Brentford vs Manchester United predictions: Red Devils' hellish start to get worse

Simon Barlow
Spotlight
Thomas Frank can be the latest engineer of another Manchester United disappointment in Brentford's first home game
Thomas Frank can be the latest engineer of another Manchester United disappointment in Brentford's first home game

Brentford's indestructible team spirit saw them overcome early lethargy at Leicester last weekend and Manchester United should be wary of being stung in a similar fashion on Saturday. 

The Bees could have been three goals down by half-time as Thomas Frank's men began their second-ever Premier League campaign very slowly. 

But the traits that took them well clear of the relegation zone last term finally emerged in the final 30 minutes, by which time Brendan Rodgers' side were ruing their missed chances. 

Erik ten Hag's mission to make the Red Devils a feared force again continues at Brentford Community Stadium and the Dutchman can at least take solace from the fact that Christian Eriksen is on his teamsheet and not in the Bees line-up. 

It will take more than a bit of magic from the Danish playmaker, however, to ease the pain of last Sunday's surrender to Brighton. 

Team news

Brentford's Kristoffer Ajer, Sergi Canos and Ethan Pinnock are again unavailable for selection. 

Josh Dasilva put in a good enough shift off the bench at King Power Stadium to suggest he could come into the reckoning for a starting berth. 

But Frank is more likely to stick with the same XI, which would mean Ivan Toney being joined in the final third by Bryan Mbuemo and Yoane Wissa once more, leaving Keane Lewis-Potter on the sidelines. 

New signing Mikkel Damsgaard could also make the squad following his recent arrival from Sampdoria. 

Anthony Martial and Victor Lindelof look set to miss out for the Red Devils again, but Cristiano Ronaldo is in contention to start this weekend. 

The striker has had a full week of training on the back of his 40-minute run-out against Brighton. 

Ten Hag is expected to alter the balance of the team by taking out a central midfielder and dropping Eriksen back in there to accommodate an extra forward, leaving Fred and Scott McTominay vulnerable to the axe. 

The stats

Christian Eriksen played a key role in turning Brentford around last season
Christian Eriksen played a key role in turning Brentford around last season

Brentford currently sit behind only Liverpool (21) and Spurs (17) in points won from losing positions in the Premier League since the start of last season. 

Eriksen, who finished first for key passes per 90 minutes (2.7) for the Bees in the Premier League last term, played a major part in constructing their inner belief. 

Manchester United have lost their last three league games in a row, and have not lost four on the spin since 1979. United lost their final six Premier League away games of last season, conceding 17 times and scoring only twice in reply. 

Prediction

All of United's current flaws were laid bare by Brighton at Old Trafford last weekend - providing plenty of pointers over how Frank can set up his team to emulate the Seagulls. 

Ten Hag's team ran out of ideas when up against a well-drilled back three with wing-backs that know how to defend and can expect to face something similar in west London. 

Brentford have as much mobility as Brighton in attack and will rain crosses into the visitors' penalty area if they need to make a late push. 

They kept five clean sheets in their last seven home games of 2021-22 and ought to cause enough problems themselves to ensure another here will be worth three points.

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