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Report: Manchester United beat Brighton 1-0 to keep the pressure on City

Manchester United beat Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. It was Ashley Young who scored the goal for United in the 66th minute, with a deflection coming of Lewis Dunk. Dunk was credited with the own goal though, but Young may claim it. Three points and 38 home games in all competitions undefeated for United.

Jose Mourinho named the same team which beat Newcastle United at Old Trafford a week ago to face Brighton and Hove Albion at the Theatre of Dreams. United were beaten midweek by Basel in the UEFA Champions League with Mourinho resting David De Gea, Antonio Valencia, and Ashley Young – all three returning to the team today.

United started the match in god stead, getting a chance in the third minute of the match with Romelu Lukaku latching onto the ball from Anthony Martial, it dropping on the Belgian’s left foot twenty yards out and the shot going wide of the target. Brighton had a chance in the fifth minute as Anthony Knockaert and Pascal Gross played a one-two with the latter getting behind Ashley Young, the shot wasted.

In the eighth minute, Martial broke forward, swung the ball into the box for Lukaku but Mathew Ryan thwarted the play. Brighton then lost the ball and Paul Pogba put it back into the box with Shane Duffy making the clearance. In the tenth minute, Solly March won a free kick after trying to take on Antonio Valencia. Gross took the free-kick, tried to swing it into the box by Nemanja Matic headed it out of danger.

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Brighton broke forward in the 12th minute of the match. Bruno beat Young on the right and found Gross 15-yards out but the shot was straight at De Gea. United were growing in their frustration, Pogba looked up and tried to have a shot from 40 yards with Davy Propper making the block. There was a distinct lack of tempo from United.

In the 17th minute, Martial cut in off the left and took on three men, getting to the edge of the box to play a one-two with Juan Mata. Duffy made the clearance to avert the danger and Martial went to ground seeking a free-kick, which was not given by the referee. In the 19th minute, Knockaert beat Young, again, and sent a low cross into the box with De Gea getting on it and thwarting the effort.

In the 24th minute of the match, Mata broke forward on the left and injected some pace on the game, which had been lacking. He crossed the ball into Lukaku, who beat Lewis Dunk in the air bit his header on goal was weak and straight at Ryan, who made the easy save. Brighton won a free-kick three minutes later, winning a free-kick with Lukaku winning the ball and clearing.

Brighton had another chance in the 32nd minute as Bruno spun a sensational ball in for Knockaert, lining up Chris Smalling as he got there. Instead of taking Smalling on, he passed to Propper but the pass was too strong and the chance had gone for the visitors. Brighton seem to be having fun showing Young he is not a left-back, or a defender.

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United won a free-kick in the 34th minute after Victor Lindelof had his shirt pulled in his own box, which saw United have some time away from being bombarded with chances from Brighton, beating Young on the left on nearly each attempt. United regained possession, broke forward with Valencia and tried to find a goal to break the deadlock, Lukaku heading out for a goal kick.

In the 39th minute, Brighton had a chance to break the deadlock through Glenn Murray who was close to latching onto a deep delivery.  The ball from the left was dangerous by Murray could not connect with it, which would have left De Gea in trouble. United seemed to be lucky so far, which will only add to the criticism as they should be dominating teams like Brighton.

In the 42nd minute, Unite broke through on the left through Young, beat two defenders and got into the box. He tried to put the ball into danger but Duffy hammered it out of danger. Two minutes later, Marcus Rashford found space and smashed the ball into the near post with Ryan making the save. Pogba went down trying to get into the rebound, needing a bit of treatment.

At the break the score was still level at 0-0 with all to play for. United needed to do a lot better and thwart Brighton from creating the chances they created in the first half. At the start of the second half, there were no changes for either team and Pogba was able to play on. Brighton had a good chance in the opening minute but they could not capitalise.

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In the 48th minute of the match, Rashford sprung down the right, beating three Brighton players, then tried to out-run Gaetan Bong with the Brighton man stepping across him with the Old Trafford faithful calling for a free-kick, which was not given. Two minutes later, Pogba ran to the edge of the box with Lukaku gaining the ball and nearly setting up Rashford with an amazing flick.

In the 55th minute, Brighton had another chance through Murray who was to receive a long ball, but it did not fall to his feet and Smalling had to make the clearance. Victor Lindelof also had to make a tacking on Knockaert, which resulted in the Brighton player needing treatment for a knock received in the challenge. Murray was booked in the 59th minute for dissent.

