What to look out for at Brentford on Saturday
All eyes will be on south-west London on Saturday night, as Manchester United travel to Brentford looking for our first Premier League points under Erik ten Hag.
Here are five things to look out for, as we prepare for the game at the Gtech Community Stadium.
ERIK’S FIRST AWAY GAME
United have played before fervent crowds in Bangkok, Melbourne, Perth and Oslo since Ten Hag became manager, but this will be the first time our brilliant travelling Reds can cheer the side on in a Premier League match under Erik. The Dutchman praised the atmosphere at Old Trafford even in defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, but our away support is regularly among the best in the top flight. They certainly had plenty to cheer on their first visit to Brentford’s new ground in January, when the Reds recovered from a ropey first half to run out 3-1 winners over Thomas Frank’s direct and energetic side. Let’s hope for more of the same on Saturday, as we seek our first points of the campaign.
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Our new no.14 caught the eye against Brighton, especially in the second half when he dropped deeper and started to run the game. Now Christian has the chance to return to Brentford, where he excelled in the latter months of 2021/22. The Bees won seven of the 11 league games in which Eriksen featured, as the Dane proved the catalyst for a strong run which saw Frank’s side eventually secure safety with ease. The 30-year-old is widely respected in the world of football, with the Old Trafford crowd giving him a standing ovation during Brentford’s visit in May. It would be nice to see that gesture reciprocated now he has switched sides.
OUR NEW THIRD KIT
United’s home-and-away kits were released in July, to a great reception, but the 2022/23 third kit has been kept under wraps… until now. With Brentford set to appear in their traditional red-and-white home strip, we will be required to debut fresh wares at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday. Friday is kit launch day, so keep an eye across all of our official platforms to ensure you don’t miss out on the conversation.
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WILL RONALDO START?
Cristiano has now featured in each of our last two outings: the friendly with Rayo Vallecano and our Premier League opener against Brighton. United noticeably improved after our no.7’s introduction at the weekend and he provided a good chance for Marcus Rashford shortly after coming on, only for Seagulls’ keeper Robert Sanchez to divert Rashford’s shot with his body. Ten Hag has noted that Ronaldo still needs to get up to speed with his fitness after pre-season, but could this be the day we see him return to the XI? There are a few variables, including the condition of Anthony Martial – who missed the Brighton game through injury – but Ronaldo is currently top of the ‘first goalscorer’ reckoning in our popular UTD Predictions game, with 55 per cent of players backing him to hit the net.
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We travel to London on Saturday for our first away match of the season.
GETTING USED TO LONDON
Saturday’s game will be the first of seven Premier League trips to the capital this season – only in 1989/90 has there been more London clubs in England’s top-flight, when Arsenal, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Millwall, QPR, Tottenham and Wimbledon were all present. Until recently, United have enjoyed a good record when travelling to the capital: between 1 January 2020 and 23 April 2022, we went 13 London away games without defeat, but our two most recent trips ended in disappointment as we experienced reverses at Arsenal and Crystal Palace. A victory on Saturday would set out our stall perfectly, with visits to Palace, Chelsea and Fulham to come prior to the six-week World Cup break.