Preview: Backbone needed to beat Brentford – it is time for these players to show that they are committed!

Brentford -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Brentford Community Stadium, Brentford

Wednesday 19 January 2022, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Andre Marriner Assistants: Simon Long, Scott Ledger

Fourth Official: Andy Madley

VAR: Paul Tierney Assistant VAR: Neil Davies

Manchester United will travel to London to take on Brentford in the Premier League on Wednesday evening. It was a match that should have been played back in December 2021 but was postponed because of coronavirus cases at the club, along with the match against Brighton and Hove Albion which is still awaiting to be rescheduled. Under Ralf Rangnick, United have lost just one match, drawing three times and winning four times, scoring ten goals and conceding six. It has not been the best and it has shown that those who blamed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for everything were in fact incorrect once again.

It looks like United will have up to five players back in the squad for this match, plus the option of youth players being added to the squad, which could be needed to show some of the players that there is life after them at United and if they need to be replaced, that could happen. United need to find a backbone and use it as at this time, with no new signings likely at the club this month. United need to have a plan and get something sorted. The lack of concentration which results in their opposition scoring and changing the game needs to be nipped in the bud and this squad of individuals needs to become a team. If that does not happen the rebuild is bigger.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: DWLWDW

Aston Villa 2-2 D, Aston Villa 1-0 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 L, Burnley 3-1 W, Newcastle United 1-1 D, Norwich City 1-0 W

Goals: 14 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 7 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Edinson Cavani, Fred, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Own Goal, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

Assists: 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Paul Pogba, 3 – Fred, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luke Shaw, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic 1 – Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Alex Telles, Raphael Varane

Brentford – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LLWWLL

Liverpool 3-0 L, Southampton 4-1 L, Port Vale 4-1 W, Aston Villa 2-1 W, Manchester City 1-0 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 L

Goals: 7 – Bryan Mbeumo, 6 – Marcus Forss, Yoane Wissa, 5 – Ivan Toney, 3 – Sergi Canós, 2 – Rico Henry, Vitaly Janelt, 1 – Shandon Baptiste, Saman Ghoddos, Pontus Jansson, Mathias Jorgensen, Christian Nørgaard, Ethan Pinnock, Mads Roerslev

Assists: 4 – Saman Ghoddos, 3 – Ivan Toney, 2 – Sergi Canós, Marcus Forss, Mathias Jensen, Bryan Mbeumo, Mads Roerslev, 1 – Shandon Baptiste, Mads Bidstrup, Vitaly Janelt, Pontus Jansson, Christian Nørgaard, Ethan Pinnock, Dominic Thompson

Previous meetings with Brentford and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Brentford have not yet met in the history of the Premier League as this if the London clubs first time in the top flight of English football. In the history of the two clubs, United and Brentford have met a total of 13 times with United winning six times, drawing two times and losing five times. The last competitive fixture between the two sides was in the League Cup in 1975 with United winning the match 2-1 with goals from Sammy McIlroy and Lou Macari. The last time United lost to Brentford was in the FA Cup in 1938, a 2-0 defeat. The two sides met in pre-season in the summer, drawing 2-2 at Old Trafford.

Joshua Bohui is perhaps the only player to have played for both Brentford and United, although this was at youth level. The forward came through the ranks at Brentford signing from the Evolution Sports & Health Academy in 2011. In the summer of 2016, Bohui signed for United’s academy on a three-year contract. He progressed through the U18 and U23 sides for the club but at the end of his contract, he rejected (twice) the offer of a four-year contract at United. He has since played for NAC Breda, Colchester United, Waltham Abbey and Hayes & Yeading United. Max Haygarth is at Brentford B, leaving United’s academy in the summer.

Team News: Three players could be missing for United with five missing for Brentford. United could have five players returning to the squad with Brentford sweating on one.

Eric Bailly (AFCON), Paul Pogba (Thigh) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Illness) have been ruled out, although the latter could recover in time for the match with Brentford. Anthony Martial (Knee) has been out of action for some time and could be back in the squad against Brentford despite the fracas that was caused because of the explanation of him not being involved against Villa. Marcus Rashford (Thigh) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Hip Flexor) have 50% chances of featuring against Brentford. Both Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay are eligible to feature in this match after serving one-match suspensions in the 2-2 draw with Villa.

Julian Jeanvier (Knee), Charlie Goode (Thigh), David Raya Martin (Knee), Frank Onyeka (AFCON) and Joshua Dasilva (Groin/Hip) have all been ruled out for the foreseeable future. Mathias Jorgensen (Thigh) has a 25% chance of featuring against United. There is a chance that Brentford will be able to put together a much better midfield than United in this match with the London club having a good start to their debut Premier League season with United in with a good chance of this being the worst season in the Premier League in its history. After their 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend, Brentford will be seeking to return to winning ways.

Predicted Starting XI: Ronaldo, Elanga, Fernandes and Greenwood to lead the attack against Brentford with Fred and McTominay in the midfield. Jones should partner Varane in defence.

United need to find some strength, determination, discipline and the ability to win their matches. It looks like none of the problems at the club had been sorted out when you look at the state of the squad but it also allows you to see the glue that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in holding this team together. Post-Solskjaer, United have lost their identity. Granted, they have only been beaten once but they are still a team that smaller clubs will feast their eyes on and try and get a victory – just for the bragging rights, even if they end up being relegated. United have big problems and the owners are part of that and something needs to give and soon.

David De Gea will keep his place in goal. Whist Dean Henderson wants more minutes, he will need to show the manager why he deserves to start in training. In defence, Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw should play in the fullback roles with Phil Jones and Raphael Varane in the centre of defence. In midfield, Fred and Scott McTominay should both start, which could strengthen the midfield based on the Villa match. In the attacking areas, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Elanga should all start as there was positives for all against Villa. Leading the attack should be Cristiano Ronaldo, providing he is injury free.

Match Prediction: United and Brentford last met competitively almost 47 years ago despite a pre-season match in the summer. United need to look hard at themselves and find what is needed to win this match.

This will be the first match between United and Brentford in the Premier League and apart from their match in pre-season, which ended 2-2 at Old Trafford, the two clubs have not met since 1975 when United beat them 2-1 in the League Cup at the Theatre of Dreams with Sammy McIlroy and Lou Macari scoring the goals. In the history of the two clubs, there has been a total of 13 matches played with United winning six, drawing two and Brentford winning five times. United have scored 28 goals against Brentford, with them scoring 23 goals – United keeping three clean sheets, Brentford keeping four.

After the 2-2 draw with Villa, United will need to get a win against Brentford and despite the fact their current run of matches has seen them win twice, losing four times, means nothing for United. Against Villa, United looked good for the first half, scoring a goal in the first six minutes and getting another late in the second half of the match. However, Villa scored twice in around five minutes as United collapsed with their midfield unable to control their opposition. United need to be careful of Brentford doing the same thing as they will be playing at home and will be seeking to get a good result.

Brentford 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.