To prevent setting four undesirable records, Manchester United must secure at least a draw when they face Brentford at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday, October 7. The Red Devils’ performance in the 2023-24 season has been far from satisfactory, as they have suffered defeats in six out of their ten matches across various competitions. Currently, they occupy the 10th position in the league, having secured only three victories and experiencing four losses.
Manchester United’s recent struggles and historical benchmark
Erik ten Hag’s team has suffered defeats in their last two matches, both of which were held at Old Trafford. They faced a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace in the Premier League and were beaten 3-2 by Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League. Now, they are preparing to host Brentford, who currently occupy the 14th position in the league, on Saturday. According to a report from Manchester Evening News, if Manchester United were to lose this upcoming match, it would mark the first time they have experienced five losses in their opening eight league games since 1986. This statistic harkens back to the inaugural season of the legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the club.
Manchester United’s home turf challenge: A look at potential milestone
A looming defeat against Brentford could thrust Manchester United into a rare and unwelcome historical position. If the Red Devils were to fall to Brentford, it would signify a troubling streak of three consecutive home defeats in the league, a predicament they haven’t encountered since as far back as 1979. Their most recent league clashes at Old Trafford have seen them suffer losses to both Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion. Even more concerning, this scenario would also represent a historical rarity for the club. Manchester United hasn’t endured three consecutive home league defeats since the distant year of 1962, marking a significant departure from their typically strong home form.
Injury woes and defensive struggles: Manchester United’s season challenges
Manchester United has faced several injury setbacks during the current season, and their defense has emerged as a significant area of worry. Key defensive players such as Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Sergio Reguilon, Lisandro Martinez, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are currently sidelined due to injuries. Fortunately, Raphael Varane has recently made a return from injury. This unfortunate combination of injuries, coupled with the team’s lackluster performance, has led to Manchester United conceding a total of 18 goals in the span of 10 games across various competitions.
Erik Ten Hag’s strategy to Strengthen Manchester United’s defense amidst injury
During a recent pre-match press conference, Erik ten Hag was questioned about how he intends to address the defensive issues plaguing his team, especially in the face of numerous injuries (as reported on manutd.com): “We’ve been focused on bolstering our defense, with a key emphasis on improving communication. The frequent lineup changes due to injuries have disrupted our established routines. In top-level football, defensive errors are typically exploited by strong opponents about 99 percent of the time. So, our primary aim is to tighten our defense and enhance on-field communication to prevent the opposition from capitalizing on our vulnerabilities.”
Manchester United’s defensive shift: From leading in clean sheets to a challenging start in the current season
He further commented, “We’ve emphasized the importance of aligning our understanding, fostering communication during crucial moments, and maintaining a high level of organization on the field. Ultimately, it comes down to the individual player’s commitment to being in the right position and making sound decisions when the situation demands it.” It’s worth noting that Manchester United led the Premier League in clean sheets last season, recording an impressive 17. However, the current season has seen them secure only two clean sheets in their first seven games.