Monday, October 3, 2022

Prediction: Brentford vs Manchester United

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 12 Aug 2022

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Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 5/2

Bookmaker: 888sport

The 2022/23 season in the Premier League has started, and the opening round delivered some surprising results. The show goes on this weekend, and at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Brentford are set to welcome Manchester United in what will surely be an interesting contest in several ways.

Brentford

Having earned promotion from the Championship a year ago, Brentford went on to shake the scene in the English top flight in a surprising manner last season. For some time it seemed as if they were on course to finish in the top half of the table as Thomas Frank’s machine employed an extreme high-intensity approach, but their form later dropped off and they ended up sitting 13th. Still, as is the case with most newly promoted sides, their aim was likely nothing more than Premier League survival, which they achieved quite comfortably.

This summer, there have been some notable transfers involving the Bees. Christian Eriksen, who joined Frank’s ranks in the middle of last season as a free agent following the termination of his contract with Inter Milan, could be a part of this match but in a Manchester United shirt. Striker Marcus Forss has also gone, to join Middlesbrough. Meanwhile, centre-back Ben Mee has arrivad from Burnley, as have wingers Mikkel Damsgaard from Sampdoria and Keane Lewis-Potter from Hull City, fullback Aaron Hickey from Bologna, and goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha from Lazio.

In the opening round of the campaign, the Bees went to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City, and they showed extreme resilience by fighting back from two goals down to snatch a point. Timothy Castagne scored the opener for the Foxes in the 33rd minute and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall doubled it in the 46th, but Ivan Toney (62′) and Josh Dasilva (86′) made sure their team went home with a point.

Team News

Defender Kristoffer Ajer and winger Sergi Canos are both expected to return from their hamstring problems soon, but not for this match. Frank was reluctant to say anything about the length of absence for midfielder Ethan Pinnock a week ago, but the feeling is that this match comes too soon for him as well.

Against Leicester, Frank deployed his team in a 4-3-3 shape, with captain Pontus Jansson joining Mee in the heart of defence, Christian Norgaard anchoring the midfield and Toney leading the line upfront. It remains to be seen if he changes anything for United’s visit on Saturday.

Manchester United

The last nine seasons weren’t easy to take for the Manchester United supporters, people who were previously used to their team winning title after title. They won 13 under Sir Alex Ferguson, but none since his retirement in 2013. They haven’t even really been close. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick have come and gone, as have Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Angel Di Maria, Memphis Depay, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, and many others, all without the crown in the English top flight.

The return of Cristiano Ronaldo to the club after 12 years of absence hasn’t helped either, even though the Portuguese superstar did finish 2021/22 as the club’s top scorer. He has reportedly expressed a desire to leave Old Trafford earlier this summer, but unable to find pastures new, he is now a part of the latest project, overseen by Erik ten Hag.

Pogba left the club this summer to rejoin Juventus, as have attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard and goalkeeper Dean Henderson (both to Nottingham Forest, on a free transfer and loan, respectively), left-back Alex Telles (Sevilla, loan), and attacking midfielder Andreas Pereira (Fulham, permanent deal).

As has been said, Eriksen arrived as a free agent from Brentford. Centre-back Lisandro Martinez has come from Ajax, as has left-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord. Tom Heaton has come in to replace Henderson as the backup goalkeeper.

United are believed to be slowly giving up on the pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, and the name mentioned the most as an alternative target is Adrien Rabiot of Juventus.

The season started rather badly for Ten Hag and his team. They suffered a 1-2 defeat at home at the hands of Brighton and Hove Albion as Pascal Gross struck twice, and only an own-goal from Alexis Mac Allister stopped the Seagulls from going home with a clean sheet. There’s obviously still a lot of work for the former Ajax coach to do, despite his team showing great promise in pre-season.

Team News

Forward Anthony Martial missed the Brighton defeat through a hamstring injury, and at this point he remains a doubt for the Brentford trip.

In Martial’s absence Ten Hag deployed Eriksen in a ‘false nine’ role, leaving Ronaldo on the bench. The 37-year-old was clearly unhappy with that call, and given United’s performance in that match, it’s likely that he’ll be starting this time around.

Conclusion

Manchester United are likely in for another tough match against determined and tactically prepared opposition. Still, some progress after the opening day fiasco is to be expected. A share of the spoils wouldn’t be much of a surprise here.

Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 5/2

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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