Brentford 1-3 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened!

The Guardian
The Guardian

10.39pm GMT

That’s me done for the evening . Thanks for tuning in, and for your emails and tweets. In a bit.

Related: Anthony Elanga puts Manchester United on path to win at Brentford

10.38pm GMT

Manchester United’s women were also in action tonight, and they beat WSL leaders Arsenal to reach the League Cup semi-finals!

Related: Manchester United’s Alessia Russo ends Arsenal hopes in Women’s League Cup

10.37pm GMT

A sad state of affairs when, in January, we can only get excited about the top-four race and the relegation battle. This is the league table after the two Premier League results tonight.

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Man City 22 41 56
2 Liverpool 21 37 45
3 Chelsea 23 28 44
4 West Ham 22 11 37
5 Tottenham Hotspur 19 4 36
6 Arsenal 20 8 35
7 Man Utd 21 5 35
8 Wolverhampton 20 2 31
9 Brighton 21 0 29
10 Leicester 19 -3 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford 22 -11 23
15 Leeds 20 -15 22
16 Everton 19 -10 19
17 Watford 19 -14 14
18 Norwich 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle 20 -23 12
20 Burnley 17 -11 11

10.34pm GMT

Nick Ames' match report

A Frank take from Brentford’s manager. Here is Nick Ames’ from west London.

Related: Anthony Elanga puts Manchester United on path to win at Brentford

10.28pm GMT

An emotional Thomas Frank gives a brilliant interview

We’re the smallest club in the Premier League, I think Manchester United are the biggest. I am unbelievably proud of my team. We destroyed them in the first half. They didn’t have a sniff. We should have been two goals up. They were unbelievably lucky. The most they deserved out of the game was a draw. I know you can say that you need to take your chances, and all that crap, but we smashed them.

He is a compelling manager. It’s hard not to love him.

Updated at 10.31pm GMT

10.21pm GMT

Rangnick speaks!

We had to change a few things. The first half we were not good in almost all situations. We gave away almost every second ball. In the second half, we were more urgent. Elanga followed up on the performance at Villa Park: a lot of work against the ball and gets the first goal.

There is also a strange moment in the interview. Rangnick makes a couple of gaffes. He refers to Sweden’s Elanga as an English goalscorer. He also appears to forget either who Bruno Fernandes is, or that is was Bruno Fernandes who set up the final two goals. An awkward pause ensues. Rangnick asks BT Sport’s Des Kelly if he can do the question again, before Kelly explains that the interview is live. Rangnick turns a Manchester United shade of scarlet. He eventually remembers Bruno.

10.05pm GMT

It was a good game! But not quite as good as this.

Related: Bergwijn injury-time double shatters Leicester to snatch stunning Spurs win

10.04pm GMT

Anthony Elanga , who scored United’s first goal of the evening and his first Premier League goal, speaks to the cameras.

The touch sets it up. I work for these moments. I appreciate the boss so much. You can see in training, how much we’re running. We needed this win. It’s a big step forward.

I would say that United were completely outrun and outplayed in the first half. But the teenager took his goal wonderfully, an instinctive finish. He had a mixed evening but the goal – and a run from the left wing where he ghosted past Roerslev as though he wasn’t there – were evidence of the Swede’s immense talent.

Updated at 10.04pm GMT

9.58pm GMT

Just as they did at Liverpool on Saturday , Brentford simply ran out of steam.

9.55pm GMT

Full-time: Brentford 1-3 Manchester United

United were battered in the first half and ruthless in the second. A funny game, this.

9.53pm GMT

90+2 min: Brentford throw men forward and United hit them on the counter attack. Fred has the freedom of west London to pick his pass to Fernandes, but the Portuguese tries to dink his finish. Lossl simply stands up and catches the ball in his midriff.

9.51pm GMT

90 min: Four minutes added on here. United look comfortable, to their credit. Managing this game well.

