Manchester United will be bidding to bounce back from their opening-weekend defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion when they resume their Premier League campaign against Brentford in Saturday’s late start.
Brentford looked to be heading for a loss at King Power Stadium last weekend, with Timothy Castagne and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall on the scoresheet for Leicester, who led 2-0 in the 46th minute, but Ivan Toney halved the deficit just past the hour before Josh Dasilva came up with a late leveller for the Bees. Thomas Frank’s side will now play their first home game of the season, while a busy end to the month will also see the team take on Fulham, Everton and Crystal Palace in the Premier League, in addition to a trip to Colchester United in the EFL Cup.
Brentford have been active during the summer transfer market, bringing in Keane Lewis-Potter, Aaron Hickey, Mikkel Damsgaard, Thomas Strakosha and Ben Mee during an impressive window, but they lost Christian Eriksen to Man United, with the Denmark international leaving at the end of his contract.
The Bees were excellent in the Premier League last season, picking up 46 points from 38 matches to claim 13th, 11 points clear of the relegation zone, and they will now be bidding to consolidate at this level of football. Last season, Man United won both league fixtures between the two sides, recording a 3-1 victory in London before winning 3-0 at Old Trafford towards the end of the campaign.
Man United would have been looking to get off to the best possible start in their season opener against Brighton last weekend, but the Red Devils suffered a 2-1 defeat, with Pascal Gross’s first-half double proving crucial for the Seagulls, who were deserving of the three points in Manchester.
There is now pressure on new head coach Erik ten Hag to deliver a positive result on Saturday, especially as this match comes just nine days before a home fixture against Liverpool in the Premier League. Man United had a largely impressive pre-season, but their issues from last term were on display again against Brighton, and there will need to be huge improvements if they are to challenge for a return to the top four, with Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur all winning last weekend.
All three of their new signings, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Eriksen, were involved against Brighton; the club continue to work on more new additions, with Juventus’ Adrien Rabiot and PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo the latest players to be linked with switches to Old Trafford, but there remains uncertainty surrounding the future of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.
Man United have not lost to Brentford since February 1938, winning both of their Premier League encounters, and Ten Hag will surely have his troops motivated for this contest, as another defeat would leave the team in a very difficult spot ahead of their next game against bitter rivals Liverpool. Brentford will again be missing three players for this weekend’s contest, with Kristoffer Ajer, Sergi Canos and Ethan Pinnock unavailable for selection.
Dasilva impressed off the bench against Leicester and could now come in for a start, but it might otherwise be the same team that took to the field for the first whistle against the Foxes.
As a result, Toney should be joined in the final third by Bryan Mbuemo and Yoane Wissa, leaving Lewis-Potter on the bench, while Damsgaard could also make the squad following his recent arrival.
As for Man United, Anthony Martial missed out last weekend due to a hamstring problem, and the Frenchman remains a doubt for the clash at Brentford. Brandon Williams and Facundo Pellistri will both again be unavailable through injury, while Mason Greenwood is still suspended for the 20-time English champions.
Ten Hag has a huge decision when it comes to Ronaldo, who featured off the bench against Brighton, and it would certainly not be a surprise to see the Portuguese start, especially if Martial misses out once again.
Ronaldo could potentially come in for Scott McTominay, with Eriksen moving back into a deeper area, while Raphael Varane and Malacia are also pushing for spots in the starting side, but Luke Shaw should retain his spot at left-back, with Martinez joining club captain Harry Maguire in the middle.