Manchester United -v- Brentford
Old Trafford, Manchester
Wednesday 28 July 2021, KO 20:00 BST
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.
Experienced players are starting to return but probably not in time to feature against Brentford.
Solskjaer will still have the same youthful squad for this match minus Tahith Chong, who has joined Birmingham City on loan and in the not too distant future, Nathan Bishop and Will Fish will leave the pre-season to join up with Mansfield Town and Stockport County respectively. Diogo Dalot and Donny van de Beek have both been in training on Monday, so could find themselves getting some minutes under their belts against Brentford on Wednesday evening, but that all depends on how well they do in training. The Dutchman has been in training at Carrington all last week, not part of the training squad which travelled to Pennyhill Park last week ahead of the QPR fixture. It might be that he can be given 30 or even 45 minutes against Brentford.
Dalot played in the UEFA U21 European Championships during the summer, reaching the final with Portugal but losing to Germany. He was then added to Portugal’s squad for the UEFA European Championships to cover for Joao Cancelo, who tested positive for coronavirus during the tournament. Dalot played against both France and Belgium in the tournament before being knocked out. The fact that he has not played a lot of football over the past year could suggest why he is back in training already and the likes of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and even Edinson Cavani are not. Solskjaer did suggest that many first team players will be back in training this week but they will probably not feature against Brentford but may feature against Preston North End.
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.
Predicted Starting XI: Tom Heaton, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Scott McTominay, James Garner, Facundo Pellistri, Anthony Elanga and Mason Greenwood to start against Brentford?
Solskjaer has a similar squad to the one which faced QPR at the weekend which might include the likes of Scott McTominay, who was missing from the weekend squad, Donny van de Beek and Diogo Dalot, who both training with the first team at Carrington on Monday. I don’t think there will be many changes other than McTominay starting ahead of Nemanja Matic. Mason Greenwood could lead the line again as he will be looking to impress ahead of the new season, but he’s not exactly done all that great at this time, which is not a major problem and more about a lack of creativity rather than anything else. When more first team players join the squad, things will start to change for the better. I hope the moaning supporters realise that but I suspect they do not.
Many of the players will get 45 or 60 minutes in this match. Hopefully Tom Heaton will play 60 minutes as without both David De Gea and Dean Henderson thus far, he might start the opening Premier League match of the season against Leeds United in a few weeks time. Diogo Dalot could come off the bench to replaced either Brandon Williams or Aaron Wan-Bissaka with the likes of Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic, Shola Shoretire, Juan Mata, Daniel James, Ethan Galbraith and Hannibal Mejbri all getting suitable chances to show the manager what they can do ahead of the new season. This might be the last match with a predominate youth team in the squad as first team players start to return ahead of the new season, so they will want to shine.
Match Prediction: United will be looking to bounce back from the defeat against QPR under the lights at Old Trafford. Brentford and United last met competitively 46 years ago.
This United squad is not the best but there is a massive array of talent in the squad. The likes of Facundo Pellistri, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Elanga and James Garner will benefit from a lot of time on the pitch in this match. It is likely that at least three of them will not be at United come the start of the season with Pellistri and Garner both linked with loan spells away from the club and Lingard tipped to end his time at United with a permanent move away from the club after a good half-season loan with West Ham United last season. United will be able to make many changes, but this could be another defeat for United easily, especially as Brentford will be seeking to get a good result at Old Trafford. It is all about fitness though and most should see that.
The defeat to QPR was something that many of the players will be seeking to overcome as their fates at United could be at risk if Solskjaer feels that individual players made the mistakes which cost United. However, with a squad lacking first team football experience, many will have expected something like this. I feel that the experienced players in the team will look to do better in this match, otherwise people of the same mind as Jonny will be moaning and calling for the club to get rid of the manager after yet another pre-season match. I really do not get why these people are so affixed in something they do not control. The YouTube generation really do need to learn that no matter the size of the platform, the control over the club is the same – none.
Manchester United 2-1 Brentford
Written by John Walker