9.50pm GMT

89 min: Brentford relying on set-pieces, Pinnock only manages a tame header from a corner, and a minute later, Matic is there to clear a dangerous free kick on the edge.

9.48pm GMT

87 min: Should mention that just before the goal, McTominay went down in pain, and had to be replaced by Matic. I daresay at 6ft4in, the Scot would have been useful in defending that long throw. Alas.

9.46pm GMT

Turns out bringing Harry Maguire had absolutely no effect on United’s ability to defend those long Brentford throws. Sorensen hurls one into the near post, the ball pinballs around the six-yard box and Toney is there to toe-poke a finish home! Just the inkling of a chance here for Brentford to get back into this game. 3-1!
Brentford’s Ivan Toney fires home to pull a goal back. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 9.49pm GMT

9.45pm GMT

GOAL! Brentford 1-3 Manchester United (Toney 85)

Game on?

9.44pm GMT

82 min: There’s something about Martin Keown’s co-commentary that reminds me of Dave Dodds.

9.43pm GMT

79 min: The camera pans to Rangnick, who is having a quiet word with the previously disgruntled Ronaldo, on the United bench. Words to the effect of ‘back in your box, son’ are relayed to the Portuguese.

9.41pm GMT

3-0! McTominay bursts forward through a pile of bodies in midfield, and suddenly Brentford – with their wing backs high – are exposed. Fernandes draws Jansson out and feeds Rashford to his right with a nice pass, and the England star strides onto the ball with confidence, passing the ball into the top corner at the near post. Brilliant finish. Eeesh. 3-0!
Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford fires hom the visitors’ third goal. Photograph: Ian Walton/Reuters

Updated at 9.47pm GMT

9.39pm GMT

GOAL! Brentford 0-3 Manchester United (Rashford 77)

What a finish from the substitute. Game over.

9.39pm GMT

75 min: Another chance for Brentford! This time it’s Roerslev at the back post, who finds enough space to take a touch, but completely spoons his finish over the bar. He scored a similar chance against Aston Villa earlier this month, but got that one all wrong!

9.37pm GMT

74 min: Chance for Toney, the first sniff he’s had all evening! Baptiste gets to the byline on the left and cuts the ball back to Toney but a wonderful block from Varane sees off the danger. Great defending.

9.35pm GMT

72 min: Looks like United have moved to a back three: Varane-Maguire-Lindelof flanked by Telles and Dalot. Entirely sensible substitutions to protect this 2-0 lead, especially with Brentford’s long throws and crosses towards Toney, but Ronaldo is still gesticulating with somebody on the sidelines. “Why me?” he mouths, with a face of thunder. It’s all about him.
Harumph. Photograph: Ian Walton/Reuters

Updated at 10.00pm GMT

9.32pm GMT

70 min: More changes, from both sides. Brentford make their final sub of the evening: Wissa for Jensen. Manchester United swap Mason Greenwood and Cristiano Ronaldo for Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire. Ronaldo does not look best pleased.

9.31pm GMT

67 min: A minute’s applause for Peter Hayward, a lifelong Brentford fan who has died at the age of 67. Hayward was beloved in this corner of London, not least for walking to Hartlepool in 2004 to raise money for the supporters’ trust, when the club were struggling for survival back then. RIP.

9.27pm GMT

66 min: Brentford make a double change as they attempt to salvage something from the game. Henry and Baptiste on for Canos and Janelt. There’s still time in this game. United blew a 2-0 lead at Villa Park on Saturday, remember.

9.24pm GMT

2-0! Oh, how Brentford will rue those missed chances from the first half. Manchester United make no such mistake here. Ronaldo, so quiet tonight, is the architect: a wonderful lay-off with his chest releasing Fernandes, who goes clean through on goal. Fernandes has time to consider his options but rather than shoot, lays the ball square to Greenwood, who runs from deep to tap the ball into an empty net. 2-0!
Mason Greenwood of Manchester United scores their second goal. Photograph: Matthew Peters/Manchester United/Getty Images
Greenwood celebrates with fellow goalscorer Anthony Elanga after doubling the visitors’ lead. Photograph: John Patrick Fletcher/Action Plus/Shutterstock

Updated at 10.06pm GMT

9.22pm GMT

GOAL! Brentford 0-2 Manchester United (Greenwood 62)

Ruthless from Manchester United.

