Preview: Back to basics for Manchester United against Brighton; Mata is the glue that binds the team


Manchester United -v- Brighton and Hove Albion

Old Trafford, Manchester

Emirates FA Cup 2017/18

Saturday 17th March 2018; KO 19:45 GMT

Live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom

Manchester United face Brighton and Hove Albion in the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford on Saturday evening. United have had some great results recently, beating Chelsea and Crystal Palace in the Premier League, coming from behind in both matches, then beating Liverpool last weekend, putting some distance between them and United. On Tuesday night though at the Theatre of Dreams, United needed to beat Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League. They lost 2-1 after a very poor performance – a performance which saw the best of Romelu Lukaku and Eric Bailly, but showed a weakness amongst the remainder of the team.

This match will now be the biggest match of the remainder of the season for United, their only chance to win a trophy. Whilst many may have suggested that United could be the favourites in the Emirates FA Cup a few weeks ago, the fact that Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur remain in the competition – both teams also exiting the Champions League at the same stage as United, meaning this is their only chance to fight for silverware this season. United will need to concentrate on beating Brighton, beating them well, playing an attacking game to get the result, then defending their lead – not defending from the very start of the match, which will end up heading in the same direction as the match against Sevilla earlier in the week.

Form: Both United and Brighton are in the same form; one defeat, one draw and four wins in their last six matches

Manchester United: LWWWDW – Sevilla 2-1 L, Liverpool 2-1 W, Crystal Palace 3-2 W, Chelsea 2-1 W, Sevilla 0-0 D, Huddersfield Town 2-0 W

Brighton and Hove Albion: LWWWDW – Everton 2-0 L, Arsenal 2-1 W, Swansea City 4-1 W, Coventry City 3-1 W, Stoke City 1-1 D, West Ham United 3-1 W

Top Scorers (all competitions): United have scored 87 goals this season; Brighton have scored just 34 goals this season

Manchester United: 24 – Romelu Lukaku, 13 – Jesse Lingard, 12 – Marcus Rashford, 11 – Anthony Martial, 4 – Marouane Fellaini, 3 – Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, 2 – Own Goal, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young, 1 – Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Nemanja Matic, Alexis Sanchez

Brighton and Hove Albion: 13 – Glenn Murray, 4 – Pascal Groß, Jose Izquierdo, 3 – Anthony Knockaert, 2 – Tomer Hemed, Jurgen Locadia, 1 – Lewis Dunk, Connor Goldson, Solly March, Dale Stephens, James Tilley, Leonardo Ulloa

Previous Matches: Manchester United have only been beaten by Brighton once in 109 years

Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion have played 17 times in the history of both clubs. The first match was played on the 16th January 1909 – a 1-0 victory for United in the FA Cup. United have won 11 times, drawn five times and been defeated just once – a 1-0 defeat in the old Football League Division One on the 6th November 1982 – exactly four years before Sir Alex Ferguson was named the manager of the Old Trafford club. United have beaten Brighton at Old Trafford earlier this season, a 1-0 victory with Lewis Dunk scoring an own goal. Jose Mourinho’s side will need to do that again, but in a much better way to bounce back from defeat on Tuesday.

Team News: The same squad which fell to defeat against Sevilla will be available for Mourinho; Jones, Rojo, Blind, Herrera, and Ibrahimovic sit out

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho confirmed that the same squad of players to face Sevilla on Tuesday will be available for the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final clash with Brighton and Hove Albion. Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Zlatan Ibrahimovic remain on the sidelines through injury. Brighton manager Chris Hughton will be without Anthony Knockaert, who will serve a three-match suspension after being sent off last weekend, and Steve Sidwell, who has a back problem. The Brighton manager also stated that Gaetan Bong and Dale Stephens were both doubtful with minor injuries. Hughton is unsure whether to start number one goalkeeper Mat Ryan or Tim Krul at the Theatre of Dreams.

Predicted Starting XI: Back to basics for United; Pogba more advanced, trusted midfield with Mata the glue that binds the team

Predicted Score: Manchester United should have what it takes to brush Brighton aside, but will they?

Manchester United 2-0 Brighton and Hove Albion

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copyright: JW

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