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Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Ronaldo to return against Brentford? Elanga, Fernandes, Greenwood, Fred and McTominay to start? Varane and Jones 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, Raphaël 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: Manchester United need to find their backbone against Brentford, work as a team and push hard to save the season, if they don’t, it will be the fault of the players

Brentford -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Villa Park, Birmingham

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

Ratings: Elanga and Pereira score against Brentford; Pellistri and Lingard also showed promise in Old Trafford draw

Manchester United drew 2-2 with Brentford at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. Jesse Lingard nearly scored in the opening few minutes but it was Anthony Elanga who opened the scoring in the 12th minute of the match after Aaron Wan-Bissaka played in the cross from the right. Shandon Baptiste equalised in the 20th minute of the match, which was a stunning strike on goal. Andreas Pereira restored United with the lead in the 50th minute, similarly to Baptiste’s goal in the first half, which was great to see. United then fell foul of some poor defending in the 78th minute as Bryan Mbeumo found an equaliser. Preston North End is the next test for United this pre-season, playing away from home on Saturday afternoon.

United started well in their first pre-season match at Old Trafford. Jesse Lingard started in fine form too, just like he did against Queens Park Rangers at the weekend. The United academy graduate launched a shot on goal, which did not open the scoring but was very close. United eventually took the lead in the 12th minute of the match with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, on the day he was criticised by Charlie Austin as not being good enough for United, crossed the ball into the box for Anthony Elanga to find the back of the net to see United take the lead in this match. It was a great finish. It was short-lived though as Shandon Baptiste found an equaliser from a shot just outside the box eight minutes later.

It was a good first half for both teams with many players looking positive on the pitch. There was no breakthrough despite chances for both teams. Solskjaer will be happy with what he has seen but will be getting ready for a few changes at the start of the second half, with more around the 60 minute mark. Elanga, Wan-Bissaka and Lingard all played well and I would like to see more of them in the second half. For Brentford, Shandon Baptiste, Ivan Toney and Tariq Fosu were three of the names that I feel did well against this young United side. The trio could do very well in the Premier League next season, which would be good to see. United will need to do more in this match to get a win, otherwise the likes of Jonny will be moaning again, bless them.

At the start of the second half, after many thought there would be many changes for United, Solskjaer made just one change with Diogo Dalot replacing Brandon Williams, who received a knock in the first half. The last time he played at Old Trafford, he was playing for AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League. The match soon got going again with United on the attack. The ball was played into the box but Brentford cleared the danger by Andreas Pereira latched onto the ball just on the outside of the box, playing in a shot over the top, which hit the inside of the crossbar and hit the back of the net, similar to that of Baptiste from the first half of the match. United were back in front and seeking to get a win at Old Trafford this evening.

Solskjaer made a triple substitution in the 62nd minute of the match with James Garner, Daniel James and Facundo Pellistri replacing Pereira, Elanga and Juan Mata. United were doing well after the changes were made but did not seem to want to advance their score, not that it matters much in pre-season matches, unless you are Jonny! Solskjaer then made another triple substitution with Shola Shoretire, Hannibal Mejbri and Donny van de Beek replacing Lingard, Mason Greenwood and Nemanja Matic. Shortly after the change, Brentford equalised for the second time in the match with Bryan Mbeumo beating Dalot on the left flank, cutting in and beating Tom Heaton from an angle. It was a shame that other goal was conceded but it happens in pre-season.

It was not a win at the Theatre of Dreams but there was many positives from this match. Elanga looks like a player who has what it takes to succeed at this club. Lingard seems to be ready to give something, if he remains at the club this season. Pereira did what he has done during most pre-season campaigns – scored great goal. Pellistri looks like a great talent and in a year’s time, he could be some player. Heaton seems to be ready to give something, which could ruffle a few feathers. It was a good game and fitness was the aim of it. United will take on Preston North End on Saturday away from home, then Everton at Old Trafford the following week. Leeds United are on the horizon now and United are getting ready for that match.

Manchester United

22 Tom Heaton

Conceded twice at Old Trafford, which was unfortunate - had no chance to saves Baptiste's strike. He played a good game, competing 90 minute for his club. Some will moan that United did not win, but it is pre-season, not the Champions League.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

On the day that Charlie Austin said he was not good enough to play for United, he found Elanga who found the back of the net with a great finish. Tut tut Mr Austin.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Seemed low on confidence in this match and did not take the game by the skin of the neck and push United to get a result. His future seems to be on loan, which should be beneficial for him, especially if it is in the Premier League.

