Manchester United vesrus Brentford FC - Premier League match at Old Trafford

Mik Bowers. Dazn Bet’s very own football fanatic, and unashamed Man-U fan, brings us regular highlights of his favourite games. If you’ve missed the game, or just want a reminder, then Mik’s got you covered. Focusing mainly on FA Cup, The Premier League and occasional games from the major European tournaments, Mik gives us his thoughts on the matches.

Man United bounce back

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea

Manchester United return to winning ways

Manchester United played host to Brentford FC, who were sitting 7th in the Premier League before the game. Manchester United had dropped from 3rd to 5th after both Newcastle and Tottenham went above them after United’s recent poor form continued

Manchester, who had not won a league game since beating Leicester in February, were in danger of not scoring in 4 consecutive league games for the first time since April 1989! A team of United’s stature should not be goalless in this many games!

It was an important win for United and although the game wasn’t the best spectacle, Ten Hag, the Manchester United manager, will be happy with the 3 points

United started better than in previous matches and the wet conditions probably helped with the slick passing and moving. The United players seemed to be more on their game than the one a few days ago in Newcastle. Ten Hag may have given his players a dressing down after that game, or they looked at themselves in the mirror. Whatever the reason, the United players were more tuned for this home tie, than the last away game!

Scott McTominay, in particular, played an important role in the win and probably just deserved his Man of the Match. He was all over the pitch and made several strong runs into the opposition half, winning important tackles and winning some important headers in his own goal area

Scott McTominay tackles Brentford's Mathias Jensen

Back in the top four

Although Newcastle also won their away game to West Ham in style, beating the London club 4 – 1, United’s win took them back into the top 4, just goal difference separating them and Newcastle.

It looks like the top 2 spots have already been sewn up. I’m not too sure any of the chasing pack will now catch Arsenal (1st) or Manchester City (2nd) before the others run out of games. Even if there were enough games, I still don’t think anyone would catch Arsenal or City!

Staying in the top 4 is vital for United if they are going to compete in attracting the top European players to join them next season. And they definitely need a few to join. Something is still missing from the United squad if they stand any chance of getting back to the glory years of the 90’s and 00’s!

Wout Weghorst was resigned to the bench last night but I’m not sure he is the guy to spearhead a United team next season if they want silverware. He works hard, is a team player, but you must score goals!

Rashford on target again

While Weghorst was rested on the bench, it was left to Marcus Rashford to play up front for the Red Devils. Rashford probably prefers this position to the left wing, which is where Ten Hag as been playing him. Rashford always looks dangerous when he pushes forward and he had several runs at the Brentford defence and could have scored earlier but pulled his shot wide.

On the 27th minute a nice cross into the box from the dangerous Anthony was nodded back across goal by the impressive Marcel Sabitzer, which fell perfectly to the oncoming Rashford, who side-footed the ball into the roof of the net.

The goal was very similar to the one Newcastle scored against United a few days earlier.

Sabitzer enjoyed some good possession and was always available for the United defence. Both McTominay and Sabitzer played better together than the loss against Newcastle

One item for concern for Ten Hag will be the injury to Luke Shaw, who has been enjoying a rich vein of form for both United and England. Shaw went off in the 37th minute and although the incoming Tyrell Malacia slotted in well, Ten Hag will be hoping for a quick return for Shaw.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford shoots towards goal

Brentford fight back

After the break Brentford, who had a pretty subdued first half, started to get a grip of the game and had a couple of good chances themselves. De Gea, who seems to be getting better, pulled of a couple of fine stops. The pick of his saves a one-on-one with the Brentford substitute Kevin Schade. De Gea rushed out to the oncoming Schade and spread himself much like the last United goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel. This save was probably as important as the Rashford goal!

Brentford grew in confidence but United eventually held out for the win and the much-needed and very important 3 points

Although it wasn’t a particularly dirty game, the referee saw fit to hand out 5 yellow cards. 3 to United. Shaw, McTominay and Fernandes for the Reds and Damsgaard and his Danish countryman Norgaard for Brentford

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea versus Brentford's Kevin Schade

Verdict

It wasn’t a great win. But, if you ask any manager, player or even fan which they would prefer: 3 points and a scruffy win or fantastic classy football and a draw, we know what people would choose! United have to do a lot better if they want to finish in the top 4, with Tottenham and even Brighton still in contention. But scrappy 1 goal wins will do for Ten Hag and the Red Devils for now!