Preview: Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United need to beat Brentford convincingly to push on this month

Brentford -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Brentford Community Stadium, Brentford

Tuesday 14 December 2021, KO 19:30 GMT

Referee: Andre Marriner Assistants: Simon Long, Scott Ledger

Fourth Official: John Brooks

VAR: Jarred Gillett Assistant VAR: Lee Betts

Manchester United will face Brentford at the Brentford Community Stadium in the Premier League on Tuesday evening. The match may be postponed because of coronavirus cases at United on Sunday following the reports that some players tested positive when doing lateral flow tests. However, the club has not suggested anything just yet, so I am sure we will find out whether the match is postponed or goes ahead at some time on Monday. United beat Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday evening, which was not the beat match United have played since Ralf Rangnick became the interim manager of the club.

United rose to fifth place after beating Norwich and sit a point clear of Arsenal and a point behind West Ham United. Rangnick’s side sit nine points behind third-placed Chelsea, ten points behind second-placed Liverpool and 11 points behind league leaders, Manchester City. It is going to be a tough time for United to break into the top four this month but it is something that is achievable based on the opposition they face between now and the end of the month. After Brentford, United will face Brighton and Hove Albion (H), Newcastle United (A) and Burnley (H). January will be an important month for United too with the Emirates FA Cup commencing.

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

Norwich City 1-0 W, Young Boys 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 1-0 W, Arsenal 3-2 W, Chelsea 1-1 D, Villarreal 2-0 W

Goals: 13 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 5 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Fred, Jesse Lingard, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

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

Brentford – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDLWDL

Watford 2-1 W, Leeds United 2-2 D, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L, Everton 1-0 W, Newcastle United 3-3 D, Norwich City 2-1 L

Goals: 5 – Marcus Forss, Ivan Toney, Yoane Wissa, 4 – Bryan Mbeumo, 3 – Sergi Canós, 2 – Rico Henry, 1 – Shandon Baptiste, Saman Ghoddos, Vitaly Janelt, Pontus Jansson, Mathias Jorgensen, Christian Nørgaard, Ethan Pinnock

Assists: 4 – Saman Ghoddos, 3 – Ivan Toney, 2 – Sergi Canós, Marcus Forss, Mathias Jensen, 1 – Pontus Jansson, Bryan Mbeumo, Christian Nørgaard, Ethan Pinnock, Mads Roerslev, 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: United missing eight players (before positive COVID-19 tests) with Brentford missing seven players ahead of Tuesday’s first Premier League clash between the two teams.

Paul Pogba (Thigh), Anthony Martial (Knee) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Knee) have been ruled out of the trip to Brentford because of injury. Raphael Varane (Thigh) and Edinson Cavani (Tendon) have both returned to training but the matches against Norwich City and Brentford will be too soon for them. Nemanja Matic (Illness) has missed the last two matches after becoming unwell and Victor Lindelof (Chest/Breathing) came off against Norwich after suffering chest/breathing problems during the match. Juan Mata (Illness) also seems to be unlikely to be involved because of illness. United may need to draft in some youth players for this match.

Joshua Dasilva (Hip), Julian Jeanvier (Knee), Mathias Jorgensen (Thigh), David Raya Martin (Knee) and Kristoffer Ajer (Thigh) have all been ruled out of the visit of United due to injury. Ethan Pinnock and Ivan Toney (Coronavirus) will both miss the match due to COVID-19. Sergi Canos Tenes was suspended for the match match after being booked five times so far this season. He is eligible to face United, should he be fit enough to do so. There is a chance that this match will be rescheduled if United’s COVID-19 scare is as serious as has been reported, but with the club saying nothing (at least until now) there is a chance it goes ahead.

Predicted Starting XI: Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood to lead the attack against Brentford in the first Premier League match between the two teams; Donny van de Beek to start too?

United have a few problems with injuries and players currently working their way to fitness. There is also the fact that some players were tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday following the victory over Norwich City on Saturday evening, who were sent home from training to self-isolate and have PCR tests to confirm the positive test. There is a chance that it was a flash positive and the players can return to training, if not, they will sit out until clear. Rangnick has a big squad to select players from and this match could see more youth involved, providing it does go ahead. There are teams with few positive results who have continued this week.

The 4-2-2-2 formation does not suit United and needs to be changed. Some teams, like Norwich, seemed to block the centre of the pitch and United did not really use width to get the better of them. United are a team that should use width. David De Gea will keep his place in goal after that performance. In defence, Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles should start this match. Scott McTominay, Fred and Donny van de Beek should start in midfield with Jadon Sancho, Mason Greenwood and Cristiano Ronaldo starting in attack. Of course, some of these players could have tested positive, but no names have been officially mentioned.

Match Prediction: United and Brentford will go to the sword on Tuesday evening – both of them wanting a win and both seeking to impress. United need this win more to prove to themselves that they can do it.

United have not played Brentford since 1975 in a competitive match. It was 1938 when United last lost a match to the London club, who have done well in their inaugural season in the Premier League. During the summer, United welcomed Brentford to the Theatre of Dreams for a pre-season match, which resulted in a 2-2 draw between the two sides, which saw United take the lead in the 12th minute through Anthony Elanga, but Shandon Baptiste’s equaliser eight minutes later had them puzzled. Andreas Pereira scored a stunning goal five minute into the second half to restore the lead but Bryan Mbeumo equalised 12 minutes from time.

United need to find some positive form in their matches. Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked, United are undefeated in their last six matches, winning four and drawing twice. That form may be seen as positive but during matches, United seem poor in putting their opposition to the sword. The 3-2 victory over Arsenal has been the best of the most recent matches and that was under Michael Carrick, who left the club following that match. Rangnick will get the best out of this team but it does not seem to be a fix that will be instant and mat take a few months to iron out the problems. United are winning again, which is a good start though.

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.