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Match Previews

Match Preview: Manchester United vs Brentford

All the build-up to tonight's trip to Old Trafford

2 May 2022

We've got a Monday night in Manchester to look forward to tonight as we head to Old Trafford. Anything less than a win for the hosts would end their faint top four hopes while a first league win for us over United since 1937 would send us into the Premier League's top-half. Below you'll find all the build-up to the big game. 

THE OPPOSITION

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It's going to be all-change once again this summer at Manchester United with Eric ten Hag the latest manager brought in as United look to end their barren run in the post-Alex Ferguson years. 

The current Ajax boss will be the eighth man to take charge at Old Trafford since Ferguson's retirement in 2013. In those nine years, United have added just an FA Cup, EFL Cup, and Europa League to their trophy cabinet and look set to miss out on Champions League football again next term, heading into tonight's game eight points off fourth with just three to play. 

Since their win in TW8 back in mid-January, United, under interim-boss Ralf Rangnick, have just five victories to their name in all competitions, going out of the FA Cup and Champions League, and slipping away from the top four, in the process. 

At the age of 37, Cristiano Ronaldo continues to be United's talisman with 23 goals this term, 14 more than anyone else in the Red Devils' squad. The Portuguese attacker has scored eight of United's last nine Premier League goals, stretching back to their derby defeat to Manchester City in early March. 

United have scored the fourth-most Premier League goals from open play this season (41) and third-most from counter-attacks (four), but are third-from-bottom when it comes to goals from set-pieces (six). On the flip side, they've got the fourth-best record when it comes to conceding set-piece goals (six) but the fifth-worst record for open play goals conceded (37).

THE GAMEPLAN

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When asked for Hot Off The Press about United's set-up, journalist Tom McDermott, said: "[Ralf Rangnick] likes a 4-2-2-2 but there’s been signs in recent weeks that he’s tried to introduce more width. United lack tempo in the final third and if you can keep Ronaldo (above) quiet, you’ve got a chance"

TEAM NEWS

Kristoffer Ajer (concussion) and Christian Nørgaard (shin) could return but Thomas Frank has ruled out Zanka (adductor) for the rest of the season while Ethan Pinnock, Sergi Canos (both hamstring), Saman Ghoddos, and Frank Onyeka (both ankle) will also miss out this evening. 

The situation is equally complicated for Manchester United. Jadon Sancho (tonsillitis) is likely to miss the rest of the season but Edinson Cavani should be fit enough to play some part. Paul Pogba (calf) won't play again before his contract ends in the summer while there are concerns over Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Fred, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

MATCH STATS

  • Brentford are unbeaten in their last 12 league matches played on a Monday (W5 D7), with these coming between April 2014 (2-2 v MK Dons in League One) and October 2019 (3-1 at QPR in the Championship). Manchester United have won just one of their last seven PL matches on this day (D4 L2).
  • Man Utd’s Cristiano Ronaldo has been involved in 24 goals in his last 18 Premier League matches against promoted sides (18 goals, six assists), netting a hat-trick in a 3-2 win against Norwich City in his last such outing. He has failed to either score or assist a goal in just two of those 18 matches, with one of those being in the reverse fixture against Brentford.
  • After keeping a clean sheet in two of their first three Premier League away matches, Brentford have conceded in each of their last 14 on the road. No side is on a longer run without an away clean sheet in the competition than the Bees.
  • Ivan Toney’s goals have been worth nine points to Brentford in the Premier League this season – coming into this weekend’s matches, only Ronaldo’s strikes have been more valuable to his side.

THE MANAGER

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Ralf Rangnick is regarded as the "godfather" of modern German football and is credited with developing Gegenpressing.

After an uneventful career as a player, Rangnick began his coaching career in 1983, aged 25. Following a decade-and-a-half in youth and lower league football, Ragnick was hired by former club Ulm 1846 in 1997. He won the Regionalliga Süd in his debut season, the first of seven titles he would win with four different clubs. 

At VfB Stuttgart he won the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2000 and followed that up with the 2. Bundesliga title at Hannover 96 in 2001/02. He took 1899 Hoffenheim from the Regionalliga Süd to the top flight with back-to-back promotions in 2006/07 and 2007/08. He departed the club in 2011 and returned to Schalke 04, where he won the 2011 DFB-Pokal and reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. He later served as head coach at RB Leipzig across two periods between 2015 and 2019. The first spell ended with promotion to the top flight and the second saw a trip to the DFB-Pokal final. 

In 2019, Rangnick was promoted to head of sport and development for Red Bull GmbH, overseeing global football initiatives, including New York Red Bulls. In July 2021, he signed a three-year contract as manager of sports and development for Russian Premier League club Lokomotiv Moscow, a post he left last November to take over at Old Trafford. 

With his United contract up in the summer, Rangnick is set to fulfil a two-year consultancy contract with The Red Devils while also serving as Austria National Team coach.

THOMAS THOUGHTS

LAST TIME OUT

THE OFFICIALS

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Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Assistant Referees: Simon Bennett and Harry Lennard

Fourth Official: David Coote

VAR: Paul Tierney

Additional VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis

Manchester United 2021/22

361 fouls – 4th in Premier League

68 yellow cards – 6th in Premier League

2 red cards – 4th in Premier League

MATCHDAY INFO

In recent fixtures at Old Trafford, away fans have experienced congestion and delays around the turnstiles. To avoid this, please arrive and enter the stadium as early as possible

Plan your Journey

Fans are also reminded that they should sit in their allocated seats and anyone not doing so will be asked to move.

HOW TO FOLLOW

Tonight's game is live on Sky Sports and around the world via the Premier League's broadcast partners. Click here to see if it is on where you are

Ben Burgess will also be joining Mark Burridge for live commentary on BeesPlayer.

Wherever you are around the globe, you can always keep across the action on our Twitter and Instagram feeds.


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