Whilst we bathe in the glow of a win, regardless of the performance, SCOTT ROBSON takes us through his player ratings.
Nick Pope – 7
Vital early save when he made himself big to block Hickey, as United going behind at that point would have seen a different game entirely. Seemed to lose a deep cross in the second half when Brentford ought to have equalised, but in all honesty he didn’t have that much to do and what he did do was cool and unfussy.
Dan Burn – 7
Brentford had obviously targeted him early on as he did get dragged out a few times in the first half. Howe countered that by telling him to get forward more in the second period which dragged out Mee and Collins. In that respect Burn did ok in tandem with Barnes and he made a vital interception late on after we lost the ball.
Sven Botman – 6
Cleared a very dangerous cross out at full stretch in the first half but like most of our defence Botman looked bamboozled by Brentford’s runners and did not look comfortable. He improved after the break as the play was at the other end. Just as big Sven likes it.
Fabian Schar – 7
Obligatory lengthy injury scare? Tick. Shot from a distance ? Tick. Stands over a free kick he’s never going to take? Tick. Great pass and sound at the back? Tick. Never change Fabian.
Kieran Trippier – 8
First half saw a few loose balls and a sky into the leazers, but that was immaterial really. That was just a prelude to the second half where Trippier came into his own. When he’s in that sort of fettle, United are seeing games through. He was desperate to win tonight and it showed. Looks like he’s got a decent career ahead of him, this lad.
Sean Longstaff – 7
Looked rusty and quite nervous in the first twenty minutes as Brentford made life uncomfortable for us in our own area but after that he did what Longstaff does. Got his head down, mopped up possession, gradually winning the midfield battle and improving as the game went on. Job done. Please though, stop shouting ‘shoot’ when he gets the ball near the edge of the box. It’s not big, it’s not clever.
Bruno Guimaraes – 7
Ironic that my favourite Bruno moment saw him booked. The fire we hadn’t seen this season ignited when he thought he had been fouled and got up and clattered one of theirs. Love it. Still not running games but an improved showing, certainly. Should have scored with that header but also did his fair share of work in the second half and like Trippier was desperate to win.
Elliot Anderson – 6
The question of whether Anderson genuinely, really can, long term, be a regular starter is still nowhere near being answered after tonight’s performance. Great ball for Barnes up the wing in the first half but didn’t do it anywhere near enough. I really wanted him to take the game by the scruff of the neck but he didn’t really.
Anthony Gordon – 7
Like in most of the games so far this season he continues to be the go to player to create the spark and get the crowd going. First half he certainly did that, coming inside a lot more than usual and of course got us the penalty which I gather was a bit dubious. Even better.
Faded a bit as the game went on but messed on with Wilson in the corner near the end which I found extremely satisfying.
Harvey Barnes – 6
Like Anderson, didn’t really take advantage of getting a start but unlike Anderson was always in the game. Needed to quicken things up like most other players in the first half and had a cross palmed out in the second as he improved. Early days I suppose.
Callum Wilson – 8
I don’t know if it was just me but it’s been a long time since I remember St James’ being as tense as that before a penalty was taken. The fact that Wilson stepped up with that pressure and completely blew the anxiety away takes him up a couple of points. It was a big, big penalty, the sort of one that can change the course of a season and his 11th successful one in a row.
First half he didn’t really do much but Wilson was a right pest in the second and should really have had another goal after the keeper dropped the ball.
Miguel Almiron, for Barnes 83 minutes- 6
Added a bit of energy, as he tends to do, as it dawned on Howe that we might have 37 minutes of injury time to navigate.