Preview: United need to show desire and bottle against Brighton, but will they?

The last three poor results are on the players, not the manager. They need to hold themselves accountable.

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Manchester United -v- Brighton and Hove Albion

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 15 February 2022, KO 20:15 GMT

Referee: Peter Bankes Assistants: Neil Davies, Nick Hopton

Fourth Official: Kevin Friend

VAR: Jarred Gillett Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart

Manchester United will welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Tuesday evening. This match was supposed to be played in December but was postponed because of the number of coronavirus cases at the Old Trafford club.

United have failed to win three matches in a row, drawing all by the same 1-1 scoreline but exited the Emirates FA Cup losing 8-7 on penalties. For all of those matches, United played well in the first halves of the matches, failing to do so in the second halves of the matches.

Because of this, United are still out of the top four with this game in hand left, having not taken advantage in the last two Premier League matches which with the teams below them still having games in hand, could give them a problem moving forward.

That said, United sitting out of UEFA Champions League football for a season is not going to be a bad thing. It will reduce the money the Glazer’s can take away from the club and could see a reduction in wages for any players who remain at the club after the summer.

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

Southampton 1-1 D, Burnley 1-1 D, Middlesbrough 1-1 (8-7) L, West Ham United 1-0 W, Brentford 3-1 W, Aston Villa 2-2 D

Goals: 14 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 7 – Bruno Fernandes, 6 – Mason Greenwood, 5 – Marcus Rashford, 4 – Jadon Sancho, 2 – Edinson Cavani, Fred, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, 1 – Anthony Elanga, Own Goal, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

Assists: 12 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Paul Pogba, 4 – Fred, Luke Shaw, 3 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Marcus Rashford, 1 – Edison Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Alex Telles, Raphael Varane

Brighton – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLDDDW

Watford 2-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 L, Leicester City 1-1 D, Chelsea 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 1-1 D, West Bromwich Albion 2-1 W

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

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

Previous meetings with Brighton and their connections with United.

United and Brighton have met eight times in the history of the Premier League. United have won six times, drawing none with Brighton winning twice. United have scored 16 goals, winning three penalties, scoring all of them. Brighton have scored nine goals, winning two penalties, scoring both.

United have kept two clean sheets in this fixture with Brighton keeping one. The disciplinary history is not problematic with United players shown nine yellow cards and no red cards with Brighton players being shown 16 yellow cards and no red cards.

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: United will have up to four players missing with Brighton missing two players. Both teams will want to win this match but it is will be a much needed victory for United.

Manchester United: Nemanja Matic (Shin), Edinson Cavani (Groin), Eric Bailly (Ankle) and Fred (Illness) all missed the 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday and could all miss the clash with Brighton. United will need to take some changes following the stagnant display.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire should both be dropped for the Brighton match but only if there is another attacking player that can start ahead of Ronaldo which would need to be Cavani, if he is fit enough, otherwise he will start again.

Brighton: Enock Mwepu (Thigh) and Jeremy Sarmiento (Thigh) have both been ruled out due to injury and probably will play no part in the visit to the Theatre of Dreams to face United. They are the only problems Brighton have ahead of this fixture.

Brighton sit in ninth place in the Premier League at the time of writing following their 2-0 victory over Watford on Saturday. They have played 23 matches this season, one fewer than United and sit just seven points behind them at this time.

Predicted Starting XI: Cavani over Ronaldo if he is fit? Sancho and Rashford to flank? McTominay, Pogba and Fernandes in midfield? Maguire dropped to the bench?

United’s players need to stand up and hold themselves accountable for the problems at the club. Yes, there are problems caused by the Glazer’s and an inept boardroom but on the pitch, the players are responsible. It is their fault that they are not playing to their strengths.

Yet again, the same problems have risen their heads which those so-called fans on Twitter and YouTube stated were down to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, despite the same thing happening to David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho – now Ralf Rangnick.

Against Brighton, some changes are needed. The players not performing need to be dropped to send them a message. Harry Maguire does not deserve his place in the squad, or the captaincy at this time. David De Gea should start in goal, he’s one of the players fighting out there.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Phil Jones and Alex Telles should replace Diogo Dalot, Maguire and Luke Shaw. The trio of Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes should continue in midfield. Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford should flank Cristiano Ronaldo, unless Edinson Cavani is fit.

Match Prediction: United and Brighton have met 26 times in all competitions with Brighton winning just three times. It has been over three years since the last defeat to Brighton.

United and Brighton have met 26 times in the history of both clubs, the first match being played in 1909. United have 18 wins, five draws and three defeats. The last defeat for United came on the 19 August 2018, a 3-2 defeat with Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba scoring United’s goals.

Last season, United faced Brighton three times, winning 3-2 at the Amex Community Stadium in the Premier League with Lewis Dunk scoring an own goal, Marcus Rashford scoring United’s second and Bruno Fernandes scoring the third. Neal Maupay and Solly March scored Brighton’s goals.

United then beat Brighton 3-0 in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with Scott McTominay, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba scoring the goals. At Old Trafford in the league, United won 2-1 with Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood scoring the goals.

This is the first time the two clubs will have faced each other this season and this match was due to be played back in December but was postponed due to United’s covid infections at the club. United will travel to the Amex Community Stadium to face them in May.

Manchester United 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

Written by John Walker

About John Walker 1551 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.