Manchester United have made a dismal start to the season and are in dire need of three points on Saturday. Will they get them? We look ahead to the Premier League game at Old Trafford with our Manchester United vs Brentford prediction and preview.
Manchester United vs Brentford: Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer is backing United to beat Brentford, but not as overwhelming favourites. The Red Devils won 45.3% of our pre-match simulations.
- Man Utd could lose three successive home league games for the first time since February 1979.
- Erik ten Hag’s men have lost all three of their Premier League games against London-based teams in 2023-24. They last lost four consecutive league matches against capital clubs in 1986.
If Erik ten Hag thought a change of competition might bring some much-needed respite, he was gravely mistaken. Manchester United suffered their fifth defeat in seven matches on Tuesday as Galatasaray twice came from behind for a famous 3-2 UEFA Champions League win at Old Trafford, increasing the pressure on Ten Hag ahead of Saturday’s Premier League visit of Brentford.
In addition to sitting bottom of their Champions League group with zero points, United approach Saturday’s game 10th in the Premier League table, already nine points adrift of the summit. They have lost six of their 10 games across all competitions so far in 2023-24 while conceding 18 goals, the most they have shipped at this stage of a season since 1966-67 (20).
Several individual errors cost United in midweek, making Rasmus Højlund’s brace immaterial. Diogo Dalot’s weak defending allowed Wilfried Zaha to score against his former club for the fourth time, while André Onana’s misplaced pass led to Casemiro receiving a second booking. Stand-in left-back Sofyan Amrabat was then slow step up after making a clearance, thus playing Mauro Icardi onside as he ran through to score the winner.
It’s fair to say Old Trafford isn’t currently a destination feared by travelling sides. United have lost their last two home games in the Premier League against Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace, having only lost two of their previous 34 at home in the competition (25 wins, seven draws). They last lost three successive home league games in February 1979.
As he looks to avert another home humiliation, Ten Hag will be hoping for positive news on the injury front. While defenders Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martínez – who has suffered a setback in his recovery from a metatarsal injury – are all out for the foreseeable future, Sergio Reguilón will be assessed. Jadon Sancho remains frozen out amid reports he may leave in the January transfer window.
In attack, United need an improvement from Marcus Rashford. Having scored 17 Premier League goals from 15.8 expected goals (xG) last season, he has netted once from 2.7 xG in 2023-24. He is second only to Manchester City’s Erling Haaland for total shots and direct shot involvements in the Premier League this season but has looked devoid of confidence lately. There is some hope though in the fact his last four Premier League goals have come against London-based clubs.
Brentford have themselves endured a frustrating start to the season, only winning one of nine games in all competitions (five draws, three defeats). They have gone seven without a win since overcoming Fulham in August, though that run does include a penalty shootout success at Newport County in the League Cup.
It’s not as if Thomas Frank’s men haven’t had their opportunities, either. No Premier League team has dropped more points from winning positions this season than Brentford’s eight (tied with Bournemouth), with two more having been squandered last Sunday. The Bees looked set for a morale-boosting win when Christian Nørgaard nodded them in front against 10-man Nottingham Forest, only to be denied by Nicolás Domínguez’s header in what turned out to be a 1-1 draw.
Frank felt aggrieved after that game, with Brentford denied a penalty despite Yoane Wissa appearing to be fouled by Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner. Wissa has featured in each of Brentford’s last 71 Premier League games, while strike partner Bryan Mbeumo has played in their last 64. The duo rank second and fourth respectively for the longest current runs without missing a top-flight match.
Fellow forward Ivan Toney made a goalscoring return in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Como this week, but he remains banned until January after breaching the Football Association’s betting rules. Brentford’s attacking options were further depleted by last week’s revelation that Kevin Schade will miss several months with an adductor injury.
Rico Henry is out for the remainder of the season, while Ben Mee is not expected to return until after the international break. Brentford have at least remained solid without the defender, with only Man City (3.35), Chelsea (4.62) and Arsenal (5.06) allowing less than their 5.51 xG against from open play in the Premier League this term.
Manchester United vs Brentford Head-to-Head
Manchester United have won three of their four Premier League meetings with Brentford, though the lone defeat was a memorable one when they were thrashed 4-0 last August in Ten Hag’s first away game in charge.
The Red Devils have won both home Premier League matches against Brentford without conceding; 3-0 in 2021-22 and 1-0 when the teams last met in April.
Indeed, Old Trafford has not been a happy hunting ground for Brentford, who have lost their last five away games against United in all competitions. Their last win at Old Trafford came by a 3-1 scoreline in February 1937.
However, United have lost all three of their Premier League games against London clubs this season – versus Tottenham, Arsenal and Crystal Palace.
They have not lost four in a row against London clubs in league action since September 1986, while they last lost as many as four games against London-based sides in a single season in 2006-07.
Manchester United have won two of their four home games in the Premier League this season, earning unconvincing victories over Wolves and Forest before their defeats to Brighton and Palace.
The Red Devils have conceded first in each of their last three league matches at Old Trafford, and they have only shipped the opening goal in four successive home league games on two previous occasions – between February and March 2014 and between July and September 2020.
United’s tendency to start slowly may not be music to Brentford’s ears, however. The Bees have only won one of the five Premier League games in which they have struck first this campaign, being pegged back in draws with Tottenham, Palace, Bournemouth and Forest.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Manchester United vs Brentford Prediction
The Opta supercomputer makes Man Utd favourites here, with the under-fire hosts taking three points in 45.3% of 10,000 match simulations ahead of kick-off.
Another disappointing home result is far from ruled out, however. Brentford are assigned a 26.6% chance of victory, with 28.1% of simulations finishing level.
Manchester United’s awful form has had a drastic impact on the supercomputer’s season predictions. They were given a 63.2% probability of a top-four finish and qualification for the Champions League before a ball was kicked, but that has now dropped as low as 4%.
Brentford are not thought to be in serious danger yet, with just a 1% chance of relegation, and their most likely final position is deemed to be 12th, finishing there in 16.8% of simulations.