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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Brentford 1 – 1 Man Utd

Manchester United were denied an undeserved victory at Brentford as Kristoffer Ajer’s 99th-minute equaliser salvaged a 1-1 draw in a thrilling finale.

Mason Mount thought he had won it for United in the 96th minute with his first goal for the club against the run of play but Brentford finally scored three minutes later with their 31st shot of the game through Ajer. United were woeful until the final moments.

Brentford will wonder how they did not take any of their myriad of chances before United scored. They struck the frame of the goal four times and were denied by a fine Andre Onana double save. That was just the tip of the iceberg.

The damning Man Utd stats

  • Brentford (85) became just the third side on record (since 2008-09) to have 80+ touches in the oppositions box in a Premier League game after Man City vs Southampton in November 2019 and Man City vs Norwich in July 2020 (87 in both matches).
  • Brentford had 31 shots in this game (scoring with their 31st and final attempt), their highest total in a Premier League match, while on record (since 2003-04) there are only three instances of Man Utd facing more shots in a single Premier League match.
  • Brentford hit the woodwork four times this evening with only Brighton (5) vs Man Utd in September 2020 doing so more in a Premier League game on record (since 2003-04).
  • Man Utd have faced 20+ shots in six of their last seven Premier League games. In fact, they have faced 20+ shots in 11 different top-flight matches this term, with only Sheffield United (12) doing so more often.

Wins for Aston Villa and Tottenham mean United are eight points adrift of fifth after being played off the park by a side just five points above the relegation zone and without a win in their last seven. Brentford somehow, after 31 shots, did not win.

Player ratings

Flekken (7), Roerslev (7), Zanka (7), Ajer (8), Collins (7), Lewis-Potter (7), Jensen (7),Janelt (8), Yarmoliuk (7), Wissa (7), Toney (8).

Subs: Ghoddos (6), Maupay (5), Damgaard (6), Mbuemo (6).

Man Utd:
Onana (8), Wan-Bissaka (5), Lindelof (5), Varane (5), Dalot (5), Mainoo (5), McTominay (5), Fernandes (5), Garnacho (5), Hojlund (5), Rashford (4).

Subs: Mount (6), Maguire (5), Casemiro (5), Antony (5), Martinez (5).

Player of the match: Kristoffer Ajer.

Drama! Watch the two stoppage-time goals

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Mason Mount scores his first goal for Manchester United against Brentford in the 96th minute.

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Kristoffer Ajer equalises for Brentford in the final minutes of the game against Manchester United.

How Man Utd nicked a point at Brentford

Ivan Toney rues a missed chance for Brentford against Man Utd
Ivan Toney rues a missed chance for Brentford against Man Utd

On United’s last visit to Brentford they were 4-0 down at half-time and could have easily found themselves in a similar scenario this time around. The fight that earned them a seismic win over Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-finals was nowhere to be seen.

Kobbie Mainoo produced two sublime moments early on but even he was chasing Brentford as they dominated the opening period. Ivan Toney saw an effort rebound off the inside of a post after Yoane Wissa nutmegged Raphael Varane with his through ball.

Team news

  • Man Utd named an unchanged side as Kobbie Mainoo recovered from illness to start.
  • Brentford made two changes, bringing Keane Lewis-Potter and Yehor Yarmoliuk into the line-up.

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Ivan Toney comes within inches of putting Brentford ahead as he hits the post against Manchester United.

The whole stadium thought he had scored but were left frustrated – an emotion that would persist for Brentford. Mathias Jorgensen headed onto the bar from a corner with Man Utd suspect at set pieces. Toney and Wissa also missed chances with their heads.

Man Utd had to cling on for most of the second part of the half and were indebted to the last-ditch defending of Victor Lindelof, with Onana also saving a header from Keane-Lewis Potter. Sloppy passing in the final third left United looking blunt.

“They have been so bad [in the first half],” said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp. “I cannot believe the lack of effort, spark, desire to win individual battles, to make things happen in that team. I’m watching Marcus Rashford walking around like it’s a bit of fun out there.”

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Jamie Redknapp and Dion Dublin slammed Manchester United’s perceived lack of effort after a poor first-half performance against Brentford in the Premier League.

For all of Brentford’s pressure, they only had one shot on target at the break. Ten Hag turned to Harry Maguire at half-time, bringing him on for Varane. The change did little to stem the tide of Brentford attacks.

A rare moment of magic from Bruno Fernandes unlocked Brentford against the run of play as he slipped Rasmus Hojlund through on goal. The striker looked certain to score but was kept out by Brentford goalkeeper Mark Flekken at full stretch.

The longer the game went on it felt inevitable that United would have a moment, but it was not forthcoming. Onana produced two stops in quick succession to keep out Yehor Yarmoliuk and Lewis-Potter with Brentford banging on the door.

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Brentford test Manchester United in the second half as Onana is forced to make double save.

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Yoane Wissa volley veers wide as Brentford fail to find target against Manchester United.

