that Brentford's frontline have been struggling without his presence on the pitch, because the bees were swift in transitions as Schade was always a creative outlet. Although Brentford haven't been composed when trying to score goals of late, no schade needs to be thrown at any players as the performances have still been consistent there's just not been enough wins to prove it.
Frank may have a few tactical tweaks up his sleeve depending on the opposition they play and it's still quite early on in the season so there's time for the team to adjust and players such as Mbuemo and Wissa to get firing again like they did at the start of the season. The international break also arrives soon so Frank will have time to assess what he can do for his team to start earning three points once again. It has been a challenging few fixtures for the bees but the side will stay remain hopeful, when they find their shooting boots or the solution to the striker worry their form may pick back up.
Brentford's next fixture is away to Manchester United at Old Trafford. Both teams are desperate for a win so it should be a good contest that could go either way.