Mourinho made his first change in the 62nd minute with Zlatan Ibrahimovic replacing Mata. The Swede was instrumental in his first involvement in the game, helping United win a corner. The corner, taken by Rashford, was headed out of danger easily by Brighton, but United regained possession and added pressure in their area, to no avail, yet. In the 66th minute, Ashley Young scored for United. 1-0.

The goal came after a period of pressure for Brighton with United seeking a goal. United won a corner and it was played out to Young, who fired his speculative effort goalwards, it takes a slight deflection of Dunk and into the top corner of the goal. A decent goal for United and one Brighton will bemoan. Mourinho made his second change of the match with Henrikh Mkhitaryan replacing Martial.

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After United’s second change, Dunk  surged forward for Brighton, finding himself in the box in a bit of space but United had an easy save to make after he shot too early with Smalling deflecting it behind for a corner, which was cleared. Brighton made a double change with Tomer Hemed replacing Murray and Jose Izquierdo replacing March.

In the 77th minute, Knockaert showed his skill down the right, beating Young and fizzing  a low cross into the United box with no teammate there to complete the chance. In the 79th minute, Mourinho made his third substitution with Marouane Fellaini replacing Rashford, who suffered from a knock in the last minute of his appearance today.

United had another chance in the 82nd minute of the match with Smalling in the box from a corner, standing near the back post and his downward header bounced wide of the target. If United keep ahead here, it will be seven-league home wins this season, the first time they will have done that since 1994. In the 85th minute, Brighton had a free-kick, which was a poor effort to equalise.

Ibrahimovic was fouled by Duffy, a late challenge with the Brighton man booked for the challenge, Chris Hughton made his final substitution with Isaiah Brown replacing Gross in the 88th minute. United had another chance with Ibrahimovic and Pogba with some clever play, the Swede unable to find the back of the net this time.

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Five minutes were added on at the end of the half. There was a penalty shout in the United area after Fellaini was deemed to handle the ball, but it touched the top of his arm. Brighton fans will moan about the decision not going their way, which would be cheating. Brighton were still seeking that elusive goal three minutes into added time, winning a throw-in, which was cleared form danger.

Dunk inspired his side to attack with Duffy seeming manhandled by Smalling, with nothing given for the challenge. It was a far from perfect performance from United, who seemed to lack a lot of creativity, even with Pogba in the side, which is a worry. United seem to be in a rut, unable to score plenty of goals. United are now unbeaten in their last 38 home matches in all competitions.

United will look at the positives here, a win and three points, reducing the deficit to five points with Manchester City. Next up for United is Watford away, who beat Newcastle United 3-0 this afternoon. Tottenham Hotspur drew with West Bromwich Albion at Wembley, so with either Liverpool or Chelsea dropping points this evening, it could be a good victory for United.

Goals: Lewis Dunk OG 66′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young; Matic, Pogba; Rashford (Fellaini 79′), Mata (Ibrahimovic 62′), Martial (Mkhitaryan 71′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Rojo; Herrera, McTominay

Confirmed Starting XI: Lukaku, Martial and Rashford lead the attack against Brighton

Manchester United take on Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford in the Premier League this afternoon, the first match between the two sides in more than 24 years. Jose Mourinho will be up against Chris Hughton with Brighton seeking an upset to be the first team to come to the Theatre of Dreams in over 14 months and leave with a victory. United’s form may counter that, especially their home form, where goals galore have been on the cards more often than not.

Mourinho is without Phil Jones and Eric Bailly for this match and Michael Carrick will miss the game, but he is back in training after sitting on the sidelines with heart problems in recent months. Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be given a cameo appearance again but Paul Pogba is expected to start, which is necessary for the squad to be creative. United will need all three points today to keep up the chase with Manchester City. Liverpool face Chelsea this evening, so one, or both of the teams could drop points.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young;

Matic, Pogba;

Rashford, Mata, Martial;

Lukaku

Substitutes:

Romero; Rojo; Herrera, Mkhitaryan, Fellaini, McTominay; Ibrahimovic

Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion have played 16 competitive matches in the history of both clubs; the first on the 16th January 1909 which was a 1-0 victory to United in the FA Cup at Bank Street in Clayton with Harold Halse scoring the only goal of the match. United have won ten times, drawn five times and been defeated just once – a 1-0 defeat on the 6th November 1982, exactly four years before Sir Alex Ferguson became United’s manager.

It has been over 24 years since the last time United played Brighton, an FA Cup match with Ryan Giggs scoring the only goal in the 1-0 victory on the 23rd January 1993. United have a great record against Brighton and Jose Mourinho and his team will be looking to keep that record, adding another victory, of course.

