Preview: Brighton a tough task for United after 6-0 victory over Wolves; Ten Hag needs to have a plan of action

Brighton and Hove Albion -v- Manchester United

Premier League

American Express Community Stadium, Brighton

Thursday 4 May 2023, KO 20:00 BST

Manchester United travel to the American Express Community Stadium to face Brighton and Hove Albion on Thursday evening in the Premier League. United beat Brighton in their last meeting in the Emirates FA Cup semi final, winning 7-6 on penalties to set up the final against Manchester City – who are currently on a treble mission this season. Brighton beat United in the opening match of the season at Old Trafford, winning 2-1 in Erik ten Hag’s first match at the club.

United beat Aston Villa 1-0 in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday on their mission to qualify in the top four of the Premier League this season. Bruno Fernandes scored the only goal of the game. Brighton, on the other hand, beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 6-0 in a thrilling encounter which should worry United as they will need to be at their best ahead of the fixture on the South Coast of England. Brighton are seeking a European place this season and it looks good.

Despite being just two points adrift of both Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur, they have three matches in hand over the pair which could see one of them fall short of the mark for European football next season. At this moment, that seems to be Spurs who are terrible out of form and conceded goals so easily. United are seven points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool with a game in hand over them. I looks unlikely that the top four will change this season. Which is good for United.

Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Aston Villa 1-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 D, Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 (7-6) W, Sevilla 3-0 L, Nottingham Forest 2-0 W, Sevilla 2-2 D

Goals: 29 – Marcus Rashford, 11 – Bruno Fernandes, 8 – Antony, 7 – Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho, 6 – Fred, 5 – Casemiro, Own Goal, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Scott McTominay, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcel Sabitzer, 2 – Diogo Dalot, Christian Eriksen, Wout Weghorst, 1 – Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw

Assists: 12 – Bruno Fernandes, 9 – Christian Eriksen, Marcus Rashford, 6 – Casemiro, Luke Shaw, 5 – Fred, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Anthony Martial, Wout Weghorst, 2 – Antony, Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Scott McTominay, Facundo Pellistri, Marcel Sabitzer, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Brighton and Hove Albion – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Wolverhampton Wanderers 6-0 W, Nottingham Forest 3-1 L, Manchester United 0-0 (7-6) L, Chelsea 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 L, Bournemouth 2-0 W

Goals: 10 – Alexis Mac Allister, Kaoru Mitoma, 9 – Pascal Groß, 8 – Evan Ferguson, Solly March, 7 – Leandro Trossard, Danny Welbeck, 5 – Deniz Undav, 3 – Adam Lallana, 2 – Lewis Dunk, Julio Enciso, 1 – Steven Alzate, Facundo Buonanotte, Moisés Caicedo, Tariq Lamptey, Joël Veltman

Assists: 8 – Pascal Groß, Solly March, 6 – Pervis Estupiñán, Kaoru Mitoma, 3 – Julio Enciso, Evan Ferguson, Danny Welbeck, 2 – Alexis Mac Allister, Jeremy Sarmiento, Leandro Trossard, 1 – Facundo Buonanotte, Moisés Caicedo, Billy Gilmour, Adam Lallana, Tariq Lamptey, Enock Mwepu, Cameron Peupion, Jason Steele, Deniz Undav, Joël Veltman, Adam Webster

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Brighton have met 11 times in the Premier League. United have won seven times and lost four times. United have scored 19 goals, winning three penalties, scoring all of them. Brighton have scored 15 goals, won two penalties, scoring both. United have kept three clean sheets with Brighton keeping two. Discipline has been an issue with United players shown 18 yellow cards and no red cards. Brighton players have been shown 18 yellow cards and one red card.

United have been unlucky against Brighton in the Premier League this season. They met on the opening weekend of the season at Old Trafford, beating United 2-1. Pascal Groß opened the scoring on the half hour, striking against nine minutes later to double the Seagulls’ lead. A 68th minute Alexis Mac Allister own goal gave United something to chase but they were unable to break Brighton down. The FA Cup victory over them is the only one this season. They look good.

Danny Welbeck is the only current player to have a history with both teams but in the past the likes of Oliver Norwood, James Wilson, Jesse Lingard, Tomasz Kuszczak, Robbie Savage, Frank Stapleton, Andy Ritchie and Mickey Thomas have all played for both United and Brighton.Welbeck has made 79 appearances for Brighton, scoring 17 goals and a further nine assists. This season has been positive for him with five goals and three assists, playing better in this half of the season.

Team News

Lisandro Martinez (ankle/foot), Donny van de Beek (knee), Raphael Varane (ankle/foot), Alejandro Garnacho (ankle/foot) and Tom Heaton (ankle) have all been ruled out of the visit to Brighton on Thursday evening through injury. Scott McTominay (knock) has only a 25% chance of featuring in this match, which kind of rules him out. That said, Ten Hag will be clear with the squad he has available in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

United will need to start utilising the squad depth at this stage of the season with their participation in the UEFA Champions League next season not yet confirmed and big players for the club needing rest ahead of the FA Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley next month. The likes of Fred, Marcel Sabitzer, Facundo Pellistri, Zidane Iqbal, Anthony Elanga and Wout Weghorst all seeking more game time. Ten Hag could promote some talented youth players too.

Tariq Lamptey (knee), Joel Veltman (muscular), Jeremy Sarmiento (ankle/foot), Jakub Moder (knee) and Adam Lallana (thigh) have all been ruled out of the visit of United on Thursday evening at the AmEx Stadium. Evan Ferguson (ankle/foot) has a 50% chance of being involved against United but with him being a young player, he may be given longer to prove that he is fit for the remainder of the season – after starting brightly with many clubs interested in him this summer.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

De Gea;

Dalot, Lindelof, Shaw, Malacia;

Casemiro, Eriksen;

Antony, Fernandes, Sancho;


Predicted Brighton and Hove Albion Starting XI – 4-2-3-1


Veltman, Webster, Dunk, Estupiñan;

Groß, Gilmour;

March, Mac Allister, Mitoma;


Match Prediction

United will need to be at the top of their game against Brighton. The two sides were unlucky at Wembley in the Emirates FA Cup semi final a few weeks back with neither side scoring a goal in two hours and needing a penalty shootout to decide the winner, which was United. This time, Brighton have been on a seemingly ruthless streak beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 6-0 in the Premier League on Saturday – United beat Aston Villa 1-0.

Brighton are the team to beat for United this season after losing 2-1 in their Premier League opener at Old Trafford at the start of the season. That seems like an age ago now with the majority of the season now played and United looking into a new era with the Glazers on the cusp of selling the club which would be good for the Old Trafford club. United need to finish the season in style and can do so by winning the next few Premier League matches to secure their position.

It looks likely that United will be playing UEFA Champions League football next season, which would show a good first season at the club for Erik ten Hag, who has already guided his squad to a Carabao Cup victory over Newcastle United earlier in the season. They have also reached the Emirates FA Cup final where they will face Manchester City for the trophy at the start of June. The main target this season was Champions League football, which is nearly achieved.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.