Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Brighton and Hove Albion in their opening Premier League fixture at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Pascal Groß scored both Brighton goals and Alexis Mac Allister scoring the own goal for United. Not a good start to the season.
Brighton started well with Leandro Trossard missing the target in the first minute of the match. Marcus Rashford tried a through ball in the fifth minute but Bruno Fernandes was offside. Scott McTominay then saw his shot blocked in the seventh minute of the match.
Fernandes missed the best chance of the first half so far in the seventh minute, through on goal and hitting his shot over the crossbar. Former United striker Danny Welbeck then had a good chance in the 14th minute, but his shot was blocked well by United.
Welbeck saw another shot blocked in the 24th minute of the match. He was starting to look lively against his former club. Christian Eriksen forced a save out of the goalkeeper in the same minute after Fernandes found him in a dangerous position.
McTominay was booked in the 25th minute after a fouls on Moises Caicedo, who was perfectly fine a minute or so later. There was a VAR check but the yellow card remained. Alexis Mac Allister saw his shot blocked in the 28th minute – Brighton seemed the team most likely to score.
In the 29th minute, Lewis Dunk had a shot on goal, played in by Pascal Groß. However, his header was wide of the target. A minute later, Groß had the ball in the back of the net putting Brighton ahead at Old Trafford. It seems United have shown no real improvement at this time.
Fred missed the target five minutes after Brighton scored, but his shot was never good enough to cause any damage to Brighton’s defence. Welbeck missed another attempt on goal in the 37th minute, getting his assist for the earlier goal. He looked lively against United.
Solly March saw David De Gea save his shot on goal in the 39th minute as Brighton looked to double their lead. That did come in the same minute though as Groß hit the back of the net for the second time in this match. It seems that United’s defence is not good enough again.
Luke Shaw had a shot on goal in the 45 minute but it was saved by the Brighton goalkeeper from a difficult angle. United would have to be much better than this in the second half to get any points on the board in this match – which looks so unlikely at this time.
Lisandro Martinez was booked two minutes into added time at the end of the first half for a foul – leaving him and McTominay on yellow cards going into the second half. It will need to be an epic comeback for United in the second half, if they have any ability to do that.
There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half. Welbeck missed a shot on goal in the 48th minute, which was a good opportunity for him to score. Rashford then missed on at the other end of the pitch in the 50th minute.
Harry Maguire and Leandro Trossard were both booked for a skirmish in the 53rd minute of the match, just before Cristiano Ronaldo replaced Fred with Erik ten Hag seeking to find a way to get United back into the match.
Diogo Dalot tried to play Ronaldo though on goal with a through ball, but the Portuguese forward was flagged for offside. Adam Webster had a chance on goal in the 63rd minute after being played through by Trossard but De Gea made the save to deny him.
In the 65th minute, Rashford seemed to be running towards goal with yet another chance to get United back into the match but his shot saw the ball go high and wide of the target, which is just United’s luck at this moment in time. United needed consistency more than ever now.
Maguire and Trossard were still clashing, despite both players being booked in the 53rd minute of the match. It would seem that Brighton could be seeking to get a United player sent off today with both central defenders on a yellow are McTominay on one too.
Eriksen saw another shot saved in the 68th minute of the match with United seeking a goal. They got a goal back after Dalot’s shot was saved but Alexis Mac Allster seemed to poke the ball into his own net. VAR looked at it ave gave the goal. United were back in the match.
Shaw became United’s fourth player to be booked in this match in the 74th minute. Lisandro Martinez had a chance on goal in the 76th minute, which he missed. Maguire also have a chance, which was blocked. Donny van de Beek then replaced McTominay in the 78th minute.
Mac Allister saw his attempt on goal miss the target in the 83rd minute of the match with Brighton still on top in this match. Tariq Lamptey saw his shot blocked two minutes later as United found themselves under pressure once again – the story of this match.
Ten Hag made a triple substitution in the 90th minute with Tyrell Malacia, Anthony Elanga and Alejandro Garnacho replacing Shaw, Jadon Sancho and Fernandes. It was too late for United to get points in this match – starting the sew season is terrible fashion once again.
