Preview: Ronaldo to continue goalscoring run against Brighton? Fernández to get his debut?

United need to win their last two matches of the season, especially after defeating Brentford 3-0

Brighton and Hove Albion -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Amex Stadium, Brighton

Saturday 7 May 2022, KO 17:30 GMT

Referee: Andy MadleyAssistants: Darren Cann, Adrian Holmes

Fourth Official: John Brooks

VAR: Chris Kavanagh – Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis

Manchester United face Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium in their penultimate Premier League match on Saturday evening. Ralf Rangnick’s side returned from poor form to beat Brentford 3-0 in the final match of the season at Old Trafford.

The goals in that match came from Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphaël Varane. It was probably one of the best performances from the squad this season, which shows that there was nothing really spectacular during the course of the season.

United will be seeking to continue their winning ways into the last two matches of the season, also allowing players who are resigned to leave the club in the summer to get some time on the pitch, also allowing youth players to get more minutes ahead of next season.

Brighton will also be seeking to keep themselves on trace with a good home performance as they look to remain inside the top ten teams in the league. United have a six point cushion over West Ham United, who have a game in hand so their UEFA Europa League participation is not yet guaranteed.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDLLWL

Brentford 3-0 W, Chelsea 1-1 D, Arsenal 3-1 L, Liverpool 4-0 L, Norwich City 3-2 W, Everton 1-0 L

Goals: 23 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 6 – Mason Greenwood, 5 – Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, 4 – Fred, 3 – Anthony Elanga, 2 – Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, 1 – Own Goal, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

Assists: 14 – Bruno Fernandes, 9 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Fred, Luke Shaw, 4 – Nemanja Matić, 3 – Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Alex Telles, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelöf, Marcus Rashford, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Elanga, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Raphaël Varane

Brighton and Hove Albion – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDLWWD

Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 W, Southampton 2-2 D, Manchester City 3-0 L, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W, Arsenal 2-1 W, Norwich City 0-0 D

Goals: 9 – Neal Maupay, 7 – Leandro Trossard, 5 – Alexis Mac Allister, 4 – Danny Welbeck, 3 – Enock Mwepu, Adam Webster, 2 – Yves Bissouma, Aaron Connolly, Jakub Moder, 1 – Dan Burn, Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk, Andi Zeqiri

Assists: 5 – Enock Mwepu, 4 – Alexis Mac Allister, Jakub Moder, 3 – Pascal Groß, 2 – Moisés Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Tariq Lamptey, Neal Maupay, 1 – Yves Bissouma, Evan Ferguson, Adam Lallana, Solly March, Leandro Trossard, Joël Veltman, Danny Welbeck

Previous meetings with Brighton and their connections with United.

United and Brighton have met nine times in the Premier League. United have won seven times, drawn zero times with Brighton winning two times. United have scored 18 goals, winning three penalties, scoring all of them. Brighton have scored nine goals, winning two penalties, scoring both of them.

United have kept three clean sheets with Brighton keeping one. Discipline has been an issue with United players receiving 12 yellow cards and no red cards and Brighton players being shown 17 yellow cards and one red card. United need to continue the run they started against Brentford.

Danny Welbeck, Oliver Norwood, James Wilson, Jesse Lingard, Tomasz Kuszczak, Robbie Savage, Paul McShane, Frank Stapleton, Andy Ritchie, Peter O’Sullivan, Wilf Tranter, Joe Carolan, Jack Mansell and Mickey Thomas have all played for both United and Brighton.

One notable mention is Eric Steele. Whilst he only played for Brighton as a goalkeeper, he was one of the goalkeeper coached for United from 2008 until 2013 and helped David Ge Gea considerably after he signed for the club in the summer of 2011.

Team News: Pogba, Shaw and Sancho still on the sidelines whilst Wan-Bissaka and Maguire could return; Brighton have Mwepu, Moder and Sarmiento out of action at this time.

Manchester United: Paul Pogba (Calf), Luke Shaw (Leg) and Jadon Sancho (Illness) have all been ruled out of United’s penultimate Premier League match with Brighton. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Knock) 50% and Harry Maguire (Knee) 25% have slight chances of being available this weekend.

Brighton: Enock Mwepu (Groin/Hip/Pelvic), Jakub Moder (Knee) and Jeremy Sarmiento (Thigh) have been ruled out of the clash with United at the Amex Stadium this weekend. Sarmiento has a 25% chance of appearing but it would seem more likely that he’s available the weekend after.

Predicted Starting XI: Ronaldo, Fernandes, Mata, Elanga to lead the attack; Fernández to make his debut at left-back? Varane and Lindelöf to continue in defence?

Rangnick will need to keep selecting a team capable of winning these matches, and it is these matches that have had the main problems for United this season. Juan Mata should keep his place in the team based on what he offered against Brentford on Monday evening.

There will be a headache for Rangnick if Jesse Lingard is not selected as his fans will moan that he was not able to say goodbye at Old Trafford, despite being there and being on the bench, just not used in the match. Sentiment is fine but based on what he’s offered this season, he has been poor.

I would expect to see David De Gea keep his place in goal against Brighton – that will probably be a definite. In defence, Victor Lindelöf and Raphael Varane should continue in the centre of defence with Diogo Dalot and Àlvaro Fernández at left-back.

Scott McTominay and Fred could play in the centre of the midfield, which will be good to see as the midfield has not been great this season. Bruno Fernandes, Juan Mata and Anthony Elanga could play in the three behind Cristiano Ronaldo as the main attacking player.

Match Prediction: United have not been beaten by Brighton since 2018, winning the last six meetings in the Premier League, scoring 15 goals, conceding five and keeping two clean sheets.

United have won their last six matches against Brighton in the Premier League, last losing back on the 19 August 2018, a 3-2 defeat which saw Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy and Pascal Groß score Brighton’s goal and Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba (penalty) strike for United.

There have been seven matches played between the two sides since that defeat, six in the Premier League and one in the Carabao Cup with United winning all of them. The Red Devils have scored 15 goals, conceding five and keeping two clean sheets (in the Premier League).

Earlier this season, United beat Brighton 2-0, played on the 15 February 2022. Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes scored the goals in that match and they were both on the score sheet in the last match which was a 3-0 victory over Brentford.

United will be expected to end the season on a high, especially with almost a fortnight in-between this match and the final match of the season away to Crystal Palace on Sunday 22 May 2022. Ralf Rangnick will be seeking to get the best from this team, something that has not happened much.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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About editor 2207 Articles
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.