Manchester United will be eyeing a third consecutive victory in all competitions when they take on Brighton & Albion on Tuesday.
Following a strenuous FA Cup tie against Norwich City, Manchester United are set to travel to Amex on Tuesday as they take on Brighton & Hove Albion. It will be an excellent chance for them to secure their third consecutive victories in all competitions, although they needed extra time to beat Norwich on the weekend.
But more importantly, the Red Devils will have an opportunity to overtake Wolverhampton Wanderers this week. They are currently sixth in the league table, trailing Wolves by three points. But, a superior goal difference means a win should be enough to not only assume the fifth position but also put pressure on fourth-placed Chelsea.
Brighton & Hove Albion, meanwhile, are coming into this game with good heart, having secured a shocking 2-1 win over Arsenal and a draw with high-flying Leicester City in their last two matches. They have also had a good week-long rest, which should potentially give them an advantage when it comes to overall fatigue.
At the same time, however, the Seagulls will be well aware of the fact that Manchester United would present a more difficult challenge than Arsenal. Additionally, Graham Potter’s men are pretty much still in the relegation scrap, meaning a defeat could be costly as it will allow West Ham, Bournemouth and Aston Villa to close the gap.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this crucial encounter in the Premier League this midweek.
Tactics & Team News
Brighton & Hove Albion
Uncertainties are brewing over the fitness of key defender Adam Webster heading into this game. Coach Graham Potter has admitted that he is “touch and go” for the clash against Manchester United. But, in case he does miss out, Shane Duffy is more than ready to take his place in central defence, alongside Lewis Dunk.
Mat Ryan is a guaranteed starter in goal as well as Dan Burn at left-back. But, on the opposite flank, the experience of Martin Montoya could be useful, ahead of a younger, unproven individual in Tariq Lamptey.
Graham introduced a 4-4-2 in the last game against Leicester City. But, he is expected to revert to a 4-3-3 with Davy Propper being an ever-present figure in the holding midfield slot.
The Dutchman is set to be partnered by Aaron Mooy and Yves Bissouma, both of who will be tasked with the responsibility of providing more steel in Brighton’s second line of press.
Things could get much more complicated in the attack, however.
Neal Maupay became a hot topic for his performance against Arsenal earlier this month. And despite pressure from Aaron Connolly, the Frenchman is expected to spearhead the Brighton attack. There will be changes out wide, though, with Leandro Trossard and Solly March coming into the team.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Burn; Bissouma, Propper, Mooy; March, Maupay, Trossard
Manchester United had a host of their first-team regulars starting on the bench in the FA Cup clash against Norwich on the weekend. And manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is more than expected to revert those changes, starting from David de Gea, who is set to replace Sergio Romero in goal.
Harry Maguire was excellent against the Canaries and has been in fine form over the past two matches. Hence, he is a guaranteed starter in central defence. But he is set to have Victor Lindelof back as his defensive partner, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka is also tipped to return to the side, at the expense of Diogo Dalot.
More changes are expected in central midfield, with Scott Mctominay likely to make way for the in-f0rm Nemanja Matic. The Serbian is expected to operate in the number six role, screening the backline and distributing possession from the deeper areas of the pitch.
Slightly further forward, Paul Pogba could also come in, at the expense of Fred. The Frenchman will join forces with Bruno Fernandes, forming the creative combination that could cause problems for the Brighton & Hove Albion defence.
And finally, in attack, we are expecting a complete overhaul, with Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial all returning to the side at the expense of Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Odion Ighalo.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fernandes, Matic, Pogba; Greenwood, Martial, Rashford
- Brighton have won their last three top-flight home games against Manchester United, in a run stretching back to 1982.
- Manchester United have lost both of their Premier League away games against Brighton. Only against Chelsea (2003-2006), Everton (2012-2015), Liverpool (2008-2011), Southampton (1996-1998) and Tottenham (2016-2018) have they lost three consecutive away Premier League games against an opponent.
- All five Premier League meetings between Brighton and Man Utd have been won by the home side – the most played Premier League fixture with the home side winning 100 per cent of the time.
- Brighton are unbeaten in their last three Premier League matches, with all three of these games coming against sides starting in the top half of the table (Wolves, Arsenal, Leicester). They last had a longer unbeaten league run between January-March 2018 (5 games).
- Brighton have kept two clean sheets in their last three Premier League games, as many as they had in their previous 20 in the competition. The exception in this three-game run was against Arsenal, where they won having conceded the first goal for the first time in the Premier League this season.
Player to Watch
Martial is currently Manchester United’s man of the moment. He has become a hot topic in the Premier League due to his performances since the turn of the year, with the forward notably scoring six goals in his last six league matches.
Three of those goals came in the 3-0 win over Sheffield United, where he looked virtually unstoppable. And although the Frenchman did not start against Norwich City, he has shown an incredible hunger in front of goal that could be critical in Manchester United’s bid to dismantle Brighton & Hove Albion this weekend.
Martial’s importance in the side is further accentuated by the fact that Rashford is in a seemingly alarming run of form. Therefore, the onus will be on him to deliver the good in front of goal this midweek.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Manchester United
Brighton are more than capable of pulling off surprises. And it was evident in their recent performances against Arsenal and Leicester City. But on the flip side, their lack of invention going forward, combined with the potential absence of Webster gives Manchester United a massive advantage heading into this fixture.
The Red Devils are also in a decent run of form at the moment and have been putting in inspiring performances, especially following the return of Pogba. Hence, we are expecting the visitors to seal a narrow victory at Amex on Tuesday.