Manchester United are still in the hunt for their first league win since February after losing two-nil to Newcastle United on Sunday. Drive and an unusual apathy seemed to consume the team in Red on Tyneside. However, motivation won’t be hard to come by as United take on the side that embarrassed Erik ten Hag’s men in the reverse fixture. United host Brentford.
How do Manchester United Look?
Manchester United’s most recent game saw them lose 2-0 to Newcastle United at St James’ Park. It was a poor performance all around and Newcastle were deserved winners of the game. The Red Devils struggled to build up effectively with many fans pointing the blame towards David De Gea. United also struggled to retain possession of the ball in midfield and seemed to be overwhelmed by Newcastle’s physicality. The home side were all over Manchester United and Erik ten Hag’s men struggled to create any chances throughout the game. Newcastle’s first goal came in the second half after Bruno Guimaraes stood the ball up for Allan Saint-Maximin to head it across the six-yard box for Joe Willock to turn in. They could’ve had a second just moments later when David De Gea made a fantastic save to deny Joelinton’s close-range header, Fabian Schar almost turned in the rebound but his effort was blocked on the line by Anthony Martial. Callum Wilson doubled Newcastle’s lead, rising highest to meet Kieran Trippier’s set-piece delivery and direct the ball into the far corner.
The loss highlighted the areas supporters have been calling for new signings in and the result pushed Manchester United out of the top four. Erik ten Hag has found solutions for United’s problems throughout the season and now he will have to find a way to fix his side’s struggles in midfield without Christian Eriksen and Casemiro. In the pre-match press conference, Ten Hag did reveal that Eriksen is returning to team training following his injury in January. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is also back in training after recovering from illness.
Brentford have already put four goals past Manchester United when the two side met at the beginning of the season. United have come a long way since that result but Thomas Frank will recognise the dip in form and will look to capitalise at Old Trafford. Brentford have a distinct style of play that could cause United problems with their direct passing and high intensity. Brentford are also strong at set pieces, an area United are quite weak in, and will look to get the ball into the box with quality from any opportunity that arises.
One player who will be key for the way Brentford want to play is Ivan Toney. The English striker has 17 league goals so far this campaign with four assists to boot. Toney’s impact on this Brentford side is larger than just his goalscoring though. The striker is great at holding up the ball and bringing other attackers into play with quality passes. United’s centre-backs will need to be wary of the threat Toney provides not only in front of goal but also when his back is to it.
Despite Manchester United’s patchy form over recent weeks Old Trafford remains a fortress and Erik ten Hag will want his side to keep it that way. The Red Devils will need a significant improvement to their performance against Newcastle if they want to avoid another defeat to The Bees this season.
Manchester United 2-1 Brentford