Preview: United can’t be spineless against Brighton; This squad needs to stand up and fight for the badge on their shirts!

United have struggled against Brighton, but this time that needs to change

Brighton and Hove Albion -v- Manchester United

Emirates FA Cup

Wembley Stadium, London

Sunday 23 April 2023, KO 16:30 GMT

Manchester United will battle with Brighton and Hove Albion in the Emirates FA Cup semi final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon. United’s bid for the UEFA Europa League ended on Thursday evening in a 3-0 defeat to Sevilla in Spain, losing 5-2 on aggregate across both legs of the quarter final clash. United were hoping to add another trophy to their Carabao Cup victory this season, which will now have to be the FA Cup or bust. But United will need to be up for it.

Serious questions have been asked about some United players after their performances against Sevilla on Thursday evening. David De Gea did not have a good game at all. Harry Maguire seems to have so much bad luck playing for United that is just does not bode well for the future and Anthony Martial has not laced his own boots with glory with his injury prone season and lack of firepower up front when it really matters. The end to the season could be abysmal for United.

The injuries to key players has cost United with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez on the sidelines with the Argentinian out for the remainder of the season. United have just one fit central defender for Sunday’s match with Maguire suspended for the clash, which can only be a good thing based on his last two appearances against Sevilla. Brighton have already beaten United this season still with a meeting in the Premier League yet to come with United needing to finish in the top four.

Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists – [WDL]WDWWL

Sevilla 3-0 L, Nottingham Forest 2-0 W, Sevilla 2-2 D, Everton 2-0 W, Brentford 1-0 W, Newcastle United 2-0 L

Goals: 28 – Marcus Rashford, 10 – Bruno Fernandes, 8 – Antony, 7 – Anthony Martial, 6 – Fred, 5 – Casemiro, Own Goal, Jadon Sancho, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Scott McTominay, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcel Sabitzer, 2 – Diogo Dalot, Christian Eriksen, Wout Weghorst, 1 – Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw

Assists: 11 – Bruno Fernandes, 9 – Christian Eriksen, 8 – 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 – WLWDWW

Chelsea 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 L, Bournemouth 2-0 W, Brentford 3-3 D, Grimsby Town 5-0 W, Crystal Palace 1-0 W

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

Assists: 8 – Pascal Groß, Solly March, 6 – Kaoru Mitoma, 5 – Pervis Estupiñán, 3 – Evan Ferguson, 2 – Alexis Mac Allister, Jeremy Sarmiento, Leandro Trossard, Danny Welbeck, 1 – Facundo Buonanotte, Moisés Caicedo, Julio Enciso, 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 29 times in all competitions in the history of both clubs. United have won 19 of those matches, drawing five and losing five. In the FA Cup, the two teams have met seven times with United winning five times, drawing twice. United have scored 14 goals, conceding four and keeping five clean sheets in the FA Cup. The two teams have played each other in 1909, 1981, 1983, 1993 and 2018 in the competition with replays in 1981 and 1983.

The last time the two times met in the FA Cup was back in 2018 at the quarter final stage of the competition which was played at Old Trafford. United won the match 2-0 with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic. United have faced Brighton 11 times since that match, winning seven times and losing four times. The last two meetings with Brighton have been defeats for United, losing 4-0 and 2-1. United will need to find the ability to beat them if they want to reach the final.

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

Donny van de Beek (knee), Lisandro Martinez (foot), Raphael Varane (ankle/foot), Tom Heaton (ankle) and Alejandro Garnacho (ankle) are all ruled out due to injury at this stage of the season. Scott McTominay (knock) is likely to be missing for a few more matches yet, which is not the biggest problem right now with the midfield pretty well stocked. Anthony Martial could well be a doubt after of Sunday’s visit to Wembley as he came off injured against Sevilla.

Bruno Fernandes will be back after suspension forced him to miss the 3-0 defeat to Sevilla on Thursday evening but Harry Maguire is suspended for this match having been booked in the victories over West Ham United and Fulham in the competition. United look set to be light in the defence, especially on the bench with Luke Shaw in contention to partner Victor Lindelof in the centre of the back four at Wembley. Ten Hag will have to ensure his substitutes are good enough.

Adam Lallana (thigh), Evan Ferguson (ankle/foot), Joel Veltman (thigh), Jeremy Sarmiento (ankle/foot) and Tariq Lamptey (knee) have all been ruled out of the FA Cup clash with United at Wembley due to injury. Jason Steele (knock) has a 75% chance of being fit for the clash and Levi Colwill should be back in the squad having been unable to play against his parent club, Chelsea, last weekend. Brighton will definitely push United in this match and will fancy reaching the final.

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

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Shaw, Dalot;

Casemiro, Eriksen;

Antony, Fernandes, Rashford;

Martial

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

Sanchez;

Gross, Webster, Dunk, Estupinan;

Caicedo, Mac Allister;

March, Enciso, Mitoma;

Welbeck

Match Prediction

United did not take advantage of Sevilla at all on Thursday and continued their capitulation from the first leg at Old Trafford the previous week where they threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2. This United side just did not look like stringing anything together and really struggles in front of goal, when the creativity was there. Sevilla overpowered United easily and forced their place into the semi final of the competition where they will face Italian giants, Juventus.

United have suffered against Brighton in their last two matches; losing 4-0 towards the end of last season and losing 2-1 at the start of this season – they still have them to play in the Premier League again this season in their first match of May. Ten Hag will need to see his team perform 100% better than they did in Andalusia. United were shocking and cannot let Brighton take that kind of hold over them at Wembley where the winner will face Manchester City on the 3 June 2023.

Ten Hag has a big job ahead of him to end the season, especially after the two legs against Sevilla and the fact that United still have to face Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Brighton, West Ham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bournemouth, Chelsea and Fulham before the season is over – with United needing a top four finish to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. Getting the better of Brighton is needed and United need to hit back from that dire match on Thursday.

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.