Describing himself as “the brilliant Frank Thomas” in his inimitable and charming fashion, Brentford’s manager sang the praises of all five substitutes used in their come-from-behind Premier League 2-2 matchday one draw at Leicester City, in what was the first time in more than two years that the club had rescued points from a two-goal deficit in any competition. The match is scheduled to kick off at 5:30pm UK time and live scores and audio commentary can be followed live on Flashscore.
However Brentford conceded six goals in two defeats to the Red Devils last season, despite Thomas’ assertions that his team “smashed them” in a 1-3 loss at home. Much more than just that optimistic rhetoric is going to be required to replicate their opening home fixture of the previous PL season – a 2-0 win over Arsenal – particularly as Brentford would go on to lose eight of their 12 PL encounters with the top-six clubs during 2021/22 (W2, D2).
As one of just two matchday favourites to lose their first round PL fixture (alongside Aston Villa) last weekend, Manchester United appear ripe for the picking. Their grossly underwhelming activity in the transfer market was thrust back into the spotlight with their first ever loss at Old Trafford to Brighton (1-2), an afternoon new boss Erik ten Hag declared as “a setback and a real disappointment” as he became the first United manager since Louis van Gaal to lose his debut league match.
Amongst the many issues ten Hag was brought in to address is dramatically improving on what finished up last season as United’s poorest PL travelling record in the 21st century (W6, D5, L8), after ending that campaign with six consecutive away PL defeats. Having ultimately blamed a lack of self-belief for dropping all three points to Brighton, ten Hag’s worries could deepen further with another failure.
Players to watch: Brentford’s first goalscorer last round, Ivan Toney, enjoyed a streak of three consecutive goal-scoring appearances in all competitions across February that included Brentford’s only goal against United during last season. All eyes, however, will be on former Brentford midfielder and new United signing Christian Eriksen, as he returns to the venue where he recorded no goals and just two assists from six appearances for the Bees.
Hot stat: No team lost more matches when starting as away favorites last PL season than Manchester United (W6, D3, L5).