Jose Mourinho will be gunning for another win as Manchester United travel to face Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday in the second gameweek of the Premier League.
Brighton did not have the best of starts to the 2018-19 campaign. An almost trepid performance in the 2-0 defeat to Watford would be worrying signs for Chris Hughton. The priority and aim for Brighton is likely to be survival again for the new season. Keeping the priority aside, they would also like to break their duck in the new campaign as early as possible.
Manchester United did not get off to a high-flying start. But, three points were more than welcome by Jose Mourinho, with several of the regulars not being available for first-team duty. What impressed people was the positivity shown by the eleven that were on the pitch, compared to the previous season when the play was a bit drab.
Manchester United would have learnt to be wary of the threat that Brighton will pose on Sunday. The 1-0 defeat at the same ground last year was one of the results that Jose Mourinho would like to improve upon in the 2018-19 campaign. Brighton, on the other hand, will be hoping for a repeat of the result.
As Manchester United travel to take on Brighton, we run the rule over the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
Brighton & Hove Albion
Chris Hughton will not be too concerned by the 2-0 defeat to Watford, with only one of the new signings featuring in the starting lineup. With an extended period gone by, Hughton will have seen the arrivals gel in with the rest of the team, which is likely to mean a start for some of them, if not all.
Mathew Ryan should retain his spot between the posts. The back four is likely to remain largely the same, with the only potential change coming in the form of Martin Montoya taking the place of his compatriot Bruno.
Chris Hughton is in for a tough selection choice as to where Yves Bissouma will fit in the midfield. The former Lille star should ideally partner Davy Propper at the base of the 4-2-3-1. But, Bissouma replacing Gross as the number 10 would not be a total surprise either.
Alireza Jahanbaksh is almost certain to be handed his first start in a Brighton jersey. But, the left wing area could pose a slight problem. Anthony Knockeart can do more than a decent job on the left. But, in case Chris Hughton deems Jose Izquierdo fit enough to start, the Colombian will command the left side of the Brighton attack.
Glen Murray should hold on to the role of the lone forward for now. But, the target man could soon find his place under threat by Jurgen Locadia and new arrival Florin Andone.
Brighton are not easily fazed by the opponents and will look to be playing their own game. Their 4-2-3-1 converts into a tight 4-5-1 to crowd up the midfield and not let the opposition find the gaps with ease. The same should be the case on Sunday.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ryan; Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo; Propper, Bissouma; Jahanbaksh, Gross, Izquierdo; Murray
Jose Mourinho is likely to retain most of the starters from their 2-1 win over Leicester City. Luke Shaw seems to back on his road to redemption and should keep Ashley Young away from the starting lineup, at least for Sunday.
The centre-back pairing of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof are very young in terms of being paired together but already showed positive signs against Leicester, despite some questionable moments.
The problem area will be the right side. Matteo Darmian has stayed back beyond the Italian transfer window, meaning the defender is likely to be a Manchester United player, at least until January. In the wake of injuries to Antonio Valencia and new arrival Diogo Dalot, Darmian was deputised on the right against Leicester.
But, the Italian was often caught out on pace and positioning. For now though, Mourinho will place his faith in Darmian to pull through till Valencia recovers. The midfield three should remain the same, with the trio of Paul Pogba, Andreas Pereira and Fred showing good chemistry on the pitch.
Marcus Rashford looked a shadow of his own self and is likely to be replaced by Romelu Lukaku upfront. Juan Mata should have done enough to retain his place on the right. There are rumours that Alexis Sanchez has not travelled for the match against Brighton. If it turns out to be the case, we could see Anthony Martial start on the left.
Alternatively, Mourinho could choose one of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard to fill Alexis Sanchez’s spot.
Manchester United’s midfield showed some smooth and intricate passing that the fans had not seen for a while. The same is likely to continue as Mourinho will not want to break the newfound rhythm of the squad, especially till Nemanja Matic remains on the sidelines.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, Pereira, Pogba; Mata, Lukaku, Martial
1. Manchester United to win @ 1.80
2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 2.20
3. Romelu Lukaku to score anytime @ 2.20
1. Manchester United to score in both halves – YES @ 3.00
1. Brighton have conceded at least 2 goals in each of their last 3 Premier League games.
2. Of the 3 times the two sides have met in all competitions in recent times, the home side has always come out on top.
3. Manchester United lost four of their five away Premier League games played on a Sunday in the 2017-18 season.
4. Manchester United have failed to score in their last two away games in the Premier League. They have not gone three without a goal since April 2005.
5. Romelu Lukaku has scored against 17 of the 20 Premier League teams. Brighton are one of the 3 teams he is yet to score against, with Cardiff and Wolves being the other two.
Player to Watch
Honestly, Andreas Pereira was the best midfielder for Manchester United throughout the pre-season. And while he did not overshadow Pogba and Fred against Leicester, he was more than able to match up to them. His range of passing and vision has been lauded by the fans and it is something that could be crucial in unlocking tough defences like Brighton.
Pereira’s quick and crisp passes could leave Brighton defenders confused to an extent, something the Manchester United players can take advantage of. Definitely the man to watch on Sunday.
Brighton 0-4 Manchester United
As mentioned above, Jose Mourinho would have learnt from his mistakes during some away games last season, one of the prime examples being the defeat to Brighton. The manager is unlikely to set up his squad with a defensive outlook against such teams.
The choice of 4-3-3 is also likely to result in a fluid playing style, which should be able to break down Brighton’s resistant defence. Expect goals to rain on Sunday. We back Manchester United to record a huge win against Brighton.