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Confirmed XI: Ronaldo, Greenwood, Elanga and Fernandes start against Brentford; Martial on the bench

Manchester United will travel to London to take on Brentford in the Premier League this 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:

De Gea;

Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Telles;

McTominay, Fred;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Elanga;

Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Heaton, Henderson; Jones, Maguire; Mata, Matic, Van de Beek; Martial, Rashford

Brentford:

Lossl;

Sorenson, Jansson, Pinnock;

Roerslev, Janelt, Norgaard, Jensen, Canos;

Mbeumo, Toney

Substitutes:

Fernandez; Ajer, Henry, Stevens; Wissa, Baptiste, Bidstrup; Forss, Ghoddos

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Ronaldo to face Brentford? Elanga and Fernandes too? Jones and Varane in defence?

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.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Brentford in the Premier League at Brentford Community Stadium on Wednesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea is United’s best goalkeeper, even if he is getting criticism from social media users because Dean Henderson is better. The thing is, if Henderson was impressing in training, he would have been given a chance in the team by Rangnick, but he’s not yet been picked. It is a shame because Henderson is the future for United but De Gea has been consistently good making saves and helping United defer the damage. The Spanish number one is only as good as his defence though and the book is open on the poor defensive record this season. Things are improving there but it is a long way from being completed.

If United had a midfield that could do all the things a midfield needed to do, United’s defence would improve – not that the defence could sit back and watch the midfield do all the work – they would nee to continue to put in 100% too. Raphael Varane is probably the best defender at the club at this time and he will do what he does best – but he is only as good as his partner, which recently has been Victor Lindelof. De Gea could be great if the problems had been addressed and that is something that United need to get sorted as soon as possible. De Gea has given United his best years and I am sure he will continue to give his best for the club.

Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw

The defence really need to up their game moving forward from the Villa draw. The fact that two goals were conceded in five minutes is a big problem that United need to be learning from. Aaron Wan-Bissaka might miss the Brentford match due to illness, which kept him out of the Villa match at the weekend. Diogo Dalot should keep his right-back position but he needs to learn that he could be seen as the weaker link in the defence which means he will need to strengthen his ability and find his feet in the role – if he wants to take on the best. Luke Shaw, who was suspended against Villa, should take back his left-back position and perform well.

In the centre of the defence, Raphael Varane and Phil Jones should partner again. They have performed well together once before in the match that Jones played, which was his first senior match in about two years. He was the only player praised for that performance and he should be given another chance, which might help the other defenders see that they need to up their game to be chosen to play time and time again. Maguire is a professional and has been a saviour to United at times since he signed for the club but more recently his performances have been poor and his form has suffered a lot. It needs to get much better for United.

Midfield: Fred, Scott McTominay

United’s midfield has been left to rot by the club. The wrong players have been brought to the club and there is no strength in depth or an ability to run matches from the midfield, which was done by the likes of Bryan Robson, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes etc – in recent history. Now, United have a player who seems to be injured more often than not with his contract expiring in the summer, a player who has lost his legs, a player hardly ever tested in the league and two players chosen for their hunger and the way they work together – a duo that most moan about but little has ever been done to rectify the problems.

It would seem that Fred and Scott McTominay will start against Brentford and they will be expected to be at the top of their game. Saying that, McTominay has scored a few recent goals with Fred assisting Bruno Fernandes at the weekend – so there is hope that they can continue that form this season and improve in their positioning and work towards getting United out of the hole the club has dug for themselves. In the summer though, United will need to bring in quality players, offloading those that are not right for the club, keeping the squad players and promoting youth to have strength in depth in these positions. Will they do it though? I’m not hopeful.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Elanga

United have some great attacking talent with some good up and coming players in the academy. This is where United should be doing a lot of the creation but it has not been happening in that way. Against Villa on Saturday, Bruno Fernandes scored a brace, captaining the club, putting in a decent performance – which was something that he needed to do in order to keep his place in the team after an uninspiring period on the pitch. United have some options in these areas but form, ability and whether the player could be bothered seem to be a factor at this time, or at least that is what it looks like.

Anthony Elanga started against Villa at the weekend and he should keep his place in the team against Brentford. He seems to be undeterred by the fact he’s now playing for the first team – using his pace, skill and trickery to get the better of his opposition. This could be a good game for him, providing that he starts – he should have that in him given his energy. Mason Greenwood should start too – he needs to find his feet after a turbulent time at the club which has seen him not scoring a goal since the 1-1 draw with Young Boys in the final group stage match of the Champions League back in December. This match could be good for him.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has been missing for the last two matches with a hip injury and it has been suggested, by none other than himself that he could be back in action on Wednesday evening. He is the clubs top scorer this season with 14 goals and three assists – which could have been so much better if the creativity behind him was as good as it should have been. With Fernandes in some kind of form after his brace on Saturday, having him playing behind Ronaldo could see sparks fly and United get a decent 90 minute performance under their belts before they face West Ham at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday.

Ronaldo has received some criticism since returning to United with some so-called supporters and pundits labelling him as the problem when it turns out that he is in fact one of the players who still has high standards and wants to achieve things with the club this season. The Premier League title is long out of the way for United, but cementing a place in the top four is the most they can achieve – not that missing out on Champions League football once again would be damaging – to anything other than the pockets of the Glazer’s. United should strive to get there though as failure has hung over this club for too long now and change is needed.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles; Jesse Lingard, Donny van de Beek; Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Jadon Sancho

United can name nine substitutes on the bench, having named just eight on the bench on Saturday, with options lacking. With players expected to return to the squad this weekend, the options should increase – even if youth players have to be given the chance, providing they are available. Dean Henderson will most likely be on the bench again, seemingly needing a chance at the club to se if he still has what it takes to succeed – considering that Rangnick has told him that he will be staying this season, not leaving on loan during the January transfer window, which is a good thing as United might need him at some point.

