Not even the most ardent Brentford fan would have envisaged a 4-0 victory over Manchester United on Saturday. But that is exactly what panned out as United crumbled as soon as the first goal went in.
There are hardly any positives to speak about after such a humbling but Erik ten Hag will have figured out the pretenders from the contenders.
And a few of his substitutions said a lot more than he ever could. Fred was the first player to be hooked last week and he continued the same level of performance in London.
It is literally the same issue over and over again — De Gea’s weak long range distribution means they can never play over a press. Their midfield will struggle playing through it.
When buildup starts with DDG he plays the trap — he sees the pressing trigger yet passes anyways.
— Maram AlBaharna (@maramperninety) August 13, 2022
His passing and game awareness was woeful as usual while he was second-best in every 50-50 situation. His replacement in the second-half Scott McTominay was hardly better and it shows how woefully short United are in that area.
Despite a horror showing, Lisandro Martinez should be starting against Liverpool as the defensive midfielder instead of these two.
David de Gea has never improved the command of his area and his ability with the ball at feet has been suspect for quite some time now. And apart from the first howler, his passing under pressure was unbelievably bad.
So bad that Ten Hag had to forego his principle of playing out from the back after United conceded the second. Tom Heaton looks a better bet at this stage, an idea Ten Hag might also be giving some serious thought to.
Luke Shaw has been a case study of a career which promised so much but is now just not good enough. United fans and previous managers have known that for a while now and the Dutchman is learning quickly. Tyrell Malacia is guaranteed to start against Liverpool.
Ten Hag’s team selection was naive as he started a lightweight midfield pairing of Fred, Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes thinking they would be able to cope. Against a team looking to defend in numbers, the ploy might work.
But against a hungry and physical Bees side, that plan went out the window after just a quarter of the game gone. Even Martinez’s selection at centre-back against two physically imposing strikers was not quite fair on the Argentine.
Fans are fearing the worst against Liverpool and rightly so. Technical issues aside, a lack of pride and fight is just unacceptable and fans deserve better from these highly-paid prima donnas.
And the Glazers have let down yet another manager. Not one priority position has been strengthened. United needed a better centre-back than Harry Maguire. They still continue to play the skipper.
They need a goalkeeper but there has been no talk of the Reds trying to buy a top-notch keeper. And in midfield, the English giants neither have a fighter nor a leader. And Adrien Rabiot’s signing, if it happens, changes nothing. Even Frenkie de Jong cannot save the side.
A striker is needed, someone who can run and press from the front. But they have had to settle for Anthony Martial who was close to being sold and an unhappy Cristiano Ronaldo.
Especially if signings are left so late and the new manager has to start with pretty much the same side that let down two managers, then alarm bells will be ringing. And they are ringing loud and clear as United lost by four goals for the third time in the last eight games.
Ten Hag will be a worried man.
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