According to report: Brentford have find the key to success without Toney Thomas Frank

According to report: Brentford have find the key to success without Toney Thomas Frank

When they learned of Ivan Toney’s eight-month suspension for gambling offences in May, Brentford fans must have feared the worst.

After all, only Erling Haaland and Harry Kane scored more Premier League goals than Toney’s 20 as the Bees secured a ninth-place finish last term.

Yet even without their talisman, Thomas Frank’s team have made a solid start to the current campaign. Only Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United have put the ball in the back of the net more often than the Bees, whose goals have been shared between their three main forwards: three for Bryan Mbeumo, two for Yoane Wissa and one for Kevin Schade.

In fact, since the start of last season Brentford have not lost any of the eight games they have contested without Toney, taking 18 points from a possible 24. Extrapolate that over a full campaign and you get 85.5 points – enough to win the title in some years. All of which prompts the question: are Brentford actually better without Toney?

The simple answer is no. Toney is one of the best strikers in the Premier League. Not only is he lethal in front of goal, but his mobility, link-up play and ability to press from the front means he is a manager’s dream. It is no surprise that Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have all been linked with a swoop for Brentford’s most prized asset, whose ban is due to end on January 16.

Brentford find the key to success without Toney

Toney scored 34 percent of Brentford’s goals in 2022/23. His team-mates contributed a combined 38 goals. But as the Bees are proving at the start of this term, it is overly simplistic to suggest that Brentford would have only scored 38 without him.


When Toney was leading the line, Brentford were set up to create chances for him. Only Kane (130), Mohamed Salah (124), Erling Haaland (123) and Marcus Rashford (108) took more shots than Toney (94) last season, and each of those attackers plays for one of the biggest clubs in the league.

Brentford do not currently possess an individual talent in Toney’s class. But they have already demonstrated an ability to share the goals around. After Mbuemo and Wissa were on target against both Tottenham and Fulham, Schade stepped up in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace. Collecting the ball on the left, the German left Joel Ward with twisted blood before firing his finish into the far corner.

Frank has always been known for his flexibility – in the Palace game he named an unchanged starting XI for the first time since May 2022 – and we have seen him use two different systems already this season.

For the visit of Spurs on matchday one, Brentford lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with Wissa and Mbeumo up top. In their last two games Frank has gone for a 4-3-3 with Schade on the left, Wissa through the middle and Mbeumo on the right. We can expect to see Brentford continue to switch between the two shapes depending on the opposition.

Brentford were not at their best against Palace and a draw was a fair result. Schade’s first-half strike was their only shot on target, but Frank will have been pleased with how bright the 21-year-old looked.


“We’re not panicking. We’re not running out to get a striker in, to try to replace Ivan, because we think we’ve done our work well and we have the replacement inside as well,” the manager told the Daily Mail in the summer.

“In the games [Toney] didn’t play we actually scored a few goals and especially Yoane Wissa stepped in and scored a few goals, big expectations for him. We have the young Kevin Schade and Keane Lewis-Potter, that I expect more from. And then of course Bryan Mbeumo will have to do even more.”

Brentford are not a better team without Toney, but rather a different one. The early signs this season suggest they will get on just fine until his return in January.

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