Manchester United will welcome Premier League new boys Brentford to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening for their third pre-season match of the summer – the first played at the Theatre of Dreams. United were defeated by Queens Park Rangers on Saturday afternoon, slipping to a 4-2 defeat with Jesse Lingard opening the scoring inside the first three minutes and Anthony Elanga scoring a consolation goal in the 74th minute of the match. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was not upset with the result as it was a training match which means nothing but the Ole Out brigade decided that they had seen enough of a team with few first choice senior players in the squad, which is typical of the muppets that seem to think they control the club.
Not only that, the QPR supporters seemed to think they had won the Champions League with their mocking of United all because they beat a team with the average age of 21.8. I mean, that shows the levels between the Premier League and the Championship clubs like QPR who will brag about beating United in the same circumstances. Small time. The same could be said about the so-called supporters that want the manager sacked because United lost a pre-season match against a Championship club with no main starters from last season in the squad because of international tournaments. I mean, imagine getting giddy about your team beating a youthful United team, or even moaning about the result? It just seems clueless to me.
Previous meetings with Brentford and their connections with Manchester United.
United and Brentford have met a total of 13 times in the history of both clubs. The first match between the two clubs came in the FA Cup on the 14 January 1928 with United winning 7-1. In total, United have beaten Brentford six times, drawing twice with Brentford winning five times. Just looking at this information, the moaning section of supporters who want to find anything to make them right, will probably suggest that United are not good enough to beat Brentford because of this information. They won’t look further than that. The last match between the two club was played on the 10 September 1975 with United winning 2-1 in the League Cup with goals scored by Sammy McIlroy and Lou Macari.
United are undefeated in their last five matches against Brentford, winning four and drawing once between the 17 December 1928 and the last match played in 1975. Former United academy players Ben Hockenhull and Max Haygarth both play for Brentford B, which is the only current link between the two clubs. In 2016, United signed Joshua Bohui to join the academy with the player staying at United for three years before leaving for NAC Breda and he is now playing for Colchester United. This will be a good test for United, especially as they are expected to have the same squad as they did against QPR at the weekend. Brentford will be looking forward to it too, getting a trip to the Theatre of Dreams before their first competitive match at the stadium in April 2022.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Brentford in their pre-season friendly at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening…
Goalkeeper: Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton has started both matches against Derby County and Queens Park Rangers and will start this one against Brentford, playing at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time in a United shirt, which will be good for him. He could well start the season in goal for United with both David De Gea and Dean Henderson still yet to feature in pre-season, which could come against Preston North End or Everton in the final two matches. United will need a fit goalkeeper in their opening Premier League encounter against Leeds United at Old Trafford next month. Heaton played well against both Derby and QPR, making a few good saves and conceding his first goal against QPR after Charlie Austin equalised in the six minute of the match.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Teden Mengi, Brandon Williams
United’s defence is not the strongest ahead of this match, even after the deal which will bring Raphaël Varane to the Theatre of Dreams was announced on Tuesday evening, which is subject to personal terms and a medical being finalised – which according to rumour, will happen next week after a period of isolation in the UK for the Frenchman. Alex Telles is injured and will miss the stat of the season, so Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams will play in the fullback roles with both Axel Tuanzebe and Teden Mengi playing in the centre of defence once again. United will be waiting for Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw to return from holiday before the defence will be assured and when Varane is involved, it will be even better.
Midfield: Scott McTominay, James Garner
The midfield is the area where there are many different players to choose from in this pre-season squad. We have seen Andreas Pereira, James Garner, Nemanja Matic and Dylan Levitt play in these positions over the last two matches and this match should see the return of Scott McTominay, who has been training for the last week, so should have the kind of fitness to get 45 minutes out of this match. He should partner Garner in the centre of midfield, who could do the defensive work, leaving McTominay to playa more advanced role, pushing the ball up the pitch. When Brentford are on the attack, the pair could combine to limit the damage. I think this would be a good match for the pair to play as being back at Old Trafford, with supporters behind them, could inspire them to achieve something, which would be beneficial for Garner ahead of the new season.
Attacking Midfield: Facundo Pellistri, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Elanga
With the likes of Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford not yet available, even though Fernandes returned to training on Tuesday, it will be a youthful three behind the striker against Brentford, which will be good to see once again. Facundo Pellistri has played 90 minutes (45 minutes each match) against both Derby County and Queens Park Rangers so should get at least 60 minutes against Brentford. He has scored one goal, assisting another. Jesse Lingard should also start after scoring against QPR at the weekend and nearly scoring against Derby the weekend before. Anthony Elanga also found the back of the net against QPR and should start in this match, which could be the start of something special for the teenager this season.
Forwards: Mason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood has not got himself on the scoresheet in pre-season so far and will be seeking to do that at some point before the start of the season. It is a shame he has not scored yet but the lack of creativity behind him in the main role was there to se seen against both Derby County and Queens Park Rangers. Greenwood is a great talent and this season he will learn a lot more with Edinson Cavani around him. It would be good if United could sign a striker that can also take a role at the club, but that could possibly wait until next summer if Anthony Martial ends up staying at United, which at this time is up in the air according to many rumours. Greenwood should have more experience around him in the team at the Theatre of Dreams, which should be a good mixture against the Premier League new boys.
Substitutes: Lee Grant, Nathan Bishop; Diogo Dalot, Will Fish, Di’Shon Bernard; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek, Dylan Levitt, Hannibal Mejbri, Ethan Galbraith; Shola Shoretire, Joe Hugill
There have been 12 substitutes on the bench in the last two pre-season matches and I think that will continue against Brentford at Old Trafford. However, I have kept all the players that have been training this week, who could play a part in the fixture. In goal, both Lee Grant and Nathan Bishop could be available, the latter has not featured in pre-season yet. In defence, Diogo Dalot, Will Fish and Di’Shon Bernard could be available. In midfield, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek, Dylan Levitt, Hannibal Mejbri and Ethan Galbraith could play a part, although he’s played at right-back. In attack, both Shola Shoretire and Joe Hugill could come off the bench against the Premier League new boys.
Written by John Walker