Man Utd vs Brentford – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Wednesday 5th April 2023
As part of our midweek Premier League predictions, we take a look at Brentford’s visit to Old Trafford. With 2 draws in their last three home matches and 1 point in 3 games overall, are United in trouble? Read on with our Man Utd vs Brentford prediction.
Man Utd vs Brentford Match Preview
Following the weekend’s Premier League action, Manchester United host Brentford at Old Trafford. It’s fair to say that the hosts haven’t endured the best of times recently in the Premier League, with zero goals, nine conceded and just one point gained as they held on to draw with Southampton following Casemiro’s first-half red card. United’s insipid display away at St James’ Park was reminiscent of their heavy defeat at Liverpool, and only excellent goalkeeping and profligate finishing from Newcastle was responsible for keeping the score down on Sunday afternoon.
We need to be a little careful though and remember that United are still fourth in the Premier League table for a reason. Yes, the likes of Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea have been wildly inconsistent, but six weeks ago or so United were in the midst of an excellent run of form and looking secure for a Champions League spot. However, with that security all but vanished, the hard work starts again and this is a difficult fixture against an opponent who defeated them 4-0 at the GTech Community Stadium at the start of the season.
Brentford showcased exactly how dangerous they are in the final third against an open Brighton team, but perhaps they were too passive in their attempt to hold onto their 3-2 lead. Though they did so until Alexis Mac Allister was able to convert a penalty in the 90th minute, they were thoroughly outplayed in that second half as wave after wave of Brighton attacks came and went. Brighton ended the second half alone with an xG of 3.07 and Brentford, though clinical as ever and disruptive, particularly in the first half, would have had no cause for complaints should they have suffered defeat.
With Liverpool suffering a disappointing collapse in their 4-1 defeat away to Manchester City, Brentford moved above Klopp’s men in the table and maintained their six-point gap behind Spurs. Thomas Frank’s men have a real chance of European qualification this season which would represent a stellar achievement for a club bereft of the resources that the likes of Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea enjoy. In fact, they are only 7 points behind their illustrious opponents here, with an opportunity to close the gap to just four points.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Eriksen
Will Not Play: Casemiro, Garnacho, Heaton, Van de Beek
Might Not Play: Janelt
Will Not Play: Ajer, Lewis-Potter
Man Utd vs Brentford Lineups (Predicted)
Man Utd (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Shaw, Varane, Martinez, Wan-Bissaka; McTominay, Fred; Rashford, Fernandes, Antony; Weghorst
Brentford (3-5-2): Raya; Mee, Pinnock, Jansson; Henry, Damsgaard, Norgaard, Jensen; Hickey; Toney, Mbeumo
Man Utd vs Brentford Analysis
Aggression and Work Rate – Where Is It?
Ten Hag’s men have a specific problem of late – they are defending appallingly in transition. This can be partly attributed to Casemiro’s absence, but only partly – the Brazilian was notably present for the 7-0 defeat at Anfield. United’s attacking unit asides from Weghorst has noticeably been shirking its defensive duties. Even Antony, who does a decent job in pressing from the front and encouraging others to join him, has been slow to track back, and it’s no good performing merely half of those duties.
It’s little wonder then that Newcastle United were able to play through the Manchester United midfield with such consummate ease. To take nothing away from Eddie Howe’s men who were excellent, the time and space they were afforded in the final third was staggering at times and was as a direct result of Manchester United not getting back quickly enough in transition. As excellent as Newcastle were, United lacked the effort and application required from any team in the division, let alone one chasing Champions League football.
The real question is; can Erik ten Hag galvanise his troops? We don’t want to go down the road of football being purely based on work rate and lung-bursting runners, but the lack of defensive effort on Sunday was palpable. When a side has been comprehensively outplayed for the second game in three Premier League matches, it’s clear that they need to focus on getting the basics right. We expect that perhaps Fred will come in for Sabitzer to help ensure that they’re not overrun in midfield quite as easily as they were in St James’ Park. More often than not, Fred is a committed, hard-working, team-oriented midfielder who can make a difference in that area.
Are Brentford All Wrong for Manchester United?
We know that the 4-0 defeat in London came at a time when Manchester United were finding their feet following a disappointing campaign. However, much of what we’ve seen lately, with United being outworked and outrun, particularly in central areas, plays directly into Brentford’s hands. Then you can also factor in that United still don’t look particularly confident in playing out from the back. This is where Casemiro and Eriksen have been excellent for them to help correct this deficiency, but with Eriksen missing and Casemiro still suspended, they haven’t been able to get the ball out from the back without resorting to playing over the press.
It’s hard to believe that United will be able to rectify this issue within three days. It’s such a prominent feature of Brentford’s tactic, and they have players who are almost always excellent at carrying it out that we can see Brentford winning the ball high up the pitch time and time again and putting United under all kinds of pressure. While undoubtedly United will be able to apply pressure of their own, the likes of Rashford and Fernandes haven’t been at their best lately and the goals have promptly dried up. This means that Brentford should feel relatively secure in ensuring they’re compact out of possession while looking to spring at every opportunity.
With Brentford’s style of play, there’s sometimes the danger that the game can become too stretched for them as they aggressively press from the front but also don’t hold a particularly high defensive line at the same time. This requires a tremendous work rate from their midfielders which, when they are successful, are able to provide game-in, game-out. At the moment, United don’t appear to have the tools to take advantage of or match Brentford in that department.
This prediction is written entirely with the caveat that Ten Hag could get a huge response from his players and they could go on to play out of their skins. However, we feel this is unlikely. We also feel that Brentford hold a tactical advantage over Manchester United. Sometimes, teams just match up favourably with the opposition regardless of how strong the two sides are relative to the rest of the league.
Perhaps a few weeks ago, with Casemiro in superb form in midfield and an attack brimming with confidence, we could say that Manchester United could overcome this stylistic issue and defeat Brentford in a hard-fought encounter. At the moment though, we have to say that we fancy Brentford’s chances of piling on the misery.
Manchester United 1-2 Brentford
Man Utd vs Brentford Betting Tip – Brentford Odds:
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