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Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United – Premier League 2017/18

Brighton and Hove Albion -v- Manchester United

Amex Stadium, Brighton

Premier League 2017/18

Friday 4th May 2018; KO 20:00 BST

Live on Sky Sports Premier League HD in the United Kingdom

Manchester United travel to the Amex Stadium to face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Friday evening. United have three matches left in the league; Brighton (A), West Ham United (A) and Watford (H), plus an Emirates FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley, which could end their season in style – with another trophy. It has not been the best season but in terms of improvement, it has been a positive season. United have beaten more top six teams than they did last season, also winning more matches, scoring more goals and drawing fewer matches, something which was a problem last season. Those who say improvement has not been made need to face the facts, not make them up to fit their own agenda.

The playing style is something that needs to improve with Jose Mourinho adopting a more pragmatic style of play, which if you look into it, rather than being incensed about it, is because United’s defence, despite being second-best in the league this season, has been largely inconsistent. There needs to be a central defensive partnership, one which is allowed to grow, rather than swapping and changing. United’s fullbacks require some work too, both of the first-choice fullbacks are not actually fullbacks, converted wingers to be correct, which shows the actual fullbacks at the club up as they have not really made anything easier. Mourinho has been credited with an interest in signing fullbacks this summer, which could highlight more improvement next season.

Form: Five wins in the last six for Manchester United, who are in great form at this important time; Brighton winless in their last six matches

Manchester United: WWWLWW – Arsenal 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W, Bournemouth 2-0 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 L, Manchester City 3-2 W, Swansea City 2-0 W

Brighton and Hove Albion: LDDWLD – Burnley 0-0 D, Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 3-2 L, Huddersfield Town 1-1 D. Leicester City 2-0 L, Manchester United 2-0 L

Top Scorers (all competitions): Manchester United have scored 100 goals in all competitions; Brighton have scored 39 goals in all competitions

Manchester United: 27 – Romelu Lukaku, 13 – Jesse Lingard, 12 – Marcus Rashford, 11 – Anthony Martial, 6 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Marouane Fellaini, 4 – Chris Smalling, 3 – Juan Mata, Alexis Sanchez, Antonio Valencia, 2 – Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ashley Young, 1 – Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Brighton and Hove Albion: 14 – Glenn Murray, 6 – Pascal Groß, 5 – Jose Izquierdo, 3 – Anthony Knockaert, 2 – Tomer Hemed, Jürgen Locadia, 1 – Lewis Dunk, Own Goal, Connor Goldson, Solly March, Dale Stephens, James Tilley, Leonardo Ulloa

Previous Matches: Manchester United have been dominant against Brighton, losing once in 18 matches

Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion have played 18 times in the history of both clubs. This will be the third time United and Brighton have faced each other this season, the first time United have visited the Amex Stadium, the previous two matches this season both being played at Old Trafford. United have only been beaten once by Brighton, on the 6th November 1982, a 1-0 defeat in the old Football League Division One. United have won twelve times, drawing five times. United won 1-0 in the reverse Premier League fixture this season, winning 2-0 in the FA Cup.

Team News: Eric Bailly back for Manchester United, however, Romelu Lukaku will miss this game

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Romelu Lukaku will miss the trip to Brighton on Friday evening. Mourinho, speaking in his press conference on Friday, said:

“I don’t know. I just know that, of course, [he is] not [available] tomorrow. Apart from that, we need to wait for more scans, more time, but not [available] tomorrow.”

When asked if Lukaku will be fit for the Emirates FA Cup final, against one of his former clubs, Chelsea, Mourinho said:

“I hope so. It looks positive, yeah.”

Sergio Romero still seems to be out of action after suffering an injury whilst playing for Argentina in March. Eric Bailly is back in the squad though after missing the Spurs victory due to sickness. Mourinho did give an extended brief as to why the Ivorian has missed the last few matches, saying:

“Bailly is fine, no injury. He is one of our five central defenders and honestly, my work is not about World Cups and preparing players for the World Cup or giving chances to players to do the World Cup, but he’s the only central defender whose country’s not in the World Cup.

“So, if I have to make a kind of more emotional, effective choice to try to help my players, he’s the one I am not going to help until the end of the season. Because, of course, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, all of them are wishing to make the squad for the World Cup and Eric is not under that pressure.

“I try to be a good team manager and that means being cold, being selfish, but I am not as bad as that and I still have space for a little bit of feelings. So, when I look to the other four central defenders fighting for a position in the World Cup, I’m giving less [time] to Eric.”

Predicted Starting XI: Anthony Martial to lead the line with Romelu Lukaku on the sidelines through injury?

Predicted Score: Another clean sheet for David De Gea with Manchester United strengthening their bid to finish second this season

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-2 Manchester United

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