Beesotted contributors The Gowler and Paul Kowalczyk (@BeesBreakdown) give us the tactical and statistical lowdown of Brentford’s loss against Manchester United.
Thomas Frank switched to his 3-5-2 to face Manchester United. Brentford’s back 3 consisted of Collins, Pinnock, and Ajer. The wingbacks Hickey and Roerslev joined by the midfield trio of Janelt, Nørgaard and Jensen. The first choice front two was unsurprisingly Wissa and Mbeumo. One surprising change was Strakosha in goal as Flekken missed the match due to an illness. In the midst of Flekken’s disappointing performances, fans clamoring for Strakosha to get a look got their wish.
Ten Hag’s Manchester United were coming off a frustrating Champions League loss to Galatasaray. Manchester’s United list is just as long as the Bees, which has led to an inconsistent backline. United’s 4-2-3-1 started with Onana, whose had a difficult time adjusting to Premier League football, in goal. Lindelof, Maguire, Evans, and Dalot comprised the backline. Casemiro was joined by Amrabat as the holding midfielders. Fernandes, Mount, and Rashford support new signing Højlund up top.
Possession: Manchester United 64% – 36% Brentford
xG: Manchester United 1.43 – 0.95 Brentford
xGOT: Manchester United 1.57 – 0.35 Brentford
Shots: Manchester United 21 – 11 Brentford
Shots on Target: Manchester United 8 – 3 Brentford
Clearances: Manchester United 9 – 42 Brentford
Other Brentford stats:
Aerial duels won: 10 (43%)
Brentford handled Manchester United for the most of the match, but conceding two last minute goals showed how the Bees were lacking depth. Brentford looked lively early on and were able to score only 26 minutes into the match. Manchester United ended with 1.43 xG, but the majority of that was in stoppage time (0.73 xG).
The Bees created most of their xG from set plays (0.62). A lot of this came from long throw ins and was compounded by Manchester United letting the ball bounce around in the box. Brentford’s 3-5-2 easily allowed Roerslev and Hickey to get forward, but even Ajer made multiple forward runs.
Pinnock was massive at the back, he had 19 clearances and leads the Premier League with 59 on the season. Pinnock also ended with 5 tackles and interceptions. Pinnock and Collins won 100% of their combined 6 aerial duels. Unfortunately, Brentford’s substitutes struggled in the air, with Onyeka losing a crucial aerial duel and Maupay unable to help Brentford keep possession late in the match.
Nørgaard again led Brentford in xG created with 0.41. Another standout performance from Jensen, who ended with 5 shot-creating actions and completed 5 out of 6 long passes. Jensen only played 82 minutes, but had 0.42 xGBuildUp while the rest of the team only created 0.24. This means that Jensen was involved in most of Brentford’s possessions leading up to any xG chances created. Thomas Frank has not been left with many substitute options, with only 5 players on the bench having played in the Premier League before.