Manchester United beat Brentford 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Marcus Rashford scored the only goal of the match, finding the back of the net in the 27th minute after Marcel Sabitzer headed the ball towards him. It was Rashford’s 28th goal of the season for United. Erik ten Hag’s side have risen to fourth in the Premier League three points clear of Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand over them. Everton next for United.
United started brightly against Brentford at Old Trafford. Diogo Dalot has a shot on goal which was blocked in the first minute of the match. Luke Shaw then missed the target with a shot in the third minute. In the sixth minute, Bruno Fernandes won a free-kick after Christian Nørgaard fouled him in the defensive half. After a period of United dominance, Dalot had another shot on goal in the 15th minute of the match – seeing the effort blocked once again.
Marcel Sabitzer won a free-kick for United in the 18th minute after being fouled by Ethan Pinnock. Sabitzer shot on goal a minute later, which was blocked. It was a positive start from United, who played terribly against Newcastle United on Sunday at St James’ Park. Antony had a shot on goal in the 23rd minute after Dalot found him with a pass, however, he missed the target. Shaw fouled Ivan Toney in the 24th minute of the match, seeing a yellow card for the challenge.
There was a shot delay in the match for players to take on water in the 26th minute, to break the fast for Ramadan. Marcus Rashford then found the opening goal of the match in the 27th minute – his 28th goal of the season so far. United won a corner with the ball played into the box. Brentford tried to clear with United retaining possession. The ball was lofted into the box, Sabitzer headed the ball towards Rashford, who found the back of the net.
In the 37th minute of the match, United needed to make a substitution with Tyrell Malacia replacing Luke Shaw because of an injury. United then had a flurry of chances on goal with Scott McTominay blocked and a miss from Antony in the 37th minute. Antony missed the target again two minutes later before Rashford saw a shot blocked in the 40th minute. Antony also had a shot blocked in the same minute. I has been a good half for United so far.
Scott McTominay was booked for a foul on Mathias Jensen in the 42nd minute. There was then a break in play after McTominay seemed to be injured after a challenge. He was fine to continue though. Rashford forced a save from David Raya in the 44th minute before Ivan Toney struck at the other end of the pitch – missing the target in the 45th minute. Three minutes were played at the end of the half with United leading 1-0 at the whistle.
There were no substitutions for either team at the start of the second half. Sancho was caught offside in the 49th minute after Dalot tried to find him with a through ball. Mikkel Damsgaard was booked in the 50th minute for a foul on McTominay. Sancho saw a shot blocked in the 51st minute of the match with United seeking to find a second goal. United were in the driving seat for a while and Sabitzer tried to find his second goal for United – seeing his effort saved in the 58th minute.
Bruno Fernandeswas booked in the 59th minute of the match after a foul on Damsgaard. Christian Nørgaard was booked in the 61st minute for a foul on Fernandes. Brentford then made a triple substitution in the 62nd minute with Shandon Baptiste, Josh Dasilva and Kevin Schade replacing Mathias Jensen, Mikkel Damsgaard and Bryan Mbeumo. Baptiste had a shot on goal in the 66th minute, which was blocked. Nørgaard also missed the target in the 66th minute.
Schade was through on goal in the 67th minute, leaving it late before launching his shot with David De Gea standing his ground and deflecting his effort. However, the Spanish goalkeeper seemed to be injured after the block and required treatment on the pitch – he was fine to continue. United made a double substitution in the 71st minute with Fred and Anthony Martial replacing Marcel Sabitzer and Jadon Sancho. Fernandes then missed the target in the 75th minute.
Brentford then made a double substitution in the 75th minute with Aaron Hickey and Yoane Wissa replacing Mads Roerslev and Christian Nørgaard. Dalot was caught offside in the 76th minute after Fernandes tried to find him with a through ball. Two minutes later Schade was caught offside as Raya tried to find him with a through ball. Antony then missed the target in the 78th minute with Fred doing the same two minutes later seeking United’s second goal.
Ten Hag made his fourth substitution in the 86th minute with Victor Lindelof replacing Antony. United then won two corners, with both of them coming to nothing. Five minutes were added on at the end of the second half. In the first minute, Hickey had a shot on goal – missing the target. Martial then won a free-kick for United after being fouled by Pontus Jansson. Toney missed the target in the second minute of added time – a poor night for Brentford and him.
Malacia was then caught offside in the fourth minute of added time after Fred tried to find him with a through ball. That seemed to be the last attack of the match with United earning all three points at Old Trafford. United have risen back into the top four of the Premier League – three points clear of Tottenham Hotspur in fifth with another game in hand over them. Newcastle United remain third in the league after they beat West Ham 5-1 – goal difference putting them above United.
