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Brentford 1-1 Manchester United

Fernandes Bruno Manchester United

It doesn’t matter what they did two weeks ago, this is still the modern Manchester United, and they are still dismal. A 1-1 draw hardly tells the story of the game. Brentford had 31 shots, four of which hit the woodwork. They didn’t score until Kristoffer Ajer equalised in the ninth minute of injury time, by which point they were mystifyingly behind, but really by then they should have won almost as comfortably as they did in this fixture last season.

The problem for United under Erik ten Hag has been that, while there have been decent performances and results, they have rarely been followed by anything approaching a consistent run. Quite what the win over Liverpool in the FA Cup was, other than thrilling, is unclear.

There were long spells when United were second-best in that game but they had the spirit and resilience to hang in and find a win. It’s far too early to know whether history will remember that as a turning point or a last flailing of a fading beast, at least before a change of manager.

Even before the draw that paired United with Coventry in the semi-final, there was talk of Amad Diallo’s goal being Ten Hag’s ‘Mark Robins moment’, but the goal that, in legend at least, saved Alex Ferguson’s job in 1990, didn’t lead to an immediate uptick in form: that win over Nottingham Forest was followed by a home league defeat to Derby County as Steve Bruce was sent off. There were echoes of that at Brentford on Saturday.

The best that could be said of the first half for United was that at least it wasn’t as bad as last season’s equivalent fixture, when Brentford scored four times. Even if United didn’t have Cristiano Ronaldo sulking or David de Gea inspiring panic with every attempt to pass out from the back, there were worrying similarities in the way Brentford seemed faster, stronger and more aggressive. Given the nature of that win over Liverpool, the sense that it was achieved as much by will as anything else, this was a bafflingly diffident performance.

Against a more confident or more fortunate Brentford, this could have been a defeat of similar magnitude. The chances kept on coming and kept on somehow not going in. André Onana made a remarkable double save from Yehor Yarmolyuk and Keane Lewis-Potter but mostly this was a tale of shots flashing just wide or hitting the frame of the goal.

SOURCE – Ajer rescues point for Brentford in Manchester United thriller | Premier League | The Guardian