9.21pm GMT

59 min: Should mention that Jensen, complete with Beckham-esque curtains, did try to shoot from the half-way line just before the goal. De Gea got back comfortably.

9.19pm GMT

57 min: More United pressure, as McTominay tries his luck from range. It’s on target, the ball bouncing greasily off the surface and Lossl does well to shovel the ball behind for a corner.

9.18pm GMT

1-0! Fred, who has been Manchester United’s best player since the arrival of Rangnick, picks a beautiful pass over Brentford’s defence. Elanga, just as he did in the first half, times his run wonderfully, and this time the pass is right. Elanga controls a difficult bouncing ball and heads the ball past Lossl into the corner with his second touch! A brilliant finish! 1-0!
Manchester United’s Anthony Elanga heads home past Brentford’s keeper Jonas Lossl to give the visitors the lead. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA
Here’s a view of the header from the other side of the pitch. Photograph: Dave Shopland/Shutterstock
Elanga celebrates his goal. Photograph: Ian Walton/Reuters

Updated at 10.04pm GMT

9.15pm GMT

GOAL! Brentford 0-1 Manchester United (Elanga 55)

Out of nothing, Manchester United lead!

9.14pm GMT

53 min: An email from Thomas Jaggers: “Agreed that De Gea does not make the list of most important Man Utd players ever, but I would give him the accolade of second-best goalie ever - at least as far as my memory goes (which is as far back as Gary Bailey). It’s unfortunate for De Gea that for the majority of his time there he has played in a period when the rest of the squad has not been up to his standard/the club has been run and managed so poorly.”

9.14pm GMT

50 min: Better from United, they’ve looked a different side since half-time.

9.09pm GMT

48 min: Brentford hit United on the break! It’s two on one at the back, Mbeumo feeding the onrushing Jensen. But Varane shows great pace to close the angle and force the Dane into an early shot, which is straight at De Gea.

9.07pm GMT

47 min: Strong start by United, and Ronaldo sends a header looping onto the top of the bar. Lossl completely deceived by Fernandes’ flight. That’s the closest that United have come. They look a little more animated.

9.06pm GMT

Peeeeeep! Here we go again. Brentford covered four and a half kilometres more than Manchester United in that first half. The way that Brentford track back is a thing of beauty. It is not unusual to see Mbeumo getting a toe in, filling in at wing back.

8.52pm GMT

Half-time reading:

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8.50pm GMT

In tonight’s other Premier League game , it’s Leicester 1-1 Tottenham, with Harry Kane equalising for the visitors.

8.49pm GMT

Half-time: Brentford 0-0 Manchester United

All square in west London, thanks to De Gea.

8.48pm GMT

45 min: A slow end to this half, as Brentford give Rangnick a lesson in gegenpressing. Two minutes added on here.

8.44pm GMT

42 min: United have been poor. The only two players to emerge from this half are Fred, who has been very tidy, and De Gea, who has been United’s saviour on numerous occasions.

On De Gea, Erik Liekoski emails.

“He’s arguably their best player of the last 15 years and quite possibly one of the most important players to ever play for the club. He’s fairly singlehandedly, kept them from sliding into permanent Europa League territory.”

Ever? Best. Charlton. Law. De Gea. Hmmm.

Updated at 8.46pm GMT

8.43pm GMT

40 min: Telles is down after an awkward fall. Looks like he’s done some damage to the small of his back. Rangnick will want him to get up, there’s no Luke Shaw on the bench. The only defensive options are Maguire and Jones. Unless, Rangnick – a maverick – fancies Juan Mata at left back.

