— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) January 13, 2020
BMW. Saïd Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins. The three men are the main reason that Brentford are doing so well this season and why the London outfit are revered in when it comes to odds on promotion. You’ll find the Bees third–favourites to reach the top flight of the Premier League, a remarkable feat when you consider where the club were in the mid-to-late noughties.
The trio have netted a total of 34 league goals so far this campaign – and don’t look like slowing down any time soon. Just last weekend, all three were on the scoresheet as Brentford beat local rivals QPR 3-1 at Griffin Park and it appears to be a fantastic farewell season ahead of their big move to the Brentford Community Stadium in the summer.
Benrahma: Brentford’s breakthrough player
The Algerian right winger arrived at Griffin Park last season on a four-year deal and despite injuries disrupting his first year in English football, Benrahma went on to feature 38 times, scoring 10 goals in the process.
He missed all of Brentford’s pre-season, having also not featured in Algeria’s historic Africa Cup of Nations victory in the summer through injury. But this campaign, he’s already on track to equalling or surpassing last season’s goal tally.
But it isn’t only his goal threat that opponents find deadly. Benrahma is a tricky winger, who loves to catch out his rival with a nutmeg or two. His deft skills on the ball have earned him the nickname the ‘Algerian Messi’ and when he’s not scoring goals, he’s assisting his teammates. It’s no wonder that the 24-year-old has attracted interest from the likes of Aston Villa, with manager Dean Smith hoping to reunite with the man he brought to Griffin Park.
Mbeumo: debut season in England
Having spent the majority of his youth and professional career at Troyes, at only 20 years old, Mbeumo undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him. Already capped by France at U17, U20 and U21 level, he arrived in England during the summer, joining the Bees on a five-year contract.
After initially finding goals hard to come by, Mbeumo hit some form in October, scoring three goals in as many matches, including the West London derby against QPR. During December, he netted the only goal of the game as Brentford beat other London rivals Fulham, and he’s continued his form into the new year, scoring against Bristol City and in the reverse fixture at home to QPR.
Mbeumo currently sits on 11 league goals for the campaign and recently opened up on the trio’s key partnership. Following that 4-0 win over Lee Johnson’s side, : “You can definitely say that the BMW performed well today. It gives me a lot of pleasure that all three of us scored.”
Watkins: a proven goalscorer
Watkins currently shares the accolade of being the championship’s top scorer with Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic but the midfielder-turned-striker has always had an eye for goal.
Beginning his career at Exeter City, the 24-year-old netted eight goals in his breakthrough season for the Grecians, before scoring 15 in 48 appearances as the Devonshire club missed out on promotion to League One via the play-offs in 2016-17.
On joining Brentford, Watkins continued in his position as an attacking midfielder out on the flank and in terms of goalscoring prowess, picked up from where he left off – scoring 10 goals in each of his first two seasons in London. Last term, he went one better, reaching 17 league goals in just 26 appearances. But with Neal Maupay leaving for the dizzy heights of the Premier League and Brighton & Hove Albion, Brentford were left with a gaping hole in their front line – before re-moulding Watkins into the number 9 role.
In some ways, Brentford’s rise up the divisions mirrors that of AFC Bournemouth who have since established themselves as a Premier League side. In fact, during the 2008-09 season, the two met in League Two and while the Cherries fought for their lives to remain in the Football League, the Bees won the division as champions.
Over the last few campaigns, Brentford have often been considered favourites for promotion, but this season, with the BMW firing on all cylinders, it looks as though those dreams could become a reality. And what better way to begin a new chapter in a new stadium than in a new division?