Manchester United

4 things we learned from Man Utd's win against Brentford

MUSC Red Devils NCR
David de Gea was at his absolute best against Brentford
David de Gea was at his absolute best against Brentford / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

In a game of two halves, Manchester United overcame a resilient Brentford 3-1, which gives them hope of reviving their stuttering season into something tangible.

After a first half in which they were lucky to be level on terms thanks to some superlative goalkeeping by David De Gea, goals from Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and substitute Marcus Rashford made sure that the Red Devils went back home with all the three points.

Ivan Toney scored a late goal for the Bees, but it wasn't enough to avoid a third straight loss for Thomas Frank's side.

Here are some talking points from the game:

1. Dave Saves Yet Again

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David De Gea is back to his best, and boy he had to be at his best on the night.

In a first half where a rampant Brentford were threatening almost every time they attacked United, De Gea stood tall each and every time; pulling out save after save to keep them in the game.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that it was Brentford vs De Gea, such was his impact on the game. His saves made sure that the game was in the balance at the end of the half, enabling United to start the second half with confidence.

It's almost nightmarish to think where would Manchester United be without their talisman in goal?

2. Bruno is Back

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Bruno Fernandes was having an ordinary season for a player of his quality and grace.

He was not dominating games like he normally does, he was less involved in the build-up, and looked sullen and aloof in his demeanor too.

But after getting a suspension and being benched subsequently, he is back with a vengeance.

After netting a brace in the previous game against Aston Villa, he was back at it again on Wednesday, turning provider for Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford.

While his first assist was an unselfish bit of play, putting it on a plate for Greenwood to tap in an empty net, the second one was testament to his footballing intelligence, pulling the defence towards him before sliding it to Rashford who made no mistake with the finish.

The Portuguese magnifico is the glue that holds this United team together and him returning back to form can only mean good things for the team in general.

3. Slow starters:

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For the umpteenth time this season, Manchester United got out of the blocks second best.

They were stagnant, stodgy and passive when in possession, having loads of the ball but nothing to show for it (United did not register a single shot on goal in the first half); while the defence looked like an accident waiting to happen everytime Brentford ran at them.

Brentford duo of Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbuemo making an absolute nuisance of themselves with their constant and direct running. Put simply, the Red Devils just couldn't keep up with the energy, intensity and the desire displayed by the hosts.

If not for De Gea's heroics, Brentford could have taken the souls out of United and ripped it to shreds way before the half time whistle. This has to stop, and fast. Or else it'll lead to even more problems against tougher oppositions.

4. The Set Piece Conundrum:

Cristiano Ronaldo
Man Utd's set-piece problem / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

On paper, Manchester United have a collection of individuals who can be menacing in the air.

They have the likes of Harry Maguire (who was on the bench), Raphael Varane, Scott Mctominay, and "his royal Airness" Cristiano Ronaldo himself.

So scoring from set pieces shouldn't be that much of a Problem. Right?

Well, Man Utd on set pieces are downright horrendous. In a damning stat which indicates how poor they are, the Red Devils have now gone a 111 corners without scoring a single goal, some of those failing to even go past the first man in defence.

This is a massive problem for a team who already face problems breaking defences. The much heralded arrival of set piece coach Eric Ramsay hasn't seemed to change fortunes in the set piece department either, with their vulnerability on defensive set pieces out there for everyone to see.

United need to get their act together and put in extra work on the training ground when it comes to set pieces, it's only so long before these missed chances will come back to bite them right when it matters most.

Written by: Delwyn Serrao for the MUSC Red Devils NCR

Insta handle: delwyn_reddevil