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Review and Ratings: Pogba and Rashford led Manchester United to nervy Brighton victory; seven wins in seven games..

Manchester United beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. This is the seventh win in a row for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a new record for a United manager starting their career at the club. United had lost their last two matches against Brighton, making amends in this game. The game was nervy after Brighton got a goal back with United not looking their best.

Paul Pogba opened the scoring, albeit from the penalty spot after Gaetan Bong took him down in the penalty area. The Frenchman took the penalty, taking his stuttered run but not for as long, firing the ball into the back of the net, putting United 1-0 up in the 27th minute of the game. United took the game to Brighton with the Red Devils controlling the game. Marcus Rashford was the man of the moment once again, scoring the second goal of the game on his 150th appearance for his club – a stunning strike.

Brighton goat a goal back in the 72nd minute of the game through Pascal Gross against the run of play. The ball was lofted into the box and Gross, not the man the cross seemed to be aimed at, slotted the ball past David De Gea, taking the shine of this United performance. It was a tense end to the game for United meaning a third goal was needed to restore the two-goal cushion.

Solskjaer has changed the mentality of this United side in the last seven matches. There is more to improve upon but the momentum that has been built has been great in such a short period of time. United will be back in action again on Friday, this time in the Emirates FA Cup, facing Arsenal at the Emirates. Seven games, seven wins. Pogba has scored five goals, assisting four others and Rashford has scored five goals, assisting one more. It shows the belief, discipline and ability in this team.

Man of the Match: Marcus Rashford

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Marcus Rashford was the Man of the Match for me. He was everywhere in the game at certain stages. The growth of the 20-year-old has been magnificent. He has become the youngest ever player to score four consecutive goals for the club, which is a great achievement for him. Under Solskjaer, he’s scored five goals and claimed an assist in the last seven matches, which is great form from the youngster.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one had little chance to save the effort from Pascal Gross. It was a nervy finish for United but they held firm and stretched their run to a seven match winning run.

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18 Ashley Young

Played in the wide areas and helped United on the attack. Also did his bit defensively. United obviously need to think about life after Young but for the moment, Young deserves to be in this team.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Had another good game in a United shirt under Solskjaer. Could have got himself an assist after a lofted pass into Anthony Martial. He seems to be a player settled in Manchester and ready to embark on a new stage of his career.

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4 Phil Jones

Solid at times but has an error in him at times. Glenn Murray could have got the better of him early doors but he overcame it and played to his strengths. It was worrying at the end of the game with Brighton back in the game.

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Diogo Dalot

Replaced Luke Shaw in the starting XI due to illness. Got an assist in Marcus Rashford's goal, which turned out to be the winner. He was cautious in the early stages of the game but grew into the game as the game grew on.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian was one of the key players in this game. His role in the opening goal was to play the cross-field pass to Paul Pogba, which the Frenchman won a penalty after being fouled in the box. The veteran midfielder was vigilant throughout the game and deserves the praise at this moment in time.

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21 Ander Herrera

One of the players that needs to be praised for his performance. He was the guy connecting the midfield with the attack, something which had gone a miss under Jose Mourinho, for most of his period in charge of the club. The Spanish midfielder is a player who loves the club and will do all he can to keep them winning.

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14 Jesse Lingard

The England international has gone from criticism to being one of the best players in this squad. He's one of the players who needs to start regularly. His passing, vision, awareness and ability is often shown. He helped the other attacking players do what they needed to do. Also could have had himself a goal.

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6 Paul Pogba

Scored his fifth goal under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after winning a penalty in the 27th minute. Five goals and four assists in the same period. The Frenchman has stood up and made himself counted. It is a shame he could not do this under Jose Mourinho. He would be more widely respected by all. As long as he keeps playing like this, he is on the right road to stardom.

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9 Anthony Martial

It was an overall quiet display from the Frenchman but there were periods of excitement. He could have scored a sublime goal. He could be under more pressure for a starting place now that Alexis Sanchez is fit and raring to go. It should bring out the best of both players but we have been here before.

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10 Marcus Rashford

MOTM. Scored a fine goal which turned into United's winner. Over the past few months, Rashford has grown in stature. Under Solskjaer, he's undroppable. Romelu Lukaku might have a lot more work to do in order to be the main striker again. Rashford is a star on the rise.

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Substitutes

8 Juan Mata

Replaced Lingard 75'. There was little impact from the Spanish midfielder. He offers a lot to this squad but in terms of producing, nothing was on the cards today, even when it looked like United needed to get another goal to remain safe.

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Romelu Lukaku

Replaced Martial 83'. The Belgian did a lot of running. Sadly, that was all he seemed to do. I don't know what is going on with him but if he does not start putting in the performances he is capable of, his time at Old Trafford could be coming to an end. He needs chances under Solskjaer though and they will come.

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Matteo Darmian

Replaced Rashford 90+3'. Came on at the death after Rashford was booked. Did what he needed to do in the short time he was on the pitch.

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Goals: Paul Pogba (p) 27′, Marcