Manchester United slumped to a 30-year low as their shocking start to their Premier League campaign continued, proving again when it rains it really does pour.
And monsoon season might be rolling in at Old Trafford ahead of a crunch clash with fierce rivals Liverpool next week.
After losing their opening match of the season at home against Brighton, United were heavily favored to bounce back against Brentford on Sunday morning (AEST).
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But disaster struck, with a goalkeeping howler from David de Gea allowing the Bees to strike first in what would become a 4-0 first-half riot at the Gtech Community Stadium.
It’s safe to say few saw that coming.
Manager Erik ten Hag, much like the rest of the world, was left stunned as the halftime whistle marked both a moment of reprieve and realization for the Red Devils.
The damage had already been done by that point, though, as a scoreless second period saw United languish at the bottom of the Premier League table for the first time in 30 years.
This is also the first time since 1936 United have lost seven straight away league games, while Brentford recorded the biggest win in the top division since 1938.
Premier League greats Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp reached their boiling points after the abysmal display, as the extent of the defeat added more chaos to the existing drama the club.
“At this moment in time, it’s really desperate. There’s no leadership, there’s no voice, you can’t blame the individual player or the manager, you’ve got to look above and look to the very top,” Neville said on SkySports.
“This week, they’re going to get peppered those players, the coach, the sporting department, the new CO – they’re all going to get peppered. But there’s a family over there in America who are just literally letting their employees take all the hits for them – and that is unforgivable.”
Frustration, shock and disappointment was felt across the country with many of the UK’s leading football scribes weighing in on the reality facing the English giants – if they’re still worthy of that moniker.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was at the wheel for the Red Devils until he very much wasn’t, as a poor run of form saw the former United star fired.
Louis van Gaal and David Moyes, another two managers who promised so much before they were sacked, still hadn’t sunk as low as Erik ten Hag after just two matches in charge.
Ten Hag is the first United manager to lose his first two league games since John Chapman in 1921.
Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton told the BBC United have “hit rock bottom”, while Sky Sports pundit Karen Carney believes that the club “can’t get any lower”.
Premier League legend Alan Shearer believes that issues have been festering for years at the famous club.
Shearer added that the Red Devils are currently “miles away” from the level that they should be playing at — and even suggested recent speculation about a shock move for 33-year-old striker Marko Arnautović may have been an inside job.
“I’m convinced that someone from Man United’s leaked the story linking them with (Marko) Arnautovic, just to see what the reaction was,” Shearer said on Match of the Day.
“I think that sort of sums up where United are.
“They’re in a mess and it’s going to take time, an unbelievable amount of money to get things right inside the football club and in terms of the right recruitment and it’s going to take a lot of patience from the Manchester United fans because of where they are now to where they want to be – miles away.”
The Telegraph’s Jim White didn’t mince his words as he provided his analysis of United’s “humiliation”, saying that it was the worst performance he’s ever seen by the club.
“Having watched Manchester United for over 50 years, this performance against Brentford is without question the worst I have ever seen them deliver,” White wrote.
“The grim times of Dave Sexton, the misery of the David Moyes era, the negativity of Louis van Gaal, all looked like halcyon days compared to this performance.
“No joy, no coherence, no spirit: this was a team in name only, delivering the kind of performance that Frenkie de Jong would have had on the phone to his agent with instructions to quickly follow up any interest from Chelsea.
“Mistakes happen. But it was the response to that setback that spoke so damagingly of what is going on at Old Trafford. Instead of launching the kind of fight back that once characterized the club, United folded.
“Everywhere they looked hapless, hopeless and haunted.”
Goalkeeper David de Gea, who was once considered to be one of the best players in the world in his position, had an outing to forget in what is becoming a key issue for the club.
The Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson said that while de Gea was still an “excellent shot-stopper”, that his inability to play with the ball at his feet was an issue.
“Can you play out from the back with De Gea? De Gea remains, despite Saturday’s howler, an excellent shot-stopper, which is why last season he was named United’s player of the year for the fourth time,” Wilson wrote.
“But there is a reason he has not played for Spain since October 2020 and why he has apparently fallen behind Brentford’s David Raya in the pecking order.
