Who’s to blame at Man United?
Brentford vs Manchester United – Dark days for united
Last season, Brentford started life in the Premier League by beating an Arsenal side that seemed unready for the season. Even then, it was unlikely they expected to start their second season by beating Manchester United by 4 goals since most pundits considered that their honeymoon season.
After a nightmare season opener against Brighton last week, Erik Ten Haag needed a response from his team, but nothing could have prepared him for the sort of showing his team displayed. The match was effectively over as a contest by the 35th minute when Bryan Mbuemo shrugged off Luke Shaw’s challenge to score Brentford’s 4th goal of the evening.
10th minute: Manchester United got off to a rough start when a tame DaSilva shot inexplicably squeezes under De Gea to open the scoring. That was the precursor of what was to come.
18th minute: That error buoyed the Brentford players, they pressed the United back line and were rewarded for their efforts. Jensen closed Eriksen down quickly in the box and calmly sent De Gea the wrong way to score Brentford’s second.
30th minute: As if things weren’t bad enough, United were unfortunate to concede from a corner after what looked like a Brentford handball in the previous phase of play. Ben Mee would not care about any of that as he stooped to head in the third goal from point-blank range after outjumping United new signing Lisandro Martinez easily.
35th minute: When it rains it pours, Jensen stole the ball off Jadon Sancho in his own half and launched a long ball down field for Ivan Toney who played Bryan Mbuemo in. With some work still to do to finish off the counterattack, Mbuemo showed strength to ride the challenge of Luke Shaw who was wary of giving away a penalty. All he had to do was to pick either side of De Gea to play the ball, which he did with aplomb.
By half time, the game was over. In the second half, Brentford could take their foot off the gas and more damning for United, cruise to an easy victory despite Manchester United’s best attempts.
Here are some thoughts from the game:
United desperately needs an overhaul
Ralf Ragnick during his tenure as interim manager infamously said United needed to bring in “8 to 10 new players”. That looks like the case right now.
Indeed Erik Ten Haag has started the project of getting the players he wants with the acquisition of former Ajax players Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen. While Eriksen is familiar with the Premier League, at 33 he isn’t the box-to-box midfield general that United needs to dominate games, especially against physical opponents.
This was clear when he was robbed of the ball while trying to play out of the back, leading to the concession of the second goal.
Brentford never looked uncomfortable
Once DaSilva got the ball rolling with the first goal, it was clear that this was going to be a special day for the Bees. Before halftime, the Brentford crowd were regaling their players with oles! every time they touched the ball. Impressive considering Brentford had not beaten Manchester United in 84 years, not only that, it was the first time Brentford scored 4 goals in a Premier League match.
De Gea had a game to forget
An excellent shot-stopper, David De Gea is often criticized for his discomfort with the ball at his feet and a propensity to make costly errors at crucial times. Both of these weaknesses led to the first two goals and made an already difficult task impossible for United.
First, he allowed a weak DaSilva shot squirm under him, then passed the ball to Eriksen in the box while the Danish midfielder was being closed down by two Brentford players.
Like most great players he should bounce back from this incident. However, unless Ten Haag wants to ditch his preferred game plan of playing out from the back, he will have to look for a new goalkeeper sooner rather than later.
The task ahead of Ten Haag is a huge one
In his pre-match press conference, Erik Ten Haag revealed that rumoured PSG target Marcus Rashford was happy, and that Cristiano Ronaldo was happy to stay at Manchester United. Even if these statements were true, his players do not seem to have any cohesion, especially going by their body language and inability to execute simple game tactics.
While the introduction of Scott McTominay and Rafael Varane led to some stability, the fact that their striker did not have a shot at goal till the 51st minute of the game is more than worrisome.
He also pushed for the signing of Lisandro Martinez for £45 million. If the rest of the Argentine centreback’s Man United career goes anything like the first two games have, Ten Haag will have some uncomfortable questions to answer.
Where Does United go from here?
No United manager has ever lost their first two games of the season. The Red Devils will finish a matchday at the bottom of the Premier League table for the first time since August 21st, 1992.
Furthermore, Brentford are only the third side to score four goals against them in the first half of a Premier League match. All these could lead to panic stations from the United management, they however need to be wary of making panic buys that do not improve the side and further inflate their already huge wage bill.
With three weeks to go until the summer transfer window slams shut, the Red Devils will need to sign the right players and get rid of the players unsuitable for how Erik Ten Haag likes to play.
Get it right and their season can be salvaged. If they get it wrong, however, these two demoralizing losses could be the least of their problems this season.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section!
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