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Friday, April 19, 2024

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Wan-Bissaka, Casemiro, Mainoo, Garnacho & Hojlund to start against Brentford? Fernandes to inspire the players?

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Manchester United return to Premier League action on Saturday evening with a trip to the Gtech Community Stadium where they will face Brentford. United have a good record away to Brentford in the Premier League, winning both matches since they were promoted.

Erik ten Hag will be under pressure to get the best from this United squad with the rumours that have dominated the media durning the international break with rumours of a new manager being lined up to replace him. But that seems to be hear say, which is normal with the media.

Brentford have not had a great season in the Premier League and sit in 15th place heading into this weekends matches with 26 points – five clear of the relegation zone. United sit in sixth place with 47 points – nine behind fourth place with a game in hand over Villa.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1


Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Dalot;

Casemiro, Mainoo;

Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford;


Goalkeeper: Onana

Andre Onana has had a different season in his first season at United. He has conceded 60 goals in all competitions – 39 in the Premier League, 15 in the UEFA Champions League, and three in each of the Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup. Improvement is needed in that respect.

That said, United’s defence has suffered a massive injury crisis this season and there has been more than 20 combinations of players across the back four with the better players not really having a lot of time playing together. Once that has been resolved, his goals conceded might improve.

Onana does not really have much competition United. Altay Bayindir has made one appearance this season and currently he is on the sidelines through injury – which may change ahead of this match. Onana is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League this season though!

Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Dalot

United’s back four will start to get stronger as the season gets closer to its conclusion. Lisandro Martinez returned to training ahead of the international break, at least with Argentina so will have been back in training at United during the latter stages of the week.

Whilst this match may come too soon for him, United do have options. Raphael Varane will start in the centre of the defence and could partner Harry Maguire, if he passes a fitness test. If he doesn’t, he could partner Victor Lindelof or even Jonny Evans if both are fully fit.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka should be fit to start at right-back which would see Diogo Dalot move over to the left-back position with both Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia both on the injury list – probably for the remainder of the season – if not longer. United need to bring in some new defenders in the summer.

Midfield: Casemiro, Mainoo

United’s midfield has been a revelation this season. The meteoric rise of Kobbie Mainoo has been great for the club. At last a youth player has stepped up in this area and started to reach their potential. It has been a long time coming. His England debut will no doubt boost him more.

Mainoo will need a midfield partner against Brentford, who will be seeking to pick out the players in these positions to control the area – so his partner will need to be both strong and experienced. Casemiro could be that player but he has recently been injured and is a doubt ahead of this match.

Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay or Mason Mount could all step in – so United do have some good options. That said, I have a feeling that Casemiro will be fit enough to start – but whether he makes 90 minutes would remain to be seen. United also need to strengthen the midfield this summer.

Attacking Midfield: Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford

United’s attacking players have been indifferent this season. Alejandro Garnacho has seven goals and four assists. Bruno Fernandes has eight goals and nine assists and Marcus Rashford has eight goals and six assists. Garnacho is the standout player here and that is telling.

Fernandes will be happy with what he has achieved this season but that will need to start improving as he has not been doing the numbers that he had been doing in the past for the club. The same can be said for Rashford who was the clubs top scorer last season – no where near that level now.

Ten Hag has options in these positions for the remainder of the season but in the summer the club will need to get rid of the under performers and bring in a better class of players. The likes of Antony, Mason Mount, Scott McTominay, Omari Forson and Amad (suspended for this match) will be key.

Forward: Hojlund

Rasmus Hojlund has had a great debut season at United. At the start there were some problems and he was only scoring in the UEFA Champions League. But that started to change and slowly he became United’s top scorer so far this season. He has 13 goals and two assists.

The Danish international has the ability to lead the line for United but it is not something that he can do on his own. He has no competition at the club this season with Anthony Martial both injured and incapable of achieving anything, which is a worrying sign. Hopefully he’s gone in the summer.

Ten Hag will need to make do with what he has at this time and there could well be players with the ability to help the striker achieve things. Amad Diallo could be that player, although he will be suspended for this match against Brentford. But could play a part until the end of the season.

Substitutes: Bayindir; Lindelof, Kambwala; Amrabat, Mount, Eriksen, McTominay, Collyer; Antony

United will have nine players on the bench in the Premier League against Brentford. It seems likely that Altay Bayindir, if fit will be back in the squad on the bench. If not, Tome Heaton could be the substitute goalkeeper – he’s not made an appearance so far this season.

In defence, with many players still injured could see Ten Hag with just Victor Lindelof and Willy Kambwala in this area with no substitute fullbacks for the time being. United will need to considerably strengthen the defence in the summer or face these problems again.

In the midfield, Sofyan Amrabat, Mason Mount, Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay and Toby Collyer could all be on the bench for United. In attack Antony could be the only addition on the bench but the likes of Mount, Eriksen and McTominay could be attackers too.

Written by Paul

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