Manchester United vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Venue: Amex Stadium
TV: Sky Sports Premier League
Referee: Kevin Friend
Having beat a lively Leicester City side last Friday night, Manchester United will feel confident as they travel to the Amex Stadium to a face a lackluster Brighton that managed no shots on target during their previous match against Watford.
Despite a tempestuous preseason, Manchester United have returned to the Premier League in winning fashion which has for now, calmed the nerves of many fans. Mourinho has traditionally fallen away in the latter stages of many of his managerial tenures, but the Red Devil’s performance against Leicester suggests that Mourinho will be looking to match or supersede last season’s performance. With the likes of Lukaku and Lingard almost guaranteed to return, United are poised to continue their winning ways, reinforcing a squad that played well against the Foxes, but clearly lacked a finishing touch.
Unlike Manchester United, Brighton will likely feel unsure of themselves this Sunday as they were considered fortunate to have not lost a by a larger margin last Saturday against Watford. Surely Hughton is hopeful that the Seagull’s performance is not a preview of the rest of their season. Although the Englishman could have reasoned that the loss was due to the fact he only started the game with one of his new signings, he made no such excuse.
“We have some new signings but the team that played today was the same as last season, so no excuses,” said Hughton.
There were quite a few positives to gather from United’s performance against Leicester with Paul Pogba’s and Luke Shaw’s performance’s being the highlights. Despite rumors of the Frenchman being shipped off to Barcelona, Paul Pogba seems fully committed to Mourinho’s plan for him at United jumping from the World Cup to league play seamlessly. To add, the World Cup winner orchestrated many of United’s more dangerous moves but pleased his manager in that he also tracked back to stop many of Leicester’s counter attacks. Although Pogba has heavily criticized last season and even this summer, the Frenchman seems to have quite the season ahead of him.
Despite being out of favor for much of his time at United, Luke Shaw presented a strong case for himself to be the Red Devil’s left back this season. In fact, Mourinho described Shaw’s return to the Premier League as “the complete performance, and if the Englishman can remain fit, Young may be the one looking on from the bench this season.
Brighton’s performance against Watford was wholly unexpected when one considers the team’s new signings and the commotion surrounding their second season in the Premier League. There were few positives to gather from their opening match, and perhaps the only promising aspect of the match is that they didn’t concede more goals. On their key players and defenders, Bruno, was injured which likely affected the outcome of the match, but even that detail does not excuse the Seagull’s shambolic performance.
Brighton will be looking to capitalize on their next chance as difficult as it maybe, and Hughton will be encouraged by the fact that Leicester troubled United for much of the match last Friday. Groß, Murray, and Knockeart will likely be looking to exploit United’s right side where Juan Mata and Matteo Darmian failed to impress for United, but it remains to be seen how Hughton and his men will rein in the likes of Sanchez, Lingard, and Lukaku especially with their defensive shortcomings which were evident against Watford.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Manchester United: 4-3-3: DeGea; Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, Pereira, Pogba; Mata, Rashford, Sanchez.
Brighton: 4-4-1-1: Mat Ryan; Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo; Knockaert, Stephens, Pröpper, Solly March; Groß, Murray
Score Prediction: Manchester United 2 Brighton 0
It is very unlikely that Brighton will conjure up an effective plan to stop United, and with many of the Red Devil’s World Cup players returning it is likely that the squad that will travel to the Amex will be stronger than the one which faced Leicester. Brighton may trouble United for brief periods as Leicester did, but Brighton look very vulnerable to United’s counter attacks. A disorganized Brighton will not be well-prepared for such an early challenge against Mourinho’s men.