It was all over for United. A 2-1 defeat on the opening weekend of the season at Old Trafford. 37 matches left and tree behind of the better teams already. Erik ten Hag could be another in a long line of managers to be hung out to dry by Glazer ineptitude.
David De Gea: Unlucky for the opening goal but could have done more for the second one. This will stunt his confidence after a positive pre-season. Many will be calling for him to be sold or something. He’s a class goalkeeper on his day. The defence helped let this side down. ★★★★★
Diogo Dalot: Forced a goal for United after going 2-0 down. He is not the right-back that will guide this United team to glory. It would be nice if he was but Brighton got the better of him. City and Liverpool will punish him massively. ★★★★★
Harry Maguire: Pulled out of his position for Brighton’s opener and played some poor passes at times. It should have been so much worse for United in this match. He will be the scapegoat for this defeat though from the money makes on social media. ★★★★★★
Lisandro Martinez: 100% dribbles completed, 93% pass accuracy, two of three tackles won, two interceptions and two blocks. Didn’t seem as comfortable as the stats would suggest. He now knows the pace that he needs to set in the United defence. ★★★★★
Luke Shaw: Looked unfit and should have been on the bench with Malacia looking good in pre-season. Dd not create anything going forward, although he had a shot on goal which was not successful. Should be benched by Malacia. ★★★★★
Scott McTominay: Booked for a cynical challenge in the first half of the match. He was not at his best today as United’s midfield was once again battered by Brighton – United’s new bogey team. McTominay was replaced by van de Beek in the 78th minute. ★★★★★
Fred: The Brazilian has a chance on goal, which he should have done so much better with. He seemed out of his depth at times too. He became the first player to be taken off with Ronaldo coming on in his place in the 53rd minute. ★★★★
Jadon Sancho: He was not the worst player on the pitch but he was one of them. He created nothing and that is a problem, especially when United are still in the market for forwards. He should be doing so much better. He had a good pre-season. Premier League quality is higher. ★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: He saw quite a lot of the ball and tried to create chances, but the final ball was not good enough. He will be disappointed again but he needs to be controlling what he can do. United are in for a tough season again. ★★★★★★
Marcus Rashford: He might be both fitter and sharper than last season but the same errors have returned. Ronaldo’s pass should have resulted in him scoring – but he couldn’t do that. I don’t know how much time he is going to get to perfect his finishing. ★★★★★
Christian Eriksen: Did more playing a deeper role in the midfield on his own in 37 minutes than Fred and McTominay did in 53 minutes. He was pretty impressive today, despite the result. It is a shame his teammates did not buck up their ideas. ★★★★★★★
Cristiano Ronaldo: Replaced Fred 53′. Set Rashford up for what should have been a goal but he missed. In terms of involvement, there was very little. ★★★★★
Donny van de Beek: Replaced McTominay 78′. Even he did not have enough time to get involved much. He attempted some through balls but that was about it. ★★★★★
Anthony Elanga: Replaced Sancho 90′. Got a cameo at the end of the match. Not enough time to get anything done. ★★★★★
Tyrell Malacia: Replaced Shaw 90′. Came on too late in the match to have an impact. Should have started in place of Shaw. ★★★★★
Alejandro Garnacho: Replaced Fernandes 90′. Again, came on too late to show his stuff. Could have done so much better than Rashford. ★★★★★
Goals: Alexis Mac Allister 68′ o/g; Pascal Groß 30′, 39′
Assists: Danny Welbeck 30′
Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw (Malacia 90′); McTominay (van de Beek 78′), Fred (Ronaldo 53′); Sancho (Elanga 90′), Fernandes (Garnacho 90′); Rashford; Eriksen
Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Varane, Wan-Bissaka; Garner
Bookings: Scott McTominay 25′, Lisandro Martinez 45+2′, Harry Maguire 53′, Luke Shaw 74′; Leandro Trossard 53′
Written by John Walker