Manchester United’s absolutely insipid first half is not going to help any of its players in the player ratings from a 4-0 loss to Brentford, while the Bees will love their marks from a rollicking day at the Brentford Community Stadium.
United boss Erik ten Hag hooked three players at halftime when the final score was already on the board, as Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford, and friends huffed and puffed but showed that unquestionably he requires new players.
And Liverpool’s up next on the fixture list. Yikes.
[ MORE: Ten Hag, De Gea speak after latest loss ]
Here’s what we learned, who shined, and who most certainly did not look good from Brentford’s first win over Manchester United in 85 years.
Three things we learned from Brentford vs Manchester United
1. Appropriate jerseys for “under construction” Man United: Brentford was very good — We’ll get to that in a moment — but it’s fitting that United was wearing a sort of construction worker/cautionary bright yellow-green because there’s simply no question the Red Devils are nowhere near where they’ll be once Erik ten Hag’s system has taken root with the proper pieces. The club’s need for a midfield maestro continues to glare angrily toward the television screens, and team captain Harry Maguire is among those whose performances at the moment are not matching their standing at the club. That will change, although new boy Lisandro Martinez was the midfield exit on Saturday.
2. Bees are buzzing: The Bees came back from a 2-0 deficit to draw Leicester City in Week 1 and went all “lesson learned” in the first half on Saturday, firing out of the gates — not without some luck (cough, De Gea, cough) — and just putting the game out of question after barely more than a half-hour. And you could argue that moment came sooner! Mathias Jensen will get plaudits for his advantageous work and Ivan Toney had two assists, but Ben Mee and the “back five” were marvelous. Any could be labeled as Man of the Match behind the buzzing five midfielders and forwards, and David Raya had command of his box.
3. It’s a problem of mentality more than talent: Take almost any player out of this Manchester United and present a Premier League manager the chance to find a starting use for them in their system. More often than not, the boss is going to leap at the chance to sign a Marcus Rashford, a Fred, a Harry Maguire. But all of these players appear less than themselves in a Man United shirt right now, and have under multiple managers. That sure seems to point to the club, doesn’t it? There’s something going wrong between the ears. Some have claimed there are too many cliques at Old Trafford. “Mean Girls” doesn’t win trophies.
Brentford player ratings out of 10
David Raya: 8 — Four saves and good control of the box.
Rico Henry: 6.5 — Just okay!
Ben Mee: 8.5 — The ex-Man City man will have loved scoring against United.
Pontus Jansson: 7 — How about this? Brentford’s back three combined for under 90 touches of the ball.
Mads Roerslev: 8 — Looked the part.
Aaron Hickey (Off 80′): 7 — Nice signing. Ran out of juice after zipping up and down the pitch all day.
Mathias Jensen (On 73′): 9 — The total package. His buzzsaw work to take the ball off Eriksen on the second goal is what really made the crowd believe it was seeing a historic day.
Christian Norgaard (Off 80′): 6.5 — Wasn’t bad, but wasn’t near his best.
Joshua Dasilva (Off 62′): 8 — One of the feel-good stories of the early season, as the oft-injured DaSilva has two goals in two games.
Ivan Toney: 8.5 — A fantastic performance with two of his four key passes becoming assists. That pass on the Mbeumo goal.
Bryan Mbeumo (Off 73′): 7.5 — A busy boy who made Luke Shaw look oh-so-silly on his goal.
Vitaly Janelt (On 62′): 6.5
Yoane Wissa (On 73′): N/A
Shandon Baptiste (On 73′): N/A
Mads Bech Sorensen (On 80′): N/A
Frank Onyeka (On 80′): N/A
Manchester United player ratings out of 10
David De Gea: 2.5 — He made on save and gifted two goals. Oops. Did make a fantastic save with 10 minutes to play.
Luke Shaw (off HT): 3.5 — Lost.
Lisandro Martinez (off HT): 4.5 — Made a halftime scapegoat. He couldn’t stop Ben Mee’s goal at the back post but was much more active than Maguire and could’ve easily stayed on to play with Varane.
Harry Maguire: 3 — Lost 4-of-8 duels and was credited with just three defensive actions.
Diogo Dalot: 4 — Gave away the ball quite a bit. Credited with two key passes. Clearly a Ten Hag favorite.
Christian Eriksen (Off 87′): 6 — Fairly good in an improbably tough situation. Ten Hag set up his team to possess and play with style. Once the midfield game was lost and Fred withdrawn, there was even less help.
Fred (off HT): 5.5 — Another halftime scapegoat who probably didn’t deserve it.
Marcus Rashford: 6.5 — Ran his socks off, winning 9-of-12 duels and converting all five of his dribbles.
Bruno Fernandes: 6 — Remains their most important piece in attack.
Jadon Sancho (off 60′): 5.5 — Just okay. Needs to refind the confidence to shoot he possessed at Dortmund.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 6 — Managed to fire off six shots and registered three key passes but he’s nowhere near his clinical best, even age-adjusted.
Tyrell Malacia (on HT): 7
Scott McTominay (on HT): 6
Raphael Varane (on HT): 7
Anthony Elanga (on 60′): 6.5
Donny van de Beek (On 87′): N/A