Brentford beat Manchester United 4-0 in their first home game of the Premier League season.
Josh Dasilva, Mathias Jensen, Ben Mee and Bryan Mbeumo all found the net during a sensational first half at the Gtech Community Stadium. It was the Bees’ first win over United since February 1938 and it was achieved in some style.
The opening 45 minutes in the scorching West London sunshine defied belief for those watching in TW8 and around the world.
Aside from an opening five-minute spell where they bossed possession, the visitors were on the back foot throughout. That opening spell saw the returning Cristiano Ronaldo test David Raya with a long-range effort but that was all United managed to create.
While Raya’s handling was sure with Ronaldo’s effort, the same couldn’t be said the first time that David De Gea was called into action. Dasilva’s low, right-footed effort from 25 yards didn’t look especially testing but it squirmed through the Spaniard’s hands and trickled inside the post.
The Gtech Community Stadium had barely calmed down when another defensive mix-up gifted Brentford a second. De Gea played the ball out to Eriksen inside the D but Jensen, who moments earlier had sent a free-kick fizzing inches over the bar, was on his compatriot in an instant. As Eriksen tried to turn away, Jensen nipped the ball away from him, waited for Maguire and De Gea to commit and then stroked it into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Even if the goals had been slightly fortuitous, there was nothing fortuitous about the lead itself as Thomas Frank’s side hassled and harried United at every opportunity. Aside from a couple of commanding claims, Raya in the home goal was able to enjoy the evening sunshine.
United conceded a third on the half-hour. Mbeumo’s in-swinging corner was met at the back post by Toney, he nodded it back across the face of goal and Mee managed to divert it home, while falling, for his first Brentford goal.
Five minutes later, it was four as United were caught out by a blistering counter attack. Jensen showed brilliant composure in the box to win the ball back, turn away from his man and find Toney on the halfway line. Toney spotted the run of Mbeumo through the middle and found him with an inch-perfect pass. Mbeumo still had plenty to do but he held off Shaw, drove into the box and then rolled his finish just inside the far post.
Four goals to the good at half-time against Manchester United. Some in the crowd would have been forgiven for thinking they had drifted off to sleep in the warm sunshine, but it wasn’t a dream, it was fully deserved.
United made a triple change at the break and, while it made the second half more even, it did little to threaten Raya’s goal.
Indeed, the first chance of the half fell to the Bees, Toney teeing up Christian Norgaard on the right edge of the six-yard box but his low drive was repelled by the feet of De Gea. At the other end, Ronaldo got on the end of two crosses but couldn’t get either of his headed efforts on target, much to his obvious annoyance.
As the minutes ticked on the speed of the game slowed in the heat with the Bees happy to soak up any United pressure and play on the break. When the visitors did create a chance, they found a Brentford body in the way. Raya made a regulation save to hold Eriksen’s header shortly before Mads Roerslev got a strong block in as Tyrell Malacia shot from the edge of the box.
In truth, once Brentford weathered that mini-storm, the next goal looked more likely to make it five then reduce the advantage to three. Henry’s sweetly struck volley was well held by De Gea before the United stopper was forced into another smart save as substitute Vitaly Janelt unleashed a fierce near-post effort after beating three men on a mazy run.
Brentford: Raya, Hickey (Bech 80), Jansson, Mee, Henry, Norgaard (Onyeka 80), Roerslev, Jensen (Baptiste 72), Dasilva (Janelt 61), Mbeumo (Wissa 72), Toney
Subs not used: Strakosha, Ghoddos, Lewis-Potter, Damsgaard
Manchester United: De Gea, Dalot, Maguire, Martinez (Varane 45), Shaw (Malacia 45), Fred (McTominay 45), Fernandes, Eriksen (van de Beek), Sancho (Elanga 59), Rashford, Ronaldo.
Subs not used: Heaton, Wan-Bissaka, Garner, Garnacho