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43 Teden Mengi

The better of the two centre-halves in this match. Mengi has so much potential and promise. His loan spell this season should be good for him, whether he ends up back at Derby or elsewhere. He seemed

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33 Brandon Williams

Had a good first half at left-back and could well start the season in this position. Seemed to get a knock in the first half and was replaced by Dalot at the start of the second half.

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15 Andreas Pereira

Scored a stunning goal in the 50th minute of the match after Brentford cleared the box with the ball find Pereira just outside. He shot towards goal with the ball coming off the inside of the crossbar. Pereira does these things in pre-season but fails to reach the same level. in the season proper. Replaced by Garner in the 62nd minute of the match.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Played well in the centre of midfield doing the defensive work. If he was 10 years younger he would be exactly what United need going into this season. He did all he needed to do and was replaced by Van de Beek in the 76th minute.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Started on the right-wing and does look happier there than as the main striker. Time could change that though with Sancho signing for the club this summer. Had a good performance though.

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8 Juan Mata

Played well against Brentford and offered his experience and his footballing brain. He had little inpact in the match though. He was replaced by Pellistri in the 62nd minute of the match.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Started brightly and could have scored early doors. Had a chance either side of the break with the second leading to Pereira's strike which put United back in the lead. He was replaced by Shoretire in the 76th minute of the match.

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36 Anthony Elanga

Scored with a great finish in the 12th minute of the match after being played the ball from a Wan-Bissaka cross. Did well for the remainder of the first half too, which was great to see. Solskjaer should keep him at United this season as I think he could do some magical things. He started the second half but was replaced by James in the 62nd minute of the match.

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Substitutes

20 Diogo Dalot

Replaced Williams 46'. Seemed eager to get on the pitch but also gave me the impression that he did not want to be there. Made a mistake which cost United with Brentford scoring. He's not a defensive left-back and it not an offensive one either.

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Ratings: Elanga and Pereira score against Brentford; Pellistri and Lingard also showed promise in Old Trafford draw

Replaced Elanga 62'. Seemed weak and his thinking is not where it should be. Has pace but needs to have the decision making to go with it. A season on loan could be good for him, if he is not sold this summer.

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37 James Garner

Replaced Pereira 62'. Got more minutes on the pitch with Old Trafford having many scouts in presence, which could see him head away on loan with first team players coming back to training. Did what he needed to do on the pitch.

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28 Facundo Pellistri

Replaced Mata 62'. Seems to be a great talent and good thinking from United to sign him last summer. He seemed determined and wanted to get forward, whether direct or going around the houses. iN a year or too he could be some player.

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47 Shola Shoretire

Replaced Lingard 76'. Came on for 14 minutes. Played out of his regular position and did well.

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46 Hannibal Mejbri

Replaced Greenwood 76'. Seems to be fouled more often that any other player, whether in U23 football or in pre-season. Looked lively though.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Matic 76'. Good to see him back. He could be the replacement for Pogba, should he leave this summer. Should be given more minutes this season. Good to see hm fit and ready to go.

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Goals: Anthony Elanga 12’, Andreas Pereira 50′; Shandon Baptiste 20’, Bryan Mbeumo 78′

Assists: Aaron Wan-Bissaka 12’; Ivan Toney 20’, Finley Stevens 78′

Manchester United: Heaton; Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Mengi, Williams (Dalot 46′); Matic (Van de Beek 76′), Andreas (Garner 62′); Lingard (Shoretire 76′), Mata (Pellistri 62′), Elanga (James 62′); Greenwood (Hannibal 76′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant, Kovar; Fish; Levitt, Galbraith; Hugill

Bookings: N/A

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Greenwood, Elanga, Lingard, Matic and Heaton start against Brentford

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.

Manchester United:

Heaton;

Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Mengi, Williams;

Matic, Andreas;

Lingard, Mata, Elanga;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

Grant, Kovar; Dalot, Fish; James, Pellistri, Van de Beek, Levitt, Garner, Hannibal, Galbraith; Shoretire, Hugill

Brentford:

Raya;

Rasmussen, Goode, Pinnock;

Haygarth, Janelt, Baptiste, Fosu, Thompson;

Canos, Toney

Substitutes:

Gunnarsson, Forss, Peart-Harris, Valencia, Mbeumo, Sorensen, Dervisoglu, Racic, Stevens, Gordon, Onyeka

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: Heaton, Garner, McTominay, Pellistri and Elanga start against Brentford?

