Manchester United host Brentford at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Wednesday night, looking to strengthen their position in the top four. We look ahead to the clash with the key Opta insights and supercomputer prediction.
Man Utd vs Brentford: Quick Hits
- Manchester United expected to win this head-to-head by the Opta supercomputer, with a 45.8% chance of victory versus Brentford.
- Brentford will be hoping to seal their first home/away double versus Man Utd in 86 years.
- Man Utd are scoreless in three successive league games – they’ve never gone four in a row without a goal in the Premier League era.
After stunning Man Utd with their 4-0 home win in London back in August, Brentford are looking to complete a league double over the Red Devils for the first time in 86 years. Not since the 1936-37 campaign have Brentford won both home and away in a league match within a single season against Manchester United.
Not only this, but Brentford are looking to do a Manchester away double in 2022-23. After defeating Man City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium before the 2022 World Cup break, they could become the first London club to win away at both Manchester clubs in the same league campaign since Arsenal in 1990-91.
They’ll have to end a sequence of three successive away defeats at Man Utd to do this, however. United have won their last three home league games versus Brentford by an aggregate score of 10-1, including a 3-1 victory here last season in the Premier League.
Brentford will stand a great chance of getting something from this game, should they take the lead. Since they won promotion to the Premier League for the 2021-22 season, Brentford have been leading in 32 matches and not lost a single one of those games (won 22, drawn nine).
Conversely, if Manchester United head into the half-time break with a lead, it’s going to be difficult for the Bees to turn it around. Not since 7 May 1984 have Man Utd lost a league game at Old Trafford that they have been leading at half-time (2-1 vs. Ipswich Town).
Brentford 4-0 Manchester United: 13 August 2022 (Premier League)
Brentford stunned Manchester United back in August, with their four first half goals while keeping a clean sheet leading them to an excellent 4-0 victory over the Red Devils at the Gtech Community Stadium.
Four goals from four shots on target past David de Gea via Josh Dasilva, Mathias Jensen, Ben Mee and Bryan Mbeumo between the 10th and 35th minute stunned Erik ten Hag in what was his first ever Premier League away game as Man Utd boss. The Dutchman became the first manager to lose each of his first two games in charge of Manchester United since John Chapman in November 1921.
It was such a difficult opening 45 minutes for United’s Lisandro Martinez – in his first ever Premier League away game – that he was pulled off at half-time and replaced in central defence by Raphael Varane.
This was Brentford’s first victory against the Red Devils in any competition since a 2-0 FA Cup win back in February 1938, having gone seven in a row winless against them before this balmy evening in August. It was also the Bees’ biggest top-flight win since a 6-1 victory over Grimsby Town in April 1938.
For United, this saw them open a Premier League season with back-to-back losses for the first time since the inaugural EPL season in 1992-93, after losing on the opening weekend at home to Graham Potter’s Brighton. As a result, they ended the day bottom of the Premier League table for the first time since 21 August 1992.
It’s been a poor recent run of form in front of goal for Ten Hag’s Red Devils – Manchester United have failed to score in three consecutive Premier League games for a seventh time, and for the first time since February 2020. In their three most recent matches versus Newcastle United, Southampton and Liverpool, they attempted 24 shots totalling 2.11 expected goals, without success. Never have they gone four without a goal in the competition, last doing so in the league overall in April 1989.
One of United’s major issues has been the suspension of former Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro. They have lost four of their eight Premier League games without him this season, compared to three of 19 when he has played. He’ll still be out with suspension in this fixture.
Their home form has been more impressive, however. Man Utd have lost just one of their last 22 Premier League home games (W14 D7). Indeed, they are on the longest current home run without defeat in the competition (12 games) since losing 2-1 to Brighton & Hove Albion on the opening weekend of 2022-23.
Brentford have proven a stiff test for the majority of sides in the Premier League this season. They have lost just one of their last 16 Premier League games (W7 D8), going down 1-0 at Everton last month. Only Arsenal, Manchester City and Newcastle have lost fewer games than the Bees this season (five), though Thomas Frank’s side have drawn more Premier League games than anyone else this term (13).
Manchester United: Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford has undoubtedly been Man United’s major goal threat in 2022-23 so far but comes into this game on a two-game scoreless streak after firing blanks against Fulham in the FA Cup and in Sunday’s Premier League defeat at Newcastle. He’s not gone three Man Utd appearances in a row without scoring since a run of five in October.
Rashford is still Man Utd’s top scorer in all competitions this season, with 27 goals – more than the next two top scorers combined (Bruno Fernandes’ 10 and Antony’s seven goals). With Christian Eriksen and Casemiro still out for this game, he’ll be relying on midfielders like Fernandes, Scott McTominay and Jadon Sancho to provide the chances. The England international has scored 18 home goals in all competitions this season – it’s the most by a Man Utd player at Old Trafford in a single campaign since 2011-12 (Wayne Rooney, 19), while the last player to hit 20 was Rooney in 2009-10.
Brentford: Ivan Toney
Already a proven goalscorer in the EFL, Ivan Toney stepped up to the Premier League with Brentford last season and never looked out of place.
Since the start of 2021-22, Toney has scored 29 Premier League goals, which is only fewer than Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane (38) and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah. Of those 29 goals, 10 have come from the penalty spot – with Toney being just one of two players in Premier League history to convert 100% of spot-kicks with 10 or more attempts.
Toney has scored 17 Premier League goals this season; only one Brentford player has ever scored more in a top-flight campaign, with Dave McCulloch doing so three times (26 in 1935-36, 31 in 1936-37 and 26 in 1937-38).
Man Utd vs Brentford Prediction
The Opta supercomputer fancies Manchester United to get some revenge on Brentford following the early season thrashing by the Bees in west London, giving Ten Hag’s team a 45.8% chance of victory.
Brentford are being given just over a one-in-four chance of shocking the Old Trafford crowd, but it’ll be a tough ask.
Based on the Opta supercomputer’s projections, Manchester United (84.1%) have the third-best chance of finishing within the top four of the Premier League standings this season, behind only Arsenal and Man City. Brentford are currently in seventh place in the Premier League table, but their chance of securing a top four finish and UEFA Champions League football is extremely unlikely and rated at just 0.3% by the supercomputer. It seems unlikely that they’ll even qualify directly for the UEFA Europa League next season, too (1.1%).