Manchester United will return to Premier League action on Tuesday evening when they face Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were in action in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday evening, beating Norwich City 2-1, albeit after extra time which could cause freshness issues in Solskjaer’s side for this match. However, his squad is big enough to stop this from being a problem.
Brighton have not been in great form recently, although they did beat Arsenal 2-1 in the match previous to the 0-0 draw against Leicester City, which would have given Graham Potter’s side a week’s rest ahead of the visit of United, who will be seeking to keep their unbeaten run going, extending it with yet another victory, taking all three points back to Old Trafford, keeping chase on Chelsea.
United and Brighton have played five times in the Premier League with United winning three and losing twice. In total, United have scored eight goals conceding six. Both United and Brighton have kept one clean sheet. United have been awarded two penalties, scoring both with Brighton awarded one and scoring it. In total, United have received four yellow cards. Brighton have received 10 yellow cards. Neither team have had a player sent off.
This will be another important match for Solskjaer as he looks to break into the top four of the Premier League, which with Chelsea sitting five points clear, is going to be a tough task. Another victory on the road for United will be a big boost for the remainder of the season. If United are to achieve UEFA Champions League football next season, winning every match will be needed in the hope Chelsea slip up or that Manchester City’s European ban is upheld.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday evening…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
The Spanish number one was rested for the 2-1 victory over Norwich City which earned United a semi-final place in the Emirates FA Cup, which will be played against Chelsea next month. De Gea made a mistake against Tottenham Hotspur in the first match back after the coronavirus pandemic, keeping a clean sheet in the 3-0 victory over Sheffield United. He will be fit and ready to go against Brighton on Tuesday evening.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw
United have a strong defence and despite conceding a poor goal against Norwich City on Saturday, they were resurgent despite three changes being made, including the goalkeeper. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof will be expected to return to the starting XI with Harry Maguire, who scored the winning goal in the FA Cup, and Luke Shaw keeping their places in the team. With injuries to Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones, Solskjaer will most likely choose to utilise Eric Bailly and Brandon Williams from the bench, if needed.
Midfield: Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba
The midfield seems to be the key area in the team right now. With Fred and Scott McTominay, there does not seem to be enough balance for both Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes to play at the same time. Nemanja Matic stabilises that at this moment in time and it is something that the likes of Fred and McTominay could evolve with, seeing his Matic plays with Pogba, which I think would be the best option for Solskjaer when United face Brighton. However, Solskjaer might think of something else to try in this match.
Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood
Attacking wise, creativity was not really a problem against Norwich but the finishing was poor most of the time with many chances being missed. Granted, it could have been a bad day at the office or could be just another indication that Solskjaer has some problems to deal with. Against Brighton, he should keep Bruno Fernandes in the centre with Marcus Rashford on the left and Mason Greenwood on the right. This could help solve some of the problems for United in both creativity and finishing. Players can have a bad spell, they are not robots.
Striker: Anthony Martial
The Frenchman was involved in four goals in his last two matches for the club, scoring a hat-trick against Sheffield United during the week and assisting the winning goal against Norwich City in the FA Cup on Saturday evening, which Harry Maguire scored. Anthony Martial was missed against Norwich and brought on six minutes into extra time, so he will be rested enough to play a part against Brighton with United needing all three points from the match.
Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Eric Bailly, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James, Scott McTominay; Odion Ighalo
From the bench, Solskjaer will have five substitutes for the remainder of the season, which is a good thing for the game. Granted, he can only have three substitution slots, for a total of five players, not five individual substitutes. Sergio Romero will be back on the bench. In defence Eric Bailly and Brandon Williams will be there if needed. In midfield. Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James and Scott McTominay could be called upon with Odion Ighalo in attack, if needed.