How Manchester United could line up in the Premier League against Brighton and Hove Albion

Manchester United face Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford in the Premier League, more than 24 years since the two sides last met competitively. That match was a 1-0 victory in the FA Cup with Ryan Giggs scoring the only goal of the game. Chris Hughton’s side are in ninth place in the league this season – their first in the Premier League, which is commendable at this stage of the season. The Theatre of Dreams could be a tough destination for Hughton’s boys, who will be arriving in Manchester aiming to cause an upset and become the first team to win there since the 10th September 2017, in the league at least.

Starting XI Formation and Prediction

Jose Mourinho will most likely keep a four-man defence against Brighton with David De Gea and Anthony Valencia returning to the side after missing the UEFA Champions League defeat to Basel on Wednesday evening. Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, and Marcos Rojo are the clubs only fit experienced central defenders. The left-back position is one of a problem for United – Ashley Young has played there recently, as had Daley Blind, the latter not as effective as the former. Luke Shaw has been back in the team for the past two matches, but not used, so perhaps Mourinho could open the door for him to try to earn a place in the team, or get himself in the shop window ahead of the transfer window opening in January.

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Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one missed the defeat to Basel in the Champions League this week with Sergio Romero getting his moment to impress and despite conceding the only goal of the game, he did just that. De Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world right now, but supporters of other clubs will say that feat has not been earned just yet. He has been named in the final 50-man list for FIFA Team of the Year, so may just earn the plaudits he has earned. Failing that though, keeping a clean sheet against Brighton will be on the agenda with United taking three points and scoring goals galore once again at the Theatre of Dreams.

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Back Four: Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw

Antonio Valencia missed the defeat to Basel, rested for this league match which should see him return as the right-back. Valencia is a defensive and attacking powerhouse and is United’s main fullback, despite being a winger and more of an attacking player, his change of position has seen him become one of the best in the league. Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo played well in Switzerland on Wednesday, Rojo seeming like a player who has played much of the season, not one who has made his return after seven months on the sidelines recovering from a knee injury. Luke Shaw has been a player on the sidelines too, not because he was injured, but because he has not been picked. The last two matches he has been on the bench, just not used. Needs a chance to get involved.

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Three Man Midfield: Marouane Fellaini, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba

Marouane Fellaini is tipped to be leaving the Theatre of Dreams, or at least that is what the media suggest and to be honest, their hit rate on getting things correct is not the best, especially when it comes to Manchester United. Fellaini is a player who is like Marmite, you either love him or hate him, but this season and last, he has earned his place in the team. The Belgian offers much when involved and when he and Paul Pogba were injured, United lacked a lot in midfield. Nemanja Matic is a player who does what he needs to do more often than not, always whilst being unnoticed. Playing in the holding role ahead of the back for is his best position, allowing the other two midfielders to roam. Paul Pogba, who may not play the full match, can roam, playing as the number ten against Basel, could do the same against Brighton, moving deeper should he need too. A three-man midfield is better for Pogba and could be great for United.

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Forward Three: Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial

Last week against Newcastle United, Mourinho unleashed the trio for the first time this season. It worked and United were creative, devastating and attacking. Mourinho suggested the supporters not get used to that, but with Zlatan Ibrahimovic not ready to start and United not having many other options, it could be something for the now, also being a test for later. Marcus Rashford is a fearless player, not scared to get forward and in the face of a defender, also not scared of showing them up, which he has done and attempted to do in most of his short career. Anthony Martial is the same as Rashford, fearless and likes to beat his man then cut into the box, setting up a teammate or aiming for goal himself. Romelu Lukaku is the guy who scores the goal and will be seeking to increase his output this season, scoring eight times in the league alone this season, one adrift of the top scorer.

Preview: Fortress Old Trafford welcome Brighton but won’t give them an easy visit

Manchester United -v- Brighton and Hove Albion

Premier League 2017/18

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 25th November 2017; KO 15:00 BST

This match is not broadcast live in the United Kingdom

Manchester United face Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon, the first time the two clubs have faced each other in more than 24 years. United have not been beaten at the Theatre of Dreams since the 10th September 2016 when Manchester City beat them in the league just after the first international break last season. Jose Mourinho and his new signings have helped turn Old Trafford back into a fortress and that needs to continue against Brighton, who led by Chris Hughton will be seeking an upset as they look to build on their position in the league, seeing them in ninth place heading into the fixture. United beat Newcastle United at Old Trafford last weekend, conceding the first league goal and overcoming an upset to win 4-1.