David De Gea: Almost got an assist as his pass played in Jadon Sancho but also played United into some danger. Ivan Toney almost found a goal for Brentford from a De Gea goal kick but he stood firm to keep Kevin Schade out. It was not his best performance but it was something to build on with another clean sheet. ★★★★★★
Diogo Dalot: His start was not the best for United but he soon got himself back into the game. United were positive throughout the match, showing their dominance. United should have got more from him with his forward runs. He did well defensively and worked well with Antony – who attacked well. ★★★★★★
Raphael Varane: The Frenchman had little hassle from Ivan Toney, who is Brentford’s top scorer this season. He did not react too quickly when Kevin Schade broke through on a one-on-one. Got forward well and threatened for United. Despite his age, his experience will help United in the coming weeks and months. ★★★★★★
Lisandro Martinez: The Argentinian World Cup winner exerted his presence in the defence for United against Brentford both defensively and in attack. Helped United link the defence with the attack at times too. He was probably United’s best player on the pitch for his efforts throughout the match – but Rashford was the match winner. ★★★★★★★★
Luke Shaw: The left-back played just 37 minutes against Brentford – coming off with an injury. He did what he needed to do on the pitch but at a stage looked like he could not continue. It will be a blow for United if he misses any matches going forward. Tyrell Malacia replaced him – doing well in his absence. ★★★★★★
Scott McTominay: The Scotland international played a good game for United against Brentford. his half-volley sweetly whistled over the crossbar and he made two good interventions in around a minute at a stage to keep United in control of the match. He can be hot and cold at times but in this match he showed his ability. ★★★★★★
Marcel Sabitzer: The Austrian got his first assist for United this season. He switched positions with McTominay – playing further up the pitch which worked well as his header into Rashford resulted in United getting the only goal of the match. He did not have the best game against Newcastle. Replaced by Fred. ★★★★★★★
Antony: The Brazilian was United’s most creative player on the pitch against Brentford. His lofted pass for Sabitzer unlocked Brentford’s defence and he had more than a few chances on goal. In the second half, he seemed to fade a little. He may need to change his tack to be less predictable. Replaced by Lindelof. ★★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: he Portuguese midfielder was not all that creative against Brentford but he supplemented the attack well at times. He was tireless, having played all but two matches for United this season. He was booked just before the hour but it was no biggie. He will strive for more in the coming weeks. ★★★★★★
Jadon Sancho: This was a much better performance from him than the one against Newcastle at the weekend. He did not create anything or stand out, which is a major worry. There is a lot of suggestions in the media that there are problems ahead for him at United. He was replaced in the 71st minute by Anthony Martial. ★★★★★★
Marcus Rashford: Found his 28th goal of the season for United. Clinically found the back of the net from a Sabitzer header. Other than that, he struggled at times for a clear opportunity on goal. United really do need a striker in the summer as Martial can’t be depended on to be fit for the full season. ★★★★★★★
Tyrell Malacia: Replaced Shaw 37′. Stood in well for Shaw. Did what was needed. Attacked and defended well at times. Could be playing more football if there is something up with Shaw that could keep him out of action for the coming matches. United do have some options though – if that is the case. ★★★★★★
Anthony Martial: Replaced Sancho 71′. Offered little for United. He’s going to be rusty after another long period out of action this season. He will start to cause some frustration if he is not doing what his teammates expect of him. I can’t see him remaining at United into next season if his injuries and poor form continue. ★★★★★
Fred: Replaced Sabitzer 71′. His energy and ability to press is great for United. He was able to help counter Brentford’s lively substitutes. He blazed a shot over the crossbar after Rashford pulled the ball back for him. Fred under Ten Hag is a different type of player and he has had an outlet this season. ★★★★★★
Victor Lindelof: Replaced Antony 86′. Came on late in the game but lost his first aerial duel with him coming on to help United protect their lead. Still, they got the win and another clean sheet. He will want more playing time but for him to dislodge Varane or Martinez will be tough for him. ★★★★★
Goals: Marcus Rashford 27′
Assists: Marcel Sabitzer 27′
Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw (Malacia 37′); McTominay, Sabitzer (Fred 71′); Antony (Lindelof 86′), Fernandes, Sancho (Martial 71′); Rashford
Substitutes Not Used: Butland; Maguire, Wan-Bissaka; Weghorst, Pellistri
Bookings: Luke Shaw 24′, Scott McTominay 42′, Bruno Fernandes 59′; Mikkel Damsgaard 50′, Christian Nørgaard 61′
Written by John Walker