Manchester United’s top four comfort has disappeared after going winless over their last three games, and they now sit in fifth with Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspurs ahead on goal difference.
They’re back at Old Trafford on Wednesday to host Brentford, who handed the Reds a hefty 4-0 drubbing in the second game of the season. Erik ten Hag and his side will likely want some form of revenge for that, but it will be easier said than done with the return of midfield duo Casemiro and Christian Eriksen still a few games away.
Here are the 11 key points ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League clash:
(1) A rejuvenated Manchester United side will be looking to avenge the 4-0 defeat at the start of the season against Brentford. Though not being in top form in recent clashes, The Red Devils are a much-changed outfit now since that humiliating display at Gtech Community Stadium and Erik Ten Hag will look to secure a comfortable win so as to not be left falling out of favour in the top four race.
(2) Manchester United will have historical backing on their part when they host The Bees this Wednesday. In a run stretching back to 1939, The Reds have won their last three home league games against Brentford by an aggregate score of 10-1. The London-based side have never done the double over tomorrow’s hosts.
(3) With only managing to secure a point in their last three Premier League games, Manchester United have a good chance to get back to winning ways and reinvigorate their top-four race after their defeat to Newcastle United. Indeed, Ten Hag’s men have received breathing space as top-four competitors Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t capitalise on United’s woes and drew at Everton to go equal on points with The Reds. However, Spurs have played two more games than the current 5th place dwellers in the Premier League standings.
(4) Manager Erik Ten Hag indicated that both Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are competing for a starting position in the right-back role in his pre-match press conference:
“I think it’s really close, the competition between them”
“Maybe Aaron gives you a little bit more defending, Diogo gives you maybe a little more offence.
“But I have to say I think they both have made progress in both areas, so it’s really close.”
(5) Midfielder Christian Eriksen has progressed fairly well with his injury and is set to make an appearance soon but his presence was ruled out by the Dutch manager for tomorrow.
“He is returning on the pitch, he is returning to team training today so we have to see how quick he can now make the progress.”
(6) Casemiro still has two matches of his 4-game suspension to serve and against Brentford, he will be missed. Anthony Martial returned to the pitch as a substitute in the second-half in the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United.
(7) Visitors Brentford approach this game on the back of a thrilling 3-3 draw against Brighton. The Bees will see that game as a failure to hold their composure because 3 times they took the lead, and each time they were pegged back level by the Seagulls. Ethan Pinnock’s 49th-minute goal seemed to be the final one of the day but a resolute Brighton converted from a penalty in the 90th minute to share the points.
(8) Having won 4-0 at home earlier this campaign, Brentford will aim to complete their second-ever league double over Manchester United after the 1936-37 season. The Bees have won 2-1 against Manchester City this term and a win at Old Trafford would make them the first London-side to win against the two Manchester juggernauts away since Arsenal in 1990-91.
(9) Midfielder Vitaly Janelt has returned to training following a knee injury against Southampton in March. However, he isn’t expected to feature in the match versus Manchester United. His midfield partner Frank Onyeka will also miss the game due to an injury.
(10) Mads Roerslav and Shandon Baptiste will be available tomorrow but Kristoffer Ajer (calf) and Keane Lewis-Potter (knee) will remain unavailable.
(11) The officials for this match are referee John Brooks, assistants Matthew Wilkes and Edward Smart, fourth official Darren England, VAR Robert Jones and assistant VAR Natalie Aspinall.