Manchester United earned a comfortable 3-0 win in their final home game of the season on Monday, with goals from Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphaël Varane enough to see off Brentford. It was one of the Reds’ better performances in recent months, but with the Bees still not totally safe from relegation, that’s not too much to write home about.
There were chances at both ends early on, with Brentford’s star man Christian Eriksen causing problems from the first minute. His lovely lofted pass looked to have sent Bryan Mbeumo clean through on goal, but Alex Telles recovered to avert the danger. At the other end, two minutes later, Diogo Dalot lofted a ball over the top of the Bees’ defence, though Ronaldo slipped before he could pull the trigger.
However, it took only nine minutes for United to open the scoring, with Dalot again involved in the build-up to the goal. He sent Anthony Elanga scampering towards the byline to deliver a powerful low cross into the Brentford box, which Bruno Fernandes volleyed home for his first league goal since the 4-2 win away at Leeds in February.
Brentford continued to pose a threat through their playmaker Eriksen, whose deep cross from the left midway through the first half was headed just over by Ivan Toney. But United dominated possession, and Juan Mata went close to doubling their lead when he lashed into the side-netting just past the half-hour.
United looked better as the half wore on, and thought they’d scored again just before halftime. A brilliant one-two between Mata and Fernandes bought the Spaniard space to square for Ronaldo in the Brentford box, though VAR intervened to rule an offside after the veteran forward had buried the ball in the back of the net.
The Reds created the first good chance of the second half, when a chipped pass from Nemanja Matić caught Brentford’s back three too high up the pitch. Fernandes’s run in behind was well-timed, but his finish narrowly off-target, and the Portuguese attacker watched his shot trickle just wide of David Raya’s post.
Brentford ended up gifting United their second when Rico Henry bundled Ronaldo over in the box just short of the hour. The veteran forward stepped up to take the penalty himself, sending Raya the wrong way and slotting into the left side of the Bees’ goal.
United sealed the win with a third in the final 20 minutes, when Raphaël Varane volleyed a Telles corner past Raya, helped on its way by a big deflection off defender Pontus Jansson. By that time, Nemanja Matić had been withdrawn from his final match at Old Trafford as a United player, and Mata followed suit minutes later, greeted with a polite round of applause as he left the pitch for the final time.