Brentford 1-3 Manchester United: Rangnick's men sting Bees

Ryan Benson
Stats Perform
19/01/202222:03
Mason Greenwood celebrating against Brentford
Mason Greenwood celebrating against Brentford

Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford ended personal goal droughts with second-half strikes as Manchester United put wasteful Brentford to the sword in a 3-1 Premier League win on Wednesday.

Ralf Rangnick's men threw away a two-goal lead away to Aston Villa on Sunday but they managed to avoid repeating the feat in what was their first league meeting with Brentford since 1947.

United were indebted to David de Gea – and Brentford's unimpressive finishing – in a first half that the home side largely dominated, but the Red Devils improved significantly after the interval.

Two goals seven minutes apart left Brentford deflated and Rashford added to their misery, with Ivan Toney's late strike a mere consolation.

Amid an early Brentford flurry, De Gea crucially got a boot to Mathias Jensen's 13th-minute effort, Vitaly Janelt and Mads Bech Sorensen then saw efforts deflected just wide before Christian Norgaard inexplicably volleyed over from close range.

United – who did not record a single first-half shot on target – had De Gea to thank again after the half-hour mark, the Spaniard blocking Jensen's goal-bound attempt.

The breakthrough ultimately came at the other end with 55 minutes on the clock – Anthony Elanga latched on to Fred's lofted pass into the danger area and nodded past Jonas Lossl after flicking the ball up for himself.

Greenwood then scored his first Premier League goal since October, tapping in from Bruno Fernandes' squared pass after being released by Cristiano Ronaldo's clever chested pass.

Ronaldo fumed at his withdrawal soon after for Rashford, but the England striker finished off a flowing move late on to justify his introduction with his first strike since October 30.

Toney prodded home from close range to force a tense finish but United saw it out.

What does it mean? United show some class and spirit

For most of the season, but particularly since Rangnick's arrival, United have been very difficult to enjoy. Performances have largely been stale, with individuals failing to live up to expectations.

But this was genuinely quite impressive. Not particularly because United were excellent, rather that they looked dreadful in the first half and then so much better in the second.

As much as anything, it suggests Rangnick is finally getting through to this team, with their second and third goals especially pleasing.

Dave saves United in the first half

Fernandes was really in the mood in the second half and Diogo Dalot was exceptional defensively throughout, but it is difficult to look beyond De Gea as the key man. 

He made seven saves over the course of the match, including a string to keep it 0-0 in the first half. Had he been less decisive, Brentford could have been out of sight.

Ronaldo embarrasses himself with touchline tantrum

Ronaldo played a vital role in United's second goal, his chest offload to Fernandes a real touch of class, but his reaction to being withdrawn with United 2-0 up in the 71st minute was pathetic as he sat in the dugout sulking.

He could be seen asking Darren Fletcher why he had been taken off. Rangnick then had a word in his ear immediately after his replacement scored – vindication.

Key Opta facts

- United have won their 300th Premier League away game, the first team to reach the milestone in the competition.

- United have won at 55 of the 60 different stadia in which they've played in the Premier League, with only Liverpool (57) winning at more different grounds in the competition.

- Rashford became the third different player to score 10 Premier League goals as a substitute for United, after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (17) and Javier Hernandez (14).

- This game was the third time Fernandes has provided multiple assists in a Premier League game – since his debut in the competition in February 2020, no player has done so more in the competition.

What's next?

United welcome former manager David Moyes and West Ham to Old Trafford on Saturday, while Brentford host Wolves.

Tags

Premier LeagueBrentfordManchester United

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