Wissa grazed the post with a powerful volley after Lindelof’s poor clearance before Toney fired over after a moment of brilliance. It was his shot that ensured United have faced 20 shots in a league game for the 11th time this season.

Substitute Antony came close with a curling effort, creating a sense of anxiety for the hosts. That was quickly dispelled when Toney put the ball in the back of the net a minute later. VAR came to United’s rescue, though, with the striker marginally offside.

Brentford’s luck seemed to be out when they hit the frame of the goal for a fourth time through substitute Bryan Mbuemo. Errors from Onana and the returning Lisandro Martinez went unpunished and the game seemed destined to end goalless.

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For the fourth time, Brentford hit the frame of the goal as Bryan Mbeumo finds the cross bar

Nine minutes were added on although that was extended due to a bang of heads between Diogo Dalot and Neal Muapay which set up this frantic finale.

United, finally, deep in stoppage-time found some rhythm and scored what everyone thought was the winner in the 96th minute with Mount picking up a loose ball before burying it past Flekken. It felt like a goal that could launch his United career.

But Brentford, having failed to score with their previous 30 shots, finally found the back of the net through Ajer three minutes later to ensure justice was served. Although, even a point was kind to United.

Ten Hag: Brentford wanted it more

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag claims that Brentford seemed to want the victory more than his side and suggested he needs to speak to his players to work out what went wrong for his side.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag to Sky Sports:

“If you are winning you shouldn’t give it away. We are a strong side and strong in certain situations and we have to get it over the line. That bit is disappointing.

“We made certain mistakes. We should act differently in a different occasion. The equaliser was absolutely unnecessary. Maybe we didn’t deserve it, I thought Brentford wanted more in the whole course of the game.

“In the final third, we were not secure. We were slow. Second balls, defending, we were not good. They were more aggressive. They had more energy and it should be the other way around.

“I’m experienced, even when we don’t play well, we win the game. It was almost. That’s what disappointing the most.

“I know always after international break, there will always be this, the players are out of the rhythm, they are in different situations. When we don’t play so good, we have to win. We almost won.

“We have many senior players, we should all stand up and take responsibility for this.

“From January on, we are very consistent with our performances.

“We will keep fighting, it could be a good point in the end. “

Frank: How did we not win that game?!

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Jamie Redknapp claims Manchester United’s performance against Brentford in the Premier League is the type of display that gets a manager the sack, while Dion Dublin suggests that Marcus Rashford looks like he isn’t enjoying playing football.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank to Sky Sports:

“There should only be one winner in that game, it can only be us. We went 1-0 down after 96 minutes and you’re thinking football is brutal, I almost lost faith in the football gods. At least he gave us a little bit back.

“What a performance, honestly what a performance. We are facing Man Utd, a fully strength Manchester United. Our first-choice defence out, our No 6 is out and we completely dominated the game.

“We are a team with a tricky run and we played unbelievable. We went 1-0 down on 96 minutes and then came back on 99 minutes? These players deserve so much credit, they are an unbelievable group to work with.

“Someone told me we had 31 shots, the most we ever had in a Premier League game? How we didn’t win that was unbelievable.

“There are so many fantastic characters in this team, people standing up when we need them. People coming in and roles, it was fantastic.

“That [the finishing] is disappointing but it dropped for the right players you wanted to drop for. Unfortunately that’s football.

“It’s football, I’m very happy with the performance. It’s actually what we’ve been seeing for a quite a long period, but this was the perfect performance. We have to keep going and go again on Wednesday.”

Redknapp: Man Utd made Brentford look like Real Madrid!

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Jamie Redknapp and Dion Dublin slammed Manchester United’s perceived lack of effort after a poor first-half performance against Brentford in the Premier League.

Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp:

“Before the game, Thomas Frank would have been a bit nervous thinking, ‘we are now going to see a different United. We’re going to see a United full of confidence after the result against Liverpool’. It was anything but that.

“They gave up so much possession, there was a lack of energy with the ball, without the ball. They made Brentford look like Real Madrid!

“The way Man Utd were was so off it. The lack of desire to go into individual battles, letting them play… It was too easy for Brentford. It was like United at times only had nine men on the pitch.”

Toney: We don’t know how we didn’t score more than one

Brentford’s Ivan Toney to Sky Sports:

“I feel like it’s points dropped. When you see the stats, we don’t know how we’ve not scored more than one goal.

“The chance I’ve missed, we’ve hit the woodwork four times, all the opportunities but it means nothing when you draw the game.

“[On his ruled out strike] The gaffer is always saying to me ‘make sure you’re not being a lazy striker, stay onside completely and then you give yourself half a chance’ but I switched off for half a second and it’s a tight call.

“We just weren’t clinical enough in front of goal. We’re disappointed in there.”

What’s next?

Brentford host Brighton on Wednesday night, with kick-off at 7.30pm, before travelling to Aston Villa next Saturday for a 3pm start.

Manchester United have another date in west London as they go to Chelsea on Thursday evening, kick-off at 8.15pm. Attention then turns to a heavyweight clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford nex Sunday, with kick-off at 3.30pm.

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