Manchester United scored three second-half goals with Anthony Elanga and Marcus Rashford both getting in on the act as they saw off Brentford, who missed several first-half opportunities
Manchester United showed their class in the second-half against Brentford as they left London with all three points.
Academy stars Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford all found the net for the visitors, who were fortunate to go in level at the break.
The Bees spurned several chances in the first 45 with David de Gea regularly called upon.
Ralf Rangnick’s instructions clearly produced the desired reaction and Elanga’s smart touch and finish opened the scoring in the 55th minute.
Greenwood soon doubled the visitors’ lead, his first strike in the league since October, when he slotted into an empty net after a neat counter-attack.
Cristiano Ronaldo was hauled off with 20 minutes remaining and looked less than impressed despite his side being just two points off fourth place.
Marcus Rashford came off the bench to notch a much-needed goal having looked bereft of confidence in recent weeks as Ivan Toney bagged a late consolation.
Here are five talking points from the capital.
1 Elanga stakes his case
The teenager has been patient at Old Trafford but is wasting no time in taking his chance.
Elanga opted against moving out on loan in the summer and has started the last two games, marking his second with a goal.
United are not short of attacking options but the Swede is doing his best to remain a part of the starting XI.
He scored on the final day of last season against Wolves and finished brilliantly against Brentford this evening.
Jadon Sancho, who was absent due to personal reasons, will no doubt be looking on wondering whether his minutes may yet be further hampered.
United and no issue backing youth and Rangnick looks to be a fan.
2 Ronaldo less than impressed
He spoke this week about how his body would allow him to continue playing for several more years.
He may be 36, but Ronaldo is still looking to play every minute and continue scoring.
So being subbed off after 70 minutes didn’t sit well with him and he was seen muttering as he trudged off with Harry Maguire replacing him.
The No 7 sat on the United bench and seemed to continue bemoaning the fact he’d been hooked midway through the second-half.
Ronaldo was unable to find the net in west London and his frustration was certainly evident despite words from Rangnick on the bench.
3 Toney struggling for service
Brentford’s talisman smashed 33 goals last season – a Championship record – as they won promotion via the play offs.
However, his late goal was just his sixth so far this term, which brought him joint second in the club’s scoring charts.
There’s no doubting his workrate as he defended from the front against United and proved a handful for their defence.
He is playing a deeper role this season to allow strike partner Bryan Mbeumo the freedom to run in behind.
However, the problem for Brentford is that their most lethal marksman isn’t where they need him, getting on the end of crosses and sticking the ball away.
4 De Gea’s importance
Whilst few players have covered themselves in glory this season, David de Gea has arguably had one of his more impressive campaigns thus far.
Once thought of as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, the Spaniard’s level dipped notably for a period.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had to fend off constantly calls that Dean Henderson should replace De Gea as No 1.
The pair looked set to battle it out this year but the Spanish shotstopper has underlined his importance and did so again in west London.
He produced several big saves when Brentford enjoyed moments of dominance and has now made more saves than any other Premier League goalkeeper.
Henderson again watched on from the bench and, with De Gea on this form, he may be wondering when his opportunity will come.
5 Brentford’s keeper conundrum
Jonas Lossl was the third different goalkeeper the Bees have used in their 22 Premier League games so far this season.
The Dane, signed on loan from FC Midtjylland earlier this month, was preferred to back-up keeper Alvaro Fernandez between the sticks.
With first choice David Raya yet to return from injury, Thomas Frank must decide to stick with former Huddersfield keeper Lossl or restore Fernandez to the side.
The Spaniard has been on the end of criticism from some of his displays but kept the score down against Liverpool at the weekend.
Nevertheless, Lossl’s chances of keeping the gloves weren’t helped by the second-half collapse against the Red Devils with Brentford now shipping nine in their last three outings.