Brentford vs Manchester United Preview


The late kickoff on Saturday sees Brentford take on Man United in a game where both sides will be searching for their first win of the new campaign.

The Bees will probably never have a better opportunity to beat Man United than they do on Saturday evening. Confidence around Old Trafford is low, and although they have a new and exciting manager, the faith of United fans in the club’s hierarchy has arguably never been lower.

Red Devil fans have been holding regular protests about the Glazer’s ownership, including plans to empty Old Trafford at their next home game against Liverpool.

The atmosphere around the club, and the demolition job that Brighton and Hove Albion put on them last weekend, means that player confidence at Man United is low, and Thomas Frank’s men might never have a better opportunity to take all the spoils against them.

Last weekend

Brentford’s 2-2 draw away to Leicester was an odd one.

For significant periods of the first half, the Bees were chasing shadows, to the point that some would have called it boring to watch as Brentford couldn’t get a touch of the ball. The men from West London went in at the break 1-0 down.

The lead was doubled by Kiernan Dewsbury Hall’s strike from 27 yards out. The goal adds weight to the worrying trend that Brentford have conceded more goals from outside the box since their promotion, 13, than any other team in the league.

A savvy tactical change on 59 minutes from Thomas Frank changed the game in Brentford’s favour. Bringing on record signing Keane Lewis Potter and Josh Da Silva, who scored the eventual winner, for Ben Mee and Mathias Jensen, switched Brentford’s system, giving them more of the ball and the momentum, as shown by the graph from below.


From a Manchester United perspective, they will be looking for a reaction from the players after a torrid display against Brighton.

In the first half, Eric Ten Haag’s false nine set-up failed miserably as the Brighton back line read most of Christian Eriksen’s passes, and the runs off of the Dane were not dynamic enough, failing to drag defenders out of position.

There were flashes at the start of the second half, resulting in United’s only goal. Ten Haag removed Fred and put on Cristiano Ronaldo, meaning Christian Eriksen dropped deeper to act as a playmaker, which worked for a time.

However, a slight tactical change from Graham Potter changed the game again. Bringing on Tariq Lamptey and Enock Mwepu for Leandro Trossard and Adam Lallana locked up the seagulls’ back line and allowed them to close the game out without any real goal threat from the men in red, as they pressed effectively high up the pitch.

How does each side win the game on Saturday?


Frank’s on-the-go tactical awareness will be critical against the Red Devils on Saturday.

Against Brighton, the United players seemed to ‘lack confidence’ in the system Eric Ten Haag asked them to run. This is not to say that they doubted Ten Haag’s tactical awareness. Instead, they looked as if they were not confident enough in their abilities to do what he asked.

This is most clearly highlighted in the middle of midfield, where the Seagulls used Fred as the trigger to go and press United, frequently forcing mistakes and winning the ball back.

As well as this, Danny Welbeck dominated the United centre-backs all day, with Harry Maguire struggling to deal with Welbeck’s physicality and darting runs across the back four.

This bodes well for Ivan Toney, who is renowned for being one of the most physically imposing strikers in the league and could have a field day against the Red Devils if they are as disorganised at the back as they were last week.

The performance by Graham Potter’s men laid out a clear blueprint of how to beat Manchester United. Thomas Frank will have seen this and may do the same at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday.

From the United side of things, the game plan is pretty simple. Keep the ball to keep Brentford out of the game and try and break them down methodically with fluid passing.

Despite the result and eventual performance against Brighton, there were flashes of what Eric Ten Haag wants from his Manchester United team in the first ten to fifteen minutes. McTominay made a couple of forward runs that fixed the central defenders and gave Rashford and Sancho space to work on the outside.

Evidently however, this was the vast minority of the game, and the Red Devils must improve to get anything out of the game on Saturday.

Team news

Brentford – According to Thomas Frank new signing Mikel Damsgaard is available but not ready to start. Pinnock Ajer and Canos are still injured, having missed the season’s first game.

Manchester United – Anthony Martial and Victor Lindelof are both out through injury. Ronaldo is now in contention for the starting eleven, having gained more match fitness last time out.

Eric Ten Haag

In the Pre-Match press conference, Eric Ten Haag spoke about needing more depth.

“We need double positions and of course they (outside members of the squad) can also show their capabilities to me and to the team, and get to the right fitness levels and work hard. That’s the most important thing.”

Thomas Frank

Pre-match, Thomas Frank spoke about Brentford’s chances against Manchester United.

“I don’t think there is an ideal time to play Man Utd, there is no doubt they will be the favourites. They can’t afford to lose to us tomorrow. I have the belief we can win.”


If Brentford FC win on Saturday, it will be their first victory against Manchester United since 1938.

Manchester United scored three goals in the home and away games against Brentford last year.

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