After suffering against opposition who had been deemed tricky when they lost 2-1 to Brighton on the opening day, Manchester United face another match that could be described in the same terms when they visit Brentford in their second Premier League match of the season.
Second-half goals from Ivan Toney and Josh Dasilva gave the Bees a creditable comeback at Leicester in their opener, starting their second season in the top flight with a 2-2 draw that suggested they can still prosper without Christian Eriksen.
Inspirational upon signing for Brentford in January, Eriksen joined United after his short-term contract at the Gtech Community Stadium ended and endured a forgettable day on his competitive debut for his new club toiling as a makeshift centre-forward.
Ten Hag will have a big decision to make on if he will start Cristiano Ronaldo as well as how his midfield setup will look. Former Brentford man Christian Eriksen looked lost playing as a center forward in Week 1 but Manchester United doesn’t have an appropriate defensive midfielder to drop him into a midfield three from the start of the game which is one of the reasons they’re pursuing Adrien Rabiot of Juventus.
Rabiot wouldn’t be a traditional midfielder but it does offer a different look to Fred and Scott McTominay that could at least give ten Hag different options if needed.
How to watch and odds
Date: Saturday, Aug 13 | Time: 12:30 p.m.
Location: Gtech Community Stadium — Brentford, Middlesex
TV: NBC | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Odds: Brentford +280; Draw +240; Manchester United +102 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Manchester United: Anthony Martial will still be absent with a pesky thigh injury which opens the door for either Cristiano Ronaldo or Anthony Elanga to deputize as the center forward. Ten Hag could play Eriksen there again, but against a pesky Brentford side, Manchester United would be better served playing him deeper. If Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot struggle in what should be an open match, their starting places could be up as well which will be something to watch.
Manchester United will seek to cut this bad streak that already comes from last season, where there were much more problems between the players and reproaches from the fans, especially towards Harry Maguire. Brentford got off to a slightly better start, drawing 2-2 at Leicester City. Of course, after being saved last year, the “Bees” are looking for more ambitious goals this year.