Five things learned as Manchester United beat Brentford 3-1
Manchester United got back to winning ways in the Premier League with a 3-1 win against Brentford.
Here are five things we learned from the first Premier League meeting between the sides…
Harry Maguire may have to remain patient
After missing the defeat against Wolves and the FA Cup win against Aston Villa, United’s club captain was back on the bench at Villa Park.
Maguire may have recovered from a chest injury, but Ralf Rangnick is currently favouring the partnership of Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane.
Both Lindelof and Varane are quicker than United’s number five and that could well have a big bearing on the German’s decision.
The former Leicester man has been out of form since the European Championships and he may have a battle on his hands to reclaim his starting place at club level.
He came on for the final 20 minutes as Rangnick trialled a three at the back system.
David de Gea to the rescue once again
It almost seems a formality that at some stage in every game currently, United’s number one will have to bail us out with a string of saves.
The Spaniard once again showcased his ability to thwart the opposition with his feet.
The fact that de Gea has had to make the most saves in the Premier League this season says it all about where the club is currently at.
It seems that de Gea has reclaimed his fear factor when opponents are going through on goal against him.
Cristiano Ronaldo returns
After missing the back-to-back clashes against Aston Villa with a hip problem, United’s number seven was back in the starting line-up for the trip to the Bees.
The 36-year-old returned as Edinson Cavani missed out after picking up a “muscular problem” in training yesterday.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner cut a forlorn and frustrated figure in the first half, but he was eager to get his side on the front foot in the second half.
A looping header from the Portuguese international dropped onto the bar and that moment almost galvanised the Reds.
After being picked out by Scott McTominay, Ronaldo laid the ball perfectly into Bruno Fernandes’ path via his chest, who squared the ball to Mason Greenwood to tap home.
Anthony Elanga’s importance growing
Following an impressive performance against Aston Villa, Rangnick rewarded the young Swede with successive Premier League starts for the first time in his fledging career.
The 19-year-old more than repaid the faith shown by his manager with a crucial opener.
Constantly making those runs from out to in, the winger was finally picked out by Fred and he showed great composure to nod home.
It was his second Premier League goal following his strike against Wolves on the last day of last season, which was also a header.
Surely Elanga will be given a third straight start against West Ham on Saturday, as his emergence in the Manchester United first team continues.
Marcus Rashford goal icing on the cake
Despite being fit enough to return from a dead leg, Rashford had to settle for a place on the bench after Elanga seized his chance.
With United two goals to the good, Rashford entered the fray searching for a confidence boosting goal.
The England international was played in by Fernandes and he showed great composure to slot the ball home which will be a great boost for everyone connected to Manchester United.
It was his first Premier League goal since October and hopefully it means the sulking is replaced with a smile and results in United’s number 10 being reinvigorated.
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