On Wednesday evening in Switzerland, United were beaten for the first time in the UEFA Champions League this season, needing just one point from the match to earn a place in the knockout stages of the competition. Confirmation of that will need to wait until the 5th December 2017 when United entertain CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford. Mourinho will be looking at the fixture with Brighton and seeking another win to keep the chase on leaders Manchester City, who are eight points ahead of United at this stage of the season and playing some entertaining, swashbuckling football. United have impressed this season, but over the past few weeks, the entertainment has been curtailed, at times with United not looking like the side they started the season as.

A return to action for Paul Pogba changed that, but there are still more improvements to make. This weekend, United may have the advantage over some of the teams below them by playing in a traditional Saturday afternoon match at 15:00 GMT. Liverpool face Chelsea in the 17:30 kick off with one side, or even both, dropping points in that match, which will help. Manchester City are away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday afternoon, so in that fixture which turned into United’s first defeat of the season, we will see if the Premier League new boys can get a victory over City, which would be the end to a great weekend. United will need to win this match, especially with a tricky visit to Watford on Tuesday, which will be followed by a trip to Arsenal the following weekend.

Previous Matches: Brighton are the underdogs in first match against Manchester United in 24 years

Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion have played 16 competitive matches in the history of both clubs; the first on the 16th January 1909 which was a 1-0 victory to United in the FA Cup at Bank Street in Clayton with Harold Halse scoring the only goal of the match. United have won ten times, drawn five times and been defeated just once – a 1-0 defeat on the 6th November 1982, exactly four years before Sir Alex Ferguson became United’s manager. It has been over 24 years since the last time United played Brighton, an FA Cup match with Ryan Giggs scoring the only goal in the 1-0 victory on the 23rd January 1993. United have a great record against Brighton and Jose Mourinho and his team will be looking to keep that record, adding another victory, of course.

Form: Manchester United have turned Old Trafford into a fortress, not losing at home since September 2016

Manchester United started well this season, seemingly scoring goals for fun in some matches, especially the ones played at Old Trafford. After the second international break of the season, United draw 0-0 away to Liverpool, dropping their first points of the season then a defeat to Huddersfield Town, United’s first defeat of the season. After picking up the pace again, just before the final international break of 2017, United were defeated by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. After the break, United met Newcastle United at Old Trafford and Dwight Gayle scored the first goal against United at home in the Premier League, a shock to the system for United, but also something of a kick in the posterior with a 4-1 thrashing coming forth. United then lost to Basel in the UEFA Champions League, now needing a win to keep the chase on Manchester City.

Brighton and Hove Albion sit ninth in the Premier League after 12 matches this season, which after coming up from the Championship, is respectable. At home, Brighton are a team in form, losing their opening match of the season, but remaining undefeated at home in their last five league matches. Away from home is where problems arise. Brighton have failed to score against Leicester City and Arsenal – losing both matches, also losing to Bournemouth and drawing 0-0 with Watford – all away from home. They have, however, beaten Swansea City and West Ham United away from home, this is commendable – but many teams have done this already. Against United at Old Trafford, Brighton may have their work cut out but they could stride into the fixture like Huddersfield Town did, which could see them being the first team to win at Old Trafford in the league since the 10th September 2016 when City did just that.

Team News: Injuries still present but Manchester United are stronger than they have been in recent weeks

United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Phil Jones and Eric Bailly will miss the match with Brighton at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon through injury. The manager does, however, still have the services of Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, returning from his seven-month recovery from a knee injury on Wednesday and Victor Lindelof. Speaking during his pre-match press conference on Friday, the Portuguese manager confirmed:

“They are out [Phil Jones and Eric Bailly]. But we are okay because we have [Chris] Smalling, [Marcos] Rojo and [Victor] Lindelof.”

Mourinho will be boosted with the players who were not involved against Basel; David De Gea, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Juan Mata, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all being back in his squad. The manager also confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba will both be involved in the fixture against Brighton, suggesting that the Swede will get 15 to 20 minutes and Pogba is not yet fit enough to last the entire match. Mourinho said:

“I prefer him on the pitch than off the pitch. On the pitch, he’s another option for us and he’s an option of quality. His physicality and his intelligence, the way he moves, the way he plays. But he needs time. We managed to give him 15/20 minutes in both matches, he needs more of that, so hopefully, tomorrow, we play him again.

“Paul is still on this process where he cannot reach the fatigue limit. He cannot go more than 65 to 70 minutes because that’s when fatigue normally arrives and, with so many matches consecutively, we need to protect such an important player for us.”

United were boosted with the near return of club captain Michael Carrick after he confirmed a Cardiac Ablation on Friday evening. The player has not played since September after falling ill against Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup. The player is now back in training and working on his fitness ahead of his return to action.

Predicted Starting XI:

Match Prediction:

Manchester United 3-0 Brighton and Hove Albion

copyright: JW