Midweek saw the Manchester United circus reach new heights of disaster as the Red Devils lost 3-2 to Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) after twice blowing leads, having a player sent off, and giving up a penalty. Even the under-fire manager Erik ten Hag’s admission that his team is going through a “very difficult period” doesn’t do their predicament justice, since United has lost six of their first ten games of the season for the first time since 1986/87.
Unfortunately for Ten Hag, United fired Ron Atkinson as manager of that team in November. He will thus need the Old Trafford faithful to support his struggling team, but recent home performance has been lacking.
The Red Devils have dropped three of their past four home games after going over a year without a defeat, and another defeat may mean that they drop three straight league games at Old Trafford for the first time since 1979!
The arrival of an out-of-sorts Brentford team could be timely given that the Bees have dropped five straight head-to-head meetings away from Old Trafford and haven’t triumphed there since February 1937. Boss Thomas Frank, though, has more urgent worries because his team has only won one of their past seven games across all competitions (D3, L3), and their lone victory in that span came against Newport County of League Two—and they had to win on penalties!
Frank believes that his squad is currently through a period where they “can’t cross the finish line,” but that this will pass in “a matter of time.” The fact that Brentford has won three of their past six away games in the Premier League (D1, L2), including victories over Chelsea and Tottenham, two of the traditional “big six” clubs, and that their lone league victory of 2023–24 also came away from home, means he doesn’t mind another away match.
Observe these players: Rasmus Hjlund, a new striker for the Red Devils who has scored three goals in two UCL games, is the sole bright spot in the very dark cloud that currently hangs over Old Trafford.
Bryan Mbeumo, who scored the final goal in the Bees’ 4-0 H2H thrashing at the start of last season, could attempt to exploit a weak defense with United without three first-choice left-backs.
Hot fact: United has given up 18 goals through ten games, which is the most at this point in a season since 1966/67.
Predicted Scoreline: 2:0