In this article, we will take a look at some of the key takeaways as Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United climbed to sixth in the Premier League table and level on points with rivals Arsenal after a 3-1 win against a determined, if not unfortunate, Brentford at the Brentford Community Stadium.
Elanga staking a claim for minutes after goalscoring display
Manchester United is hardly a side that is lacking in attacking options across the forward line this season. Boasting no less than ten players capable of being deployed through the center forward channel or in an attacking midfield role, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford, and Bruno Fernandes headline a cadre of gifted attacking players at the disposal of interim boss Ralf Rangnick.
But very quietly, 19-year-old Swedish U21 international Anthony Elanga is quickly staking a claim for a place in the team after recent impressive displays for the Red Devils, and hardly did his chances any harm after finding the opener in tonight’s three-point haul at the Brentford Community Stadium.
19-year-old Anthony Elanga making his name at Manchester United ✨
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 19, 2022
It was Elanga’s second for the club after opening his account last season on the final day 2-1 win against Wolves, but given the many questions that continue to surround some of the forward options under Rangnick, Elanga has not put a foot wrong of late. His incredible goal record at international youth level for Sweden (7-goals in 8-caps) shows that he could well immediately challenge Amad Diallo as the next up and coming attacking starlet at the Theatre of Dreams.
David De Gea – Man United wall reinstated
There was once a time when David De Gea was unquestionably one of the top – if not the top – goalkeepers in Europe. But for quite a few seasons now many will have felt his future at Old Trafford was, at the very least, under considerable strain across multiple seasons. But 2021-22 has been a period of redemption of sorts for the Spanish international, and his performance today against Brentford, particularly in the first half, showed what he is still capable of on his day.
David de Gea has made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League this season. pic.twitter.com/8Oyr628IzH
— bet365 (@bet365) January 19, 2022
No other keeper in the Premier League has made more saves this season than the former Atlético Madrid shot-stopper. Though that is as much a confirmation of his ability as it is a damning indictment of how poor the Red Devils have been at the back through large portions of the campaign under both Ole Gunnar Solskjær and current interim boss Ralf Rangnick, De Gea was in fine form in the first-half against Thomas Frank’s Bees which gave the club a platform for the second-half performance they conjured after the break.
In the first 30-minutes, De Dea made a number of key saves and stood tall when the odds seemed to teeter heavily in Brentford’s favor. On another day, the Bees may have earned three points, but the United keeper did his utmost to keep things all square when in another moment, in another time, the result may have been very different.
Brentford will be a Premier League mainstay
— utdreport (@utdreport) January 19, 2022
Perhaps a little bitter from Brentford boss Thomas Frank, but the reality is that the Bees can feel a little hard done after having Manchester United on the ropes in the first half.
The newly-promoted outfit knocked on the door time and again in the opening half of play, with perhaps the best chance coming from Danish international Mathias Jansen who could only dispatch his effort on frame right at David De Gea’s feet after being through on goal after some good combination play in the build-up phase.
Yes, the Bees should have taken their chances but the fact that they were so dominant in the opening half that they forced one of the titans of English football to adapt to overcome the threat speaks volumes of where the club is in their own journey.
There is still a lot of time left this season, but all signs point to Brentford being truly capable of establishing themselves as a fixture in the Premier League for years to come.
This article was edited by Ben Browning.
Manchester United betting odds, next game:
Manchester United's latest videos
Manchester United latest news
Premier League table
|7||West Ham United||36||11||55|
|9||Brighton & Hove Albion||36||-4||47|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||22|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||21|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||18|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur||16|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City||15|
|Jota, Diogo||Liverpool FC||15|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||15|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||14|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City||13|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace||13|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||12|
|Toney, Ivan||Brentford FC||12|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||11|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||11|
|Mahrez, Riyad||Manchester City||11|
|Pukki, Teemu||Norwich City||11|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa||11|
|Maddison, James||Leicester City||10|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||10|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||10|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Firpo, Junior||Leeds United||0||11|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||0||10|
|Brownhill, Josh||Burnley FC||0||10|
|Bednarek, Jan||Southampton FC||0||10|
|Mings, Tyrone||Aston Villa||0||10|
|Xhaka, Granit||Arsenal FC||1||9|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||10|
|Bissouma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||10|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||0||9|
|Moreno, Rodrigo||Leeds United||0||9|
|Neves, Ruben||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||9|
|Mctominay, Scott||Manchester United||0||9|
|Salisu, Mohammed||Southampton FC||0||8|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||0||8|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||0||7|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||1||7|
|James, Daniel||Leeds United||1||7|
|Alonso, Marcos||Chelsea FC||0||8|
|Norgaard, Christian||Brentford FC||0||8|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||13|
|Alexander-Arnold, Trent||Liverpool FC||12|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||10|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||10|
|Barnes, Harvey||Leicester City||10|
|Robertson, Andy||Liverpool FC||10|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur||9|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||9|
|Cancelo, Joao||Manchester City||9|
|Maddison, James||Leicester City||8|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||8|
|Kulusevski, Dejan||Tottenham Hotspur||8|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||7|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City||7|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||7|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||7|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||7|
|Mbeumo, Bryan||Brentford FC||7|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||6|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||6|