It will have been 45 days without a Premier League win when Manchester United take the field against Brentford on Wednesday evening, a function of a hectic fixture list undoubtedly but also a lengthy spell that has seen Erik ten Hag’s side slip from title dark horses to a side fighting for its top four status. Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Newcastle United coupled with Tottenham’s draw at Everton the following day means the Red Devils are now out of the Champions League qualification spots, favorites for a top four berth they may be but it is shaping up to be quite the test.
Brentford will certainly prove to be a test for United, as they proved in a stunning 4-0 win early in Ten Hag’s reign. No club has won away to both Manchester clubs in the same league season since 1990-91 but the Bees are a tough nut to crack on the road, losing just four of their 14 trips in the top flight. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
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- Date: Wednesday, April 5 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Old Trafford — Manchester, United Kingdom
- TV/Live stream: Peacock
- Odds: Manchester United -154; Draw +290; Brentford +400 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Manchester United vs. Brentford
Manchester United: Sunday’s loss at St. James’ Park was a worrying indication of how weak this team’s midfield can be without Casemiro and Christian Eriksen, both of whom will be unavailable for the visit of Brentford. It seems unlikely that Ten Hag will replicate the specific setup he used in defeat last time out, one where Scott McTominay was the most advanced midfielder, but however he sets them up he faces a challenge of getting the most out of fairly limited personnel.
Further forward there will be renewed questions over Wout Weghorst, whose limited involvement against Newcastle was summed up by the four passes he completed. Ten Hag is clearly an admirer of his compatriot’s diligence without the ball, but there may be those who ask whether a team that has scored 41 goals in 27 games (by far the lowest tally in the top eight) needs more from its forwards not named Marcus Rashford.
Brentford: Thomas Frank’s side might believe that they themselves could enter the mix for one of the two Champions League spots that are up for grabs if they can win at Old Trafford. A win would move them within four points of Tottenham in fourth and, whilst there would be bodies aplenty to scramble over, a European place would be firmly on the cards.
As Frank notes, that would be a remarkable achievement for a club with one of the lowest wage bills in the Premier League. “If you look logically at our level before we started the season, a lot of people were talking about second season syndrome and can you do it in the second season? I was pretty confident in saying I don’t believe in that. But I am massively respectful of the league so I know there was a risk for us to go down. With the second lowest budget, success would be to finish 17th. Every position above that is even more success.”
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Unless Rashford catches fire, United have looked like a side who will struggle to get several goals in any one game. This might be another frustrating night for Ten Hag. PICK: Manchester United 1, Brentford 1
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Publish Date:2023-04-05 02:52:04