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.

Anthony Elanga, Hannibal Mejbri, Teden Mengi, Juan Mata, Brandon Williams and Dylan Levitt in training.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Brentford in their pre-season friendly at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening…

Goalkeeper: Tom Heaton

Tom Heaton has started both matches against Derby County and Queens Park Rangers and will start this one against Brentford, playing at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time in a United shirt, which will be good for him. He could well start the season in goal for United with both David De Gea and Dean Henderson still yet to feature in pre-season, which could come against Preston North End or Everton in the final two matches. United will need a fit goalkeeper in their opening Premier League encounter against Leeds United at Old Trafford next month. Heaton played well against both Derby and QPR, making a few good saves and conceding his first goal against QPR after Charlie Austin equalised in the six minute of the match.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Teden Mengi, Brandon Williams

United’s defence is not the strongest ahead of this match, even after the deal which will bring Raphaël Varane to the Theatre of Dreams was announced on Tuesday evening, which is subject to personal terms and a medical being finalised – which according to rumour, will happen next week after a period of isolation in the UK for the Frenchman. Alex Telles is injured and will miss the stat of the season, so Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams will play in the fullback roles with both Axel Tuanzebe and Teden Mengi playing in the centre of defence once again. United will be waiting for Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw to return from holiday before the defence will be assured and when Varane is involved, it will be even better.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, James Garner

The midfield is the area where there are many different players to choose from in this pre-season squad. We have seen Andreas Pereira, James Garner, Nemanja Matic and Dylan Levitt play in these positions over the last two matches and this match should see the return of Scott McTominay, who has been training for the last week, so should have the kind of fitness to get 45 minutes out of this match. He should partner Garner in the centre of midfield, who could do the defensive work, leaving McTominay to playa more advanced role, pushing the ball up the pitch. When Brentford are on the attack, the pair could combine to limit the damage. I think this would be a good match for the pair to play as being back at Old Trafford, with supporters behind them, could inspire them to achieve something, which would be beneficial for Garner ahead of the new season.

Attacking Midfield: Facundo Pellistri, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Elanga

With the likes of Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford not yet available, even though Fernandes returned to training on Tuesday, it will be a youthful three behind the striker against Brentford, which will be good to see once again. Facundo Pellistri has played 90 minutes (45 minutes each match) against both Derby County and Queens Park Rangers so should get at least 60 minutes against Brentford. He has scored one goal, assisting another. Jesse Lingard should also start after scoring against QPR at the weekend and nearly scoring against Derby the weekend before. Anthony Elanga also found the back of the net against QPR and should start in this match, which could be the start of something special for the teenager this season.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood

Mason Greenwood has not got himself on the scoresheet in pre-season so far and will be seeking to do that at some point before the start of the season. It is a shame he has not scored yet but the lack of creativity behind him in the main role was there to se seen against both Derby County and Queens Park Rangers. Greenwood is a great talent and this season he will learn a lot more with Edinson Cavani around him. It would be good if United could sign a striker that can also take a role at the club, but that could possibly wait until next summer if Anthony Martial ends up staying at United, which at this time is up in the air according to many rumours. Greenwood should have more experience around him in the team at the Theatre of Dreams, which should be a good mixture against the Premier League new boys.

Substitutes: Lee Grant, Nathan Bishop; Diogo Dalot, Will Fish, Di’Shon Bernard; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek, Dylan Levitt, Hannibal Mejbri, Ethan Galbraith; Shola Shoretire, Joe Hugill

There have been 12 substitutes on the bench in the last two pre-season matches and I think that will continue against Brentford at Old Trafford. However, I have kept all the players that have been training this week, who could play a part in the fixture. In goal, both Lee Grant and Nathan Bishop could be available, the latter has not featured in pre-season yet. In defence, Diogo Dalot, Will Fish and Di’Shon Bernard could be available. In midfield, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek, Dylan Levitt, Hannibal Mejbri and Ethan Galbraith could play a part, although he’s played at right-back. In attack, both Shola Shoretire and Joe Hugill could come off the bench against the Premier League new boys.

Written by John Walker

Preview: United to overcome QPR defeat at Old Trafford against Brentford?

Manchester United -v- Brentford

Pre-Season 2021/22

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

copyright: JW