“We did so many things right,” was how Thomas Frank summed up Brentford’s performance against Newcastle United.
One controversial penalty aside, Brentford did perform well in what was a very even game at St James’ Park.
Let’s start with Mark Flekken who was the centre of attention for some of the game's big moments. The new arrival was fouled as Callum Wilson put the ball in the net shortly before the penalty decision – one that Frank is right to be angry about.
Flekken was going for what is now one of his trademark punches, with no other goalkeeper in the league getting their fist to the ball more than the Dutch international (five punches in total).
Although Flekken was penalised for the penalty call it’s also worth bearing in mind that he is only behind Manchester City’s Ederson in progressive passing distance which shows exactly what the 30-year-old brings to the Bees’ backline.
Meanwhile, Ethan Pinnock remains king of the aerial duels in the Premier League – the defender ranks number one with 22 duels of 26 won so far. The Jamaica international also ranks in the top 10 for interceptions and is second in the league for clearances (team-mate Nathan Collins is seventh).
So, it’s no surprise that of all the teams in the Premier League, Brentford rank number one for total aerials won.
Moving up into midfield, Christian Nørgaard continues to show his importance this season. The battling midfielder ranks sixth in the league for tackles won (16 in total) and only three players in the top flight have tackled dribblers more than the Dane.
And while Brentford didn’t manage to score against a stern Newcastle defence on Saturday, as Frank says they are still doing things right.
The Bees’ crossing remains as accurate as ever with the team topping the charts for most accurate crosses (32) so far this season. Obviously, those balls will lead to chances with Yoane Wissa currently on 20 shots in total for the season – only Erling Haaland, Marcus Rashford and Eberechi Eze have fired off more attempts.
If there’s one thing that could most do with improvement, it’s that chance conversion.
In the Premier League, only Chelsea have missed more big chances (12) than Brentford (11) – a stat that is backed up with how Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo rank in the xG charts this season.
Mbeumo’s xG of 4.1 puts him second behind only Haaland (7.2 xG) in the league rankings while Wissa isn’t far off, ranking fourth (2.7 xG – level with Mohamed Salah).
Speaking after the tough away trip, Frank said: “I'm very pleased with the character of the team, I’m very pleased with the way we played the game and that's the thing we need to take forward.”
Despite the result, there are still plenty of things for Frank and Brentford fans to be positive about early in the season.
Indeed, to cap it all off with one more stat, no team has conceded fewer Premier League goals (11) than Brentford on the road in 2023.