30 min: Another long throw for Brentford, with Sorensen drying off the ball with a towel, a la Delap. Telles with an excellent clearing header to ward off the danger for United.
28 min: Frustrated by a lack of service, Ronaldo drops into defensive midfield.
26 min: Manchester United have started to get a strangehold on this game. Lots of possession in Brentford’s half without any meaningful penetration until Dalot takes a pop from range. It’s a decent effort, which initially looks as though it might fly into the top bin, before curling wide of the near post. Lossl was scrambling though!
24 min: A delay in play, understandably, but both players are back on their feet, I’m happy to tell you. Play restarts.
22 min: A horrible clash of heads here. Jansson butted the back of Fred quite hard there, and both players are down.
20 min: Elanga looks Manchester United’s biggest threat off the left. Brentford have a reasonably slow back line, and there is space in behind if United’s midfield can pick the right pass. A nice run from Fred opens things up, but his pass to Elanga is underhit.
16 min: Cristiano Ronaldo goes down heavily on the left wing, clutching his ankle. Free kick. The home fans do not hold back in their opinion on that one. Ronaldo looks miles off it.
13 min: Four golden chances for Brentford! Mbeumo streams forward after a mix-up for United in midfield, Varane makes a brilliant tackle, but the ball breaks to Jensen, who is clean through on goal … brilliant save by De Gea, low with his left foot. A few seconds later, Janelt has a shot well blocked by Lindelof, and from the resulting corner, Sorensen has a close range effort blocked by Telles. The Portuguese knew nothing about it! Again, from the resulting set piece, Norgaard is the next to be denied, blazing his effort over the bar! United living dangerously, they should really be behind here.
9 min: First chance for United. Elanga times a superb run from the left, and heads a lofted pass back across goal. Lossl flaps at it, unconvincingly, after tangling with his own defender, Jansson, but Brentford clear the dangerous rebound.
8 min: “You only live round the corner, live round the cooooorner” tease the Brentford fans to their counterparts in the away end.
6 min: Bruno Fernandes finds his first pocket of space and plays a great slide-rule pass behind the Brentford defence. Ronaldo is playing on the shoulder, but isn’t quick enough to latch onto the pass, and Jansson beats him to the ball. A few years ago, he would have been one on one with the goalkeeper.
4 min: I don’t think Manchester United have been in Brentford’s half yet. Janelt, Norgaard and Jensen are winning everything in midfield for Brentford.
2 min: A long throw is hurled into the Manchester United box, Mbeumo boshes Dalot out of the way as the ball breaks to him on the left wing, and Jensen gets an early shot away from the edge of the box, which bounces harmlessly wide. But it’s enough to get the crowd going. A good start for the hosts.
Peeeeeeep! And we’re off. This is the first league meeting between these two since 1947.
The players take the knee. There is no room for racism or discrimination in our society.
The teams are out. Brentford in their famous red and white, which means Manchester United are sporting a their changed strip of blue shirt and yellow shorts and socks.
An excellent email from Ulf Christiansson:
“Back in 2010 Pontus Jansson played together with Antony Elangas father, Joseph Elangas in Malmö FF.”
The former Cameroon defender is exactly the sort of pundit BT Sport should have been looking at.
There’s another Premier League game going on tonight, by the way. It’s Leicester v Tottenham, and it’s currently 1-0 to the Foxes after 25 minutes, with Patson Daka scoring in the last couple of minutes.
Thomas Frank speaks!
Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I expect our fans to be absolutely on it, under the lights. We’ll do everything we can to do create another magic moment in our history. They can hurt us in one moment.
On the change of keeper:
Álvaro [Fernández] did really well for us, winning points for us against Everton and Aston Villa but we have missed a bit of consistency in his performances. Jonas [Lossl] brings Premier League experience.
Experience for Huddersfield, who finished rock bottom in 2018-19 with 16 points from 38 games, but experience nonetheless.
BT Sport really struggling for a Brentford pundit tonight. Steve Sidwell, who went on loan to Griffin Park in 2001-02 from Arsenal, sits alongside Rio Ferdinand in the studio tonight.
Some association football players of note, to pick out from those two lineups.
Canos starts, after being left on the bench for Saturday’s defeat at Anfield. Mads Bech Sorensen and Mathias Jensen are also brought in, as is Jonas Lössl, who has been brought in on loan this month by Thomas Frank. Another Dane! How exciting could it be to see Christian Eriksen in this side, by the way?
For Manchester United: Ronaldo starts! Interesting, too, to see Anthony Martial on the bench after the headlines this week. Elanga obviously did enough in his start at Aston Villa to convince Rangnick of another chance tonight. Still seems to be a 4-2-2-2, for the visitors.
Manchester United: De Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Alex Telles, McTominay, Fred, Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Elanga, Ronaldo. Subs: Jones, Maguire, Mata, Martial, Rashford, Heaton, Henderson, Matic, van de Beek.
If Paul Pogba was fit and on song – and he’s not – a tricky trip to Brentford is exactly the sort of match when one could imagine a mercurial Manchester United talent earning his corn. ‘Pogba silences his critics’ reads a headline on Tuesday. Gifs of him turning Christian Nørgaard into knots and popping an outrageous ball over Rico Henry for Cristiano Ronaldo start going viral on Reddit.Pogba shushing the home (or away end). Sign a new contract and Paul Pogba is the sort of generational talent Ralf Rangnick’s successor, whoever that might be, should build his team around, a pundit might say. He won a World Cup, you know. Yes I know it was alongside N’Golo Kanté, but he just need somebody that gets him, yeah? Three-nil later and suddenly Manchester United are two points behind West Ham in fourth, with a game in hand. That would be nice, wouldn’t it, Manchester United fans?
As it is, that isn’t going to happen. Well, the last bit about being two points off a Champions League place might, but the rest? Not tonight, at least. Pogba is still injured, or recovering from injury and probably leaving the club at the end of this contract in the summer, just as he did a decade ago. Rangnick has started making hopeful noises about Pogba performing only because he wants to leave. For somebody on a short-term contract himself, that could suit him just fine.
The reality is that, with or without Pogba, Manchester United could very easily lose to Brentford tonight, a team that has spent the last week getting tonked by both Liverpool and Southampton. If you’re not a Manchester United fan, or somebody with an accumulator or fantasy football account, that’s almost certainly why you are here, reading this MBM. Checking in, to see if they do. Let’s see.