“He is simply not comfortable on the ball. Last season he completed just 71.3% of his passes. By comparison, Ederson completed 88.1% and Alisson 87.1%.
“While it’s true that’s partly because De Gea was encouraged to play more longer balls, it’s also true that one of the reasons United played more longer balls is De Gea.
“This is a major problem for United: De Gea is one of the few United players who has performed consistently in recent years and yet those struggles with the ball at his feet make it very hard for them to switch to a modern style.
“That, perhaps, is the most disconcerting thing for United. This is supposed to be ten Hag’s honeymoon period, but already he looks in danger of being overwhelmed by just how shambolic the club is … And they’ve got Liverpool next.”
The Athletic’s Adam Crafton said “each week manages to conjure a new sense of stupefying shock” when it came to United, with their fans ruthlessly mocked at half-time.
“At halftime, Brentford, who had not beaten Manchester United since 1938, led their opponents. And this was more than a lead. This was 4-0 and deservedly so,” Crafton wrote.
“There was, in the press box, almost a numbing madness to it all. Brentford’s supporters, too, stared at one another, open-mouthed.
“They taunted their United opponents, telling them they’d be ‘going down with the Fulham’. Fulham, on two points after two games compared to United’s zero, may be offended by the comparison.”
The Red Devils appear to be at a crossroads after failing to sign Arnautovic, as well as other players during the English summer.
Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford for what feels like forever, although Chelsea have since emerged as another potential destination.
According to the BBC, United have spent £672 million ($1.14 billion AUD) since winning their last major trophy in 2017, which was the Europa League.
So far during the transfer window, United have signed Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez.
Club great Rio Ferdinand said that he feels “sorry” for ten Hag after an uneventful transfer window has so far failed to add key players to a struggling squad.
“I don’t feel sorry for the players, I feel sorry for ten Hag,” Ferdinand told the Vibe with Five podcast.
“He’s coming under false pretenses. He’s coming expected new signings.
“He’s probably sitting there thinking, ‘I’ve been sold a dummy here. I didn’t know I was coming into this’.
“This is an indefensible situation right now because it’s so bad, it’s terrible.
“I mean, we’re only two games in, but we’re two games in on the back of what happened last season as well by the way.
“I wouldn’t blame ten Hag right now. You can pick at his team selection or whatever but this is a bigger problem, a wider problem.”
Midfielder Bruno Fernandes, meanwhile, has been accused of getting “away with murder” on the football field by a former Premier League striker.
Gabby Agbonlahor blasted the Portuguese star on the well-known British radio station talkSPORT.
“For me, Fernandes, since he’s been in the Premier League, yes he’s had great stats, goal scoring and assists but he looks like the worst teammate,” Agbonlagor said.
“Every time a player gives it away, every time he gives it away, he throws his arms up at his teammates, he throws his arms up at the bench.
“I’ve played with players like him, you’d be smoking at him. He’ll press now and then. If that was Paul Pogba they would be slaughtering Pogba in the media.
“Fernandes gets away with murder. Did you see Fernandes do anything? It’s easy to say (Harry) Maguire, (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Marcus) Rashford, (Jadon) Sancho.”
The Red Devils failed to qualify for this year’s Champions League after finishing sixth in the 2021/22 Premier League season – 35 points behind champions Manchester City.
While they appear set to sign Adrien Rabiot from Juventus, French journalist Julien Laurens also slammed United’s transfer strategy.
“They are not helping themselves,” Laurens told BBC Radio 5 Live’s EuroLeagues podcast.
“The non-existence of a transfer strategy, not just now but since Fergie (Sir Alex Ferguson) left, is not just baffling, it’s outrageous.”
The club have reached a new low as a non-league side threw a jab, literally laughing in the wake of United’s horror loss.
Oldham Athletic’s chairman Frank Rothwell was interviewed after his side’s 3-2 win over Dorking Wanderers, where he made the most of his chance to have a dig.
“Do you know what’s happening to United?” Rothwell said, before he reportedly began to laugh.
Manchester United face rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Tuesday week and when it comes to their future