United must wakeup if they are to beat Brentford
United travel once again and this time to newly-promoted Brentford on Tuesday night. Brentford have impressed so far and sit tenth in the league with 20 points. United know a win against Brentford could propel them to fourth place with Arsenal hosting West Ham. With Manchester City and Chelsea both playing tricky opposition, United could move closer to the top too. However, it won’t be easy. Brentford are an aggressive and expansive team that have already beaten Arsenal and West Ham while drawing with Liverpool and narrowly losing to Chelsea. They have impressed and could punish United if they are as sloppy as they were against Norwich.
United could run riot if they play with the energy they showed against Brentford but if they don’t respect their opposition, it could be an end to their unbeaten run. Here’s all you need to know:
Teams: Brentford and Manchester United
Date: 14th December 2021
KO Time: 19:30 GMT
Stadium: Brentford Community Stadium
Managers: Thomas Frank and Ralf Rangnick
Referee: Andre Marriner
Sergi Canos can return to the side after serving his suspension against Watford. Ivan Toney is also available after suffering from COVID-19. He is likely to return from the bench. David Raya and Kristoffer Ajer remain out with injury.
Of course, the biggest team news is that United have been hit with several COVID-19 cases. The travelling team to Norwich have not been affected and so the main bulk of the team are available. However, the game may be called off depending on whether more positive cases arrive.
Should things go ahead, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is likely to remain absent as is Paul Pogba who returned from Dubai this week. Raphael Varane and Edinson Cavani are very close to a return but both could make the bench for Tuesday. Anthony Martial remains out with a knee injury. Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic may be ready for a return but it is uncertain if they have trained. Victor Lindelof came off with what seemed to be chest pains but could be available for Tuesday depending on the severity.
- Manchester United have not faced Brentford in a competitive match since 1975 in victory in the League Cup second-round.
- Of course, United did face Brentford in a pre-season friendly this summer. Anthony Elanga and Andreas Pereira scored for the reds at Old Trafford while Shandon Baptiste and Bryan Mbeumo scored for the away side.
- No Manchester United manager has kept three clean sheets in a row in their first three league matches in charge. Ralf Rangnick could be the first to reach this in United’s history.
- After one penalty in their last 13 league games (missed), United have had two in their last three. Both the winning goals and both converted by Ronaldo.
Rangnick will make changes after a sloppy performance. I expect at least Shaw and Greenwood back in for Rashford and Telles. Both of whom were poor in possession against Norwich. I could see Bruno Fernandes make way or one of McFred for Donny van de Beek who could gain valuable minutes for squad rotation. Dean Henderson is hinted to be pushing for a start but I don’t think he’ll come in just yet. Rotation will be important but the team has to take their opponents seriously.
Predicted Team (4-3-3): De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, van de Beek; Greenwood, Sancho, Ronaldo
I think it will be a tough game. United played badly against Norwich and have to offer more this time round. I think a sloppy start could put them on the back foot and perhaps behind by a goal. They have to perform and be merciless as Brentford will push for goals and not give up. I can see it being a tricky game but if United are up for it, they should have enough.
Predicted Score: 1-3 to United