In the defence, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles could be called upon from the bench should they be needed. The defence requires improvement, so it could be necessary to make some changes, depending how well Brentford play and how well United do on the pitch, which can only be seen on the day. In midfield, Jesse Lingard and Donny van de Beek could be there should they be required, which may happen very late in the match – which will be frustrating for them. In attack, where United have more depth, Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Jadon Sancho could all be selected, should United need to change their gameplay.

Written by John Walker

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

Predicted XI: [4-3-3] Ronaldo, Sancho and Greenwood to start? Manchester United need to be more ruthless in attack!

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.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Brentford in the Premier League at the Brentford Community Stadium on Tuesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea earned his place against Norwich City. His saves kept United in that match and he was well worth his selection to gain the clean sheet and the three points, which were needed after that turbulent time at the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign of the club. United are now undefeated in their last six matches in all competitions and that form needs to continue. United do need to become better on the pitch though. The match against Norwich was slow and cumbersome at times with United needing to become ruthless, like the days of old, which have seemingly gone by. This team is capable of beating the best teams in the league.

De Gea will, no doubt, be challenged by Dean Henderson and/or Tom Heaton this season. It is important that United keep De Gea fresh as at the end of last season, it was a problem with some players and United do not need their best goalkeeper to be fatigued. With the positive COVID-19 tests this weekend, and the fact we do not know which players are involved, there could be some major changes to the squad which faced Norwich. We don’t know how many players are out and United will be missing eight due to injury and illness, which could pose further problems. Perhaps youth could be called up on for this match, at least on the bench?

Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United’s defence has conceded four goals in their last six matches, keeping two clean sheets, which is a positive for this team, who were leaking the goals in the recent months. United have a good team but they need to kick on and turn a corner – a corner that Solskjaer was unable to turn. Hopefully that can cone with Rangnick and whoever replaces him in the summer. Given that Victor Lindelof had to come off the pitch with chest/breathing problems on Saturday, he might not be involved in this match, which is a shame as he has been a positive in the last few matches that he has played.

Instead, it could be Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire who partner in the central defensive positions with Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles playing in the fullback positions. The duo have done well when given the chance to show what they can do and with Aaron Wan-Bissaka injured, Dalot has the right-back position nailed on. However, with Luke Shaw back to fitness, he could push Telles for his place in the team. The positive COVID-19 tests could change this defence, as we don’t yet know who will be missing from this team ahead of this match, if it does go ahead. United should be able to deal with what has happened though.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Fred, Donny van de Beek

The 4-2-2-2 formation has not been working for United. The lack of width is a problem and it puts pressure on the midfield, which is not the best at this time, being that players are missing due to injury an illness. A 4-3-3 formation would be much better for United – it gives width and the players to help the attack, which is all that is needed to keep this team dominant. Of course, further additions will be needed for this formation to work, including a midfielder that can add some steel to the position – protecting the back for and creating from a deep-lying role. That was all that was needed in the summer, but it was not addressed for whatever reason.

Scott McTominay should start in the defensive area in this match – he did what was needed against Norwich but he may need to do more in order to gain the plaudits of those who seem to not want him at the club, let alone starting matches. Three permanent managers have seen the qualities of this player but people on Twitter hate him, so the manager needs to adapt to their position on the matter – yeah right! Fred should also start as he has been largely positive recently. With Bruno Fernandes struggling, a place on the bench should be his with Donny van de Beek playing in the advanced role, which could show Rangnick that he has cover in this position.

Forward: Mason Greenwood, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho

United’s attack has bags of potential this season. Granted, with Anthony Martial (who apparently wants to leave next month) and Edinson Cavani both on the sidelines, it leaves the attack limited in the resources available. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 13th goal of the season against Norwich, which was a good penalty won fairly – not that the ABUs would agree with that. They hate to see the rules applied to United as they are so jealous of the club. Ronaldo at 36 is still a great player and the pundits cannot handle that either. It’s almost like he’s turning back the time, albeit playing as the lead striker, not the pacy winger.

Mason Greenwood needs to be playing more in this team. Marcus Rashford is well out of form and seems to be a hindrance for the club. Until he’s found a better period of form, he should be on the bench and working hard in training to find a way of getting back into the team as a starter. Jadon Sancho was subbed on Saturday when his play was more positive that Rashford’s. Having Greenwood and Sancho on the flanks with Ronaldo could be good for United. The pace and width that they offer is positive and will mean that Ronaldo could stay in the most dangerous areas to find goals. The attacking style of Dalot is also a positive that needs to be used more.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Phil Jones, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Bruno Fernandes, Charlie Savage; Marcus Rashford, Amad Diallo, Anthony Elanga

United cane name nine substitutes on the bench in the Premier League. Granted, until we know how many players are out after this positive COVID-19 test on Sunday, we don’t know what the club has left, in terms of players to field a team. At this time I would expect Dean Henderson to be on the bench with De Gea starting. That could all change though if either them are involved in the positive tests. In defence, not that United has many options there are this time, Phil Jones and Luke Shaw could both be available. That could all change though. There is a chance that the match is postponed because of the positives.

In the midfield, Jesse Lingard, Bruno Fernandes and Charlie Savage could all be available, as United’s U23’s are not in action until they face Chelsea at Leigh Sports Village on Friday evening. It is quite possible that more youth players are added to the first team to get through this period, instead of this match, or future matches being postponed for United to play at a later date, which might not be the best thing for the club. In attack, Marcus Rashford, Amad Diallo and Anthony Elanga could find themselves in with a chance of getting on the pitch and helping United get what they need against Brentford. This should be a win for United.

Written by John Walker

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

copyright: JW