Man Utd host Brentford at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Wednesday. The Red Devils have failed to score a league goal since lifting the Carabao Cup, but they have won three cup matches since. The Bees won the reverse fixture 4-0 and have amazingly lost just once in their last 16 league matches.
Man Utd Form
United lost just one of their first 20 matches after the World Cup, a 3-2 defeat at Arsenal. After four successive wins, including beating Barcelona 2-1 to progress in the Europe League and a 2-0 win against Newcastle in the League Cup final, they were thrashed 7-0 at Liverpool. Erik Ten Hag got an immediate response as his side beat Real Betis 4-1 at home.
A 0-0 draw at home to Southampton came after playing 56 minutes with ten men. They then finished the job against Real Betis with a 1-0 away victory to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League. They followed that up by beating Fulham 3-1 to reach the FA Cup semi-finals after the Cottagers had two men red-carded at 1-0 up. In their last match, they lost 2-0 at Newcastle as they allowed 22 shots and 3.68 Expected Goals.
Man Utd Team News
Erik Ten Hag remains without the suspended Casemiro in midfield as well as injured duo Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek. Winger Alejandro Garnacho is injured and Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a doubt due to illness.
Anthony Martial is back but this match is too soon for him to start. The midfield composition is the big question as Scott McTominay played higher than Bruno Fernandes in the last match. Fred is somewhat out of favour despite Casemiro’s absence.
Man Utd Motivation
Ten Hag’s side needs a win here to get back on track in the league. They have two matches in hand on Tottenham above them and even a draw would take them back into the top four.
Confidence has taken a bit of a hit of late but Ten Hag will be demanding miles better than what was seen at St. James’ Park.
The Bees have had a great season and sit seventh in the table, just seven points off Man Utd. Their first 12 league matches saw just three wins. A 4-0 loss to Aston Villa in October saw them on a run of three losses (and four blanks fired) in six fixtures. They’ve since lost just once in 16 league matches.
A 3-2 win against Fulham made it 22 points from 10 matches. A 1-0 loss at Everton ended a 12-match unbeaten run as their direct style was nullified by Sean Dyche’s team. They went to Southampton and won 2-0 to immediately respond. Their last two matches have seen them surrender a lead to draw at home with Leicester and 3-3 at Brighton (having led three times).
Brentford Team News
Central midfielder Vitaly Janelt is doubtful for this match and so is centre-back Kristoffer Ajer. Wide player Keane Lewis-Potter is ruled out. Midfielder Shandon Baptiste returns from suspension after his red card against Leicester.
For Thomas Frank, the question is whether to use a back three or a back four. For bigger games, he tends to use an extra centre-back with Yoane Wissa dropped down to the subs bench.
The Bees will go to Old Trafford and play to win, even if they go with an extra centre back in a 3-5-2 shape.
A draw wouldn’t be a bad result by any means but they won’t settle for one unless under the cosh in the second half.
Man Utd’s last 21 home matches have seen 18 wins and 3 draws
Man Utd’s Rashford has scored 18 goals in 24 matches since the World Cup
Man Utd have scored 2+ goals in 14 of their last 17 matches (all competitions)
Brentford have lost 1 of their last 16 EPL matches (W7, D8)
Brentford have won just 3 of their last 14 away PL matches
Brentford’s Toney has scored 9 goals in his last 13 EPL matches
The Bees have every chance of going to Old Trafford and leaving with a point or more. Man Utd need a reaction but their midfield woes mean they may not get the three points they want.