On 28 July 2021, Manchester United fans at Old Trafford got to see their team for the first time this season in a pre-season match against Brentford. Tonight, they witnessed the team’s final game at Old Trafford this season, coincidentally, against Brentford. The biggest news before the game was Juan Mata starting the game alongside Nemanja Matic on what would be their final bow for United.Embed from Getty Images
It was the visitors who started the game better, coming close to scoring with their first attack of the game. Thomas Frank seemed to be brave and bring the game to the home side. A lovely pass from Diogo Dalot found Cristiano Ronaldo inside the box. However, the Portuguese did not get the finish he would have wanted. That passage of play kickstarted United’s engines as Anthony Elanga found Bruno Fernandes who slotted the ball home.
Chances were few and far between in the next few minutes as the biggest highlights of the game was the referee Chris Kavanagh ignoring a foul on Elanga who was clear on goal and then again giving Brentford a goal kick when the ball hit their own player. A penalty shout by Ronaldo was then also denied. Just seconds before half time, a pass from Bruno sliced through Brentford’s defence into the path of Juan Mata, who then put the ball for Ronaldo to score. However, the sublime team goal was ruled out for offside by VAR.
After the interval, United had another chance to score with Dalot hitting the bar, but his initial pass to Ronaldo was judged offside. A few minutes later, an exquisite pass from Matic sent Bruno clear on goal but he skewed the finish wide. At the hour mark, an outlet pass by Dalot found Ronaldo on the edge of Brentford’s box. The main man went past Rico Henry and the fullback could not do anything other than making a foul so blatant and obvious even the referee could not deny it. Ronaldo calmly finished and United were cruising.Embed from Getty Images
With 20 minutes to go, Matic departed the game to a huge round of applause from the Old Trafford faithful with Fred coming on in his place. Immediately after the substitution, United found their third goal of the game with Varane scoring his first for the club with a tidy finish off a set-piece. The goal meant United were able to take Mata off. It is worth noting that he played superbly all game long, linking up well with the likes of Bruno and Ronaldo. Elanga also joined the Spaniard in exiting the game as Phil Jones and Edinson Cavani came on as subsitutes on what could potentially be their final game at Old Trafford.
The return fixture was remembered for Brentford manager Thomas Frank’s wild outburst after the game. Safe to say he will not have much to say today because United were clearly the better team today. The win was much needed to ensure the club would be playing some European football next season. It would have been nice to see youngsters like Alvaro Fernandez and Alejandro Garnacho get minutes under their belt today, but surely they will have plenty of them under new manager Erik ten Hag.