Marcus Rashford scored the only goal of the game as Manchester United beat Brentford at Old Trafford on Wednesday, recording their first Premier League win since February. It wasn’t a classic, but United were undoubtedly the more threatening of the two sides, and didn’t ever look like throwing away their lead after Rashford’s first half opener.
Erik ten Hag made only one change to the side that turned in a dismal performance at Newcastle United on the weekend, with Wout Weghorst dropping to the bench to make way for Jadon Sancho. Sancho started out on his favoured left side, with Rashford pushing up into centre-forward.
United dominated possession throughout the first half, but struggled to break down Brentford’s disciplined defence. The hosts were restricted to half-chances in the opening exchanges, with Scott McTominay firing a half-volley over the crossbar from the edge of the box, and Antony curling a trademark effort off the right wide of the far post.
In the end, United found a breakthrough by beating Brentford at their own game. Only Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal have scored more set-piece goals than the Bees this season, but just short of the half-hour, Antony spooned a United corner back into the Brentford box, where Marcel Sabitzer flicked on and Rashford lashed home for 1-0.
From there, it was plain sailing until halftime, with David de Gea not having a single save to make. United’s only concern was the early withdrawal of Luke Shaw, who made way for Tyrell Malacia shortly before the break with a suspected hamstring injury.
Nevertheless, United remained on top after the restart, though lacked the precision to put Brentford to the sword. Slowly the Bees began to claw their way back into the game: McTominay was on hand to block a goalbound effort from Shandon Baptiste, seconds before De Gea was called into action for the first time, getting down bravely to deny Kevin Schade — and sustaining a thwack in the process.
Ten Hag moved to shore things up, handing Fred his 200th United appearance in Marcel Sabitzer’s slot, and introducing Anthony Martial for Sancho. Chances to kill the game off soon followed, but Antony and Fred both missed the target. Fortunately, United weren’t made to pay for their profligacy, and held on for an important win.