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Ratings: Rashford and Greenwood save the day for United after Welbeck opener; Greenwood the stand out player

Manchester United beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 in the Premier League at Old Trafford. Former United forward Danny Welbeck opened the scoring for the away side in the 13th minute of the match after Dean Henderson initially made the save, then the ball flew up towards the head of Welbeck, only for him to open the scoring. United managed to get an equaliser in the 52nd minute of the match after Marcus Rashford scored the ball played by Bruno Fernandes. In the 83rd minute of the match, Mason Greenwood who had hard luck at least twice, managed to head the ball, initially played in by Paul Pogba, into the back of the net to win the game.

United started well against Brighton and were immediately on the attack, seeking to open the scoring early in the game. Mason Greenwood had the best chance of the opening stages, hitting the post in the ninth minute of the match, which was a shame. Brighton took the lead in the 13th minute of the match through former United player Danny Welbeck. Paul Pogba gave the ball away after a poor pass for Fred. Neal Maupay was released on the right by Pascal Gross having a lot of time to cross into Welbeck, who headed towards goal but Den Henderson made a brilliant initial save to deny Welbeck but the ball lifted up and Welbeck headed past him.

United struggled to get back into the game after Welbeck’s goal. They were getting forward but were not creating anything with Brighton have seven to eight players back in the box, defending like the Championship club that they are. It seems pathetic to play park the bus football but these little clubs seem to do it against United all the time, seemingly thinking that beating United is the best thing to get from a season. This is why the club is struggling to get away from the relegation zone this season. There are many clubs that could end up going down this season but the bottom two clubs seem the most likely at this time.

Towards the end of the half, United were seemingly under the cosh with Brighton rushing forward and seeking a second goal, which is brave of them after spending much of the time in the first half in their own half. But still, United were behind and they would need to change things up in the second half to get the victory they needed to be getting, taking advantage of the teams around them who dropped points this weekend. United never seem to take the advantages that they have ben given, always seem to give them away and keep plodding on towards the end of the season. This also needs to change. The hairdryer should have been out at half time.

There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half. United were spending time trying to get level again, advancing but unable to do anything with the ball. United needed to find a better way to take one Brighton. In the 62nd minute, United got level through Marcus Rashford, who scored his 19th goal of the season. Bruno Fernandes provided the assist, waiting to lay the ball to Rashford, at the right time as he beat the Brighton goalkeeper aiming for the far post. United were level in the game, the advantage was with them now and they needed to get the winner, sending Brighton back home worrying about relegation again.

Solskjaer made his first substitute in the 72nd with Daniel James coming on to replace the goalscorer, Rashford. Just a few minutes later, on the attack, United nearly put themselves ahead for the first time of the match through Greenwood, who missed hist shot and the follow up, which was a shame. It would have been the perfect time for United to go ahead, giving Brighton more to worry about than be happy about. Solskjaer took Edinson Cavani off in the 82nd minute of the match after a largely ineffective performance sending Donny van de Beek on to try and help United get a winner in this match, which needs to be on the cards.

Got got their second goal in the 83rd minute through Greenwood, who has been gunning for a goal in this match. Fernandes was freed up after a lovely ball played in by Luke Shaw. He tee’d up the ball for Pogba for a volley at the back post. The Frenchman did not make good contact with the ball but it fell into the path of Greenwood, who had been working on his headers in training, only to head the ball into the back of the net from close-range, with a better finish than Welbeck earlier in the match. It was Greenwood’s sixth goal of the season, his second in the Premier League.

It was a good enough win for United, despite seeing many players out of pace in the squad, which is worrying, but nothing is ever great after an international break as the majority of the players will have only been training at the club since Friday, so will be off the pace. United will need to get up to speed to face Granada in the UEFA Europa League ons Thursday evening, which should be a good match and another win for United, putting their foot in the door for a potential semi-final place in the competition for the second season running. Solskjaer will be please with the performance of his players in this match and Brighton will be thinking about the result.

After Thursday’s quarter-final first leg in the Europa League, United will travel to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League next Sunday with the match kicking off at the better time of 16:30 BST, which is much better than. Sunday evening kick off, which United have been subjected more than any other side in the past six weeks or so. United position in the top four has been strengthened slightly with United four points clear of third-placed Leicester City and nine points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea, who could be fifth on Monday evening if West Ham United beat Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Initially made a good save to deny Welbeck from scoring but the ball lifted up and Welbeck headed past him one his second chance. It was a shame to concede so early in the match. He managed to do what was needed of him during the rest of the match with United getting the win in the end.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

He was caught out by Welbeck too with Brighton targeting the right to send the ball in. Needs to do better. Again, another reason why he needs competition in this team.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Caught napping by Welbeck for the opening goal of the match. Needs to keep his attention up to 100% in matches. This is why United are still looking for another defender this summer.

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5 Harry Maguire

Defended well and played a part by blocking a shot before the first goal was scored. Seemed to get away with a challenge, which will put a damper on things with the ABU's but it is one of those things. Would have wanted a clean sheet though.

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23 Luke Shaw

Seemed to be shouted at in the first half - perhaps Southgate's poor management style distracted him? Played his part in United's winner so his performance turned into a positive one.

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17 Fred

His work rate was good but sometimes players need to offer more than that. He improved in the second half, but based on his performance in the first, it was only natural to improve.

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6 Paul Pogba

Gave the ball away which led to Brighton's goal in the 13th minute. It got better for him, apart from the poor distribution. He ended up with an assist, albeit unwittingly, for Greenwood's winner.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Had a chance to open the scoring in the first few minute of the match, hitting the post. It was a positive game for him though, especially as he nearly put United ahead in the 77th minute. Finally god his goal in the 83rd minute to put United ahead and win the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Seemed out of puff at times. Perhaps a rest is due but United do not have the stability of being able to bring in another player who does what he does. Got another assist this season which takes him to 14 now.

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10 Marcus Rashford

It was good to see him back looking mostly fit, as was not the case before the International break. He played well as United looked to break Brighton down. It took 62 minutes to get a goal though, 49 minutes of play after Welbeck's goal. He was replaced by James in the 72nd minute of the match.

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7 Edinson Cavani

Poor impact in the game. Poor overall. Not sure what is going on. With Martial potential out for the remainder of the season, he needs to have an impact. I'd rather see a youth player thrown in at the deepens than this.

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Substitutes

21 Daniel James

Replaced Rashford 72'. Perhaps the better of all three subs. Tired Brighton out with his running. Did what he came on to do. He was a good signing for United, evening if Football Twitter don't think so.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Cavani 82'. Had little time on the pitch to make an impact. Good to see him get some time though. He needs to play more.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Pogba 84'. Came on late in the game with United aiming to protect their lead to get all three points.

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Goals: Marcus Rashford 62′, Mason Greenwood 83′; Danny Welbeck 13′

Assists: Bruno Fernandes 62′, Paul Pogba 83′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Pogba (McTominay 84′); Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford (James 72′); Cavani (Van de Beek 82′)

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Williams, Tuanzebe; Diallo, Matic

Bookings: Edinson Cavani 65′; Pascal Gross 42′, Ben White 66′

Written by John Walker

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