Brentford ruthlessly tore through a woeful Manchester United with an emphatic 4-0 victory that means there are already early alarm bells ringing for new Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag.
The Bees produced a high-energy, physical performance that completely overwhelmed the visitors, who fell behind on 10 minutes when Josh Dasilva’s tame shot somehow squirmed through David de Gea.
The United keeper then played an awful pass to former Brentford midfielder, Christian Eriksen, allowing Mathias Jensen to nip in and double the home side’s lead on 18 minutes.
It continued to get worse for United when Ben Mee bundled in a third as the Bees’ superior height at set pieces paid dividends, before a rapid counter-attack saw Bryan Mbeumo race clear and rifle in a fourth inside 35 minutes.
Ten Hag made a triple change at the interval to try and add more physicality to his side and there was a slight improvement, although the damage had clearly been done and they could not reduce the arrears despite creating half chances for Cristiano Ronaldo and Eriksen.
The result leaves United rock bottom and means they start a season with back-to-back defeats for the first time since 1992. Indeed, the Red Devils have now lost four league matches in a row for the first time since 1979 and are also on a seven-match losing streak on the road that is their worst run since 1936.
Ten Hag will now need to lift his troops ahead of a crunch home clash with rivals Liverpool a week on Monday. Meanwhile, third-placed Brentford visit Fulham next Saturday.
New manager, same old story. The demise of Manchester United is nothing new and despite a promising pre-season, the same old flaws continue to be exposed by their opponents.
Once again, it’s been an average transfer window for the Red Devils which has hindered the new coach in his attempts to steady the ship and rebuild the team with the type of characters they have been crying out for. There’s still time to rectify that and it remains early days this season, but there’s a lot of hard work ahead.
As a result, Ten Hag will get off lightly during the inevitable wave of criticism that ensues this week, although he was clearly naïve with the starting XI he selected for such a physical test.
The post-mortem won’t be pleasant and the build-up to Liverpool won’t be pretty. Last season the Merseysiders destroyed their old rivals both home and away and if Jurgen Klopp’s men can hit anywhere near top form at Old Trafford, it could be another uncomfortable evening for United.
As for Brentford, they deserve more praise than they will get. Much focus will be on the Red Devils, but Thomas Frank got his tactics spot-on and his players were simply sensational in carrying out the game-plan.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford). It could have been any of the Bees’ starting XI. They hustled and harried United throughout, completely dismantling them in an incredible first 45. Mbeumo was a real menace alongside the unselfish Ivan Toney and they both played their part in a brilliant counter attack that completed the scoring.
BRENTFORD: Raya 8, Hickey 8, Roerslev 8, Jansson 8, Mee 8, Henry 8, Norgaard 8, Jensen 8, Dasilva 8, Toney 8, Mbeumo 8. Subs: Janelt 7, Wissa 6, Baptiste 6, Onyeka n/a, Sorensen n/a.
MAN UTD: De Gea 4, Dalot 6, Maguire 4, Martinez 4, Shaw 4, Fred 4, Eriksen 5, Fernandes 5, Sancho 5, Ronaldo 6, Rashford 6. Subs: Malacia 6, Varane 6, McTominay 6, Elanga 6, van de Beek n/a.
10’ – GOAL! – Brentford 1-0 Man United. Josh Da Silva hits a tame low shot from 25 yards that De Gea somehow allows to squirm through his hands and into the net.
18’ – GOAL! – Brentford 2-0 Man United. The Bees are in dreamland. United are caught out playing from the back again. Jensen nicks the ball off Eriksen and then shows good feet
before drilling a shot beyond De Gea.
30’ – GOAL! – Brentford 3-0 Man United. It is indeed! Toney nods a right-wing corner back across goal and Mee is there to bundle it home at the far post.
35’ – GOAL! – Brentford 4-0 Man United. WOW! Just wow! The Bees produce a sensational break. They tidy up in their own box before raking a ball to Toney down the left. He knows where Bryan Mbeumo is and plays a lovely ball into the middle for the forward to race in and lash a shot beyond De Gea.