8.40pm GMT

38 min: “United haven’t scored from a corner all year but they never mix it up - why aren’t they trying something different and going short? Taking them quicker? Lining everyone up spread across the pitch 30 yards from goal and rushing the box at once? Try something else!!” emails Michael Moore (not that one).

Lads, it’s time for Phil Jones.

8.38pm GMT

36 min: “Good thing United sacked Ole, once they do that they will be so much better. That idea has aged well hasn’t it,” emails Mary Waltz. “From an Everton fan using other people’s misery to avoid my far worse situation.”

I wouldn’t describe Manchester United’s situation as miserable. They’ve only lost once since Rangnick joined. But it’s not awe-inspiring stuff.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United attempts to get into the Brentford box. Photograph: Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images

Updated at 8.55pm GMT

8.38pm GMT

34 min: De Gea slightly less convincing under the high ball, as Jansson challenges for an aerial dual, but United survive again. Toney has another effort saved by the Spaniard, but the Brentford striker is ruled offside.

8.35pm GMT

32 min: Manchester United get a corner. They’ve had 107 of them this season and not scored once. Nope, not here either. Instead, Brentford break! Mbeumo receives the ball down the right, the ball is switched to Toney on the right, who plays a brilliant first-time pass to Jensen. Brentford are in again here … saved again by De Gea! Again low with his left foot! The rebound breaks to Toney, and his cross is deflected onto the stanchion! De Gea the hero again. Brentford should be ahead.

8.31pm GMT

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.

8.30pm GMT

28 min: Frustrated by a lack of service, Ronaldo drops into defensive midfield.

8.29pm GMT

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!

8.24pm GMT

24 min: A delay in play, understandably, but both players are back on their feet, I’m happy to tell you. Play restarts.

8.23pm GMT

22 min: A horrible clash of heads here. Jansson butted the back of Fred quite hard there, and both players are down.
Ouch! Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Updated at 9.18pm GMT

8.22pm GMT

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.

8.20pm GMT

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.

8.19pm GMT

15 min: David de Gea. A very good goalkeeper.

8.19pm GMT

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.
Manchester United’s David de Gea saves from Brentford’s Mathias Jensen (right). Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters
Brentford’s Vitaly Janelt reacts after missing a chance to score. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 8.29pm GMT

8.11pm GMT

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.

8.08pm GMT

8 min: “You only live round the corner, live round the cooooorner” tease the Brentford fans to their counterparts in the away end.

8.07pm GMT

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.

8.05pm GMT

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.

8.03pm GMT

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.

8.01pm GMT

Peeeeeeep! And we’re off. This is the first league meeting between these two since 1947.

8.01pm GMT

The players take the knee . There is no room for racism or discrimination in our society.

8.01pm GMT

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.
Raphael Varane, Anthony Elanga, Victor Lindeloef and Scott McTominay of Manchester United take to the field. Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Updated at 8.08pm GMT

7.58pm GMT

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.

7.55pm GMT

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.
Leicester City’s Patson Daka sticks the ball home from close range to open the scoring at King Power Stadium. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 8.10pm GMT

7.52pm GMT

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.

7.42pm GMT

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.

7.26pm GMT

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?

Related: Brentford offer Christian Eriksen Premier League return

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.

Related: Anthony Martial denies refusing to be included in Manchester United squad
Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo offers Anthony Elanga (left) some pearls of wisdom during the warm up. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

Updated at 8.06pm GMT

7.07pm GMT

The teams

Brentford: Lossl, Sorensen, Jansson, Pinnock, Roerslev, Janelt, Norgaard, Jensen, Canos, Mbeumo, Toney.
Subs: Henry, Forss, Wissa, Ghoddos, Ajer, Baptiste, Bidstrup, Stevens, Fernandez.

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.
This young fan will be relieved to see Christian Norgaard is in Brentford’s starting XI. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Updated at 7.42pm GMT

7.03pm GMT


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.

Related: Ralf Rangnick says Paul Pogba may be motivated by impressing his suitors

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.

Kick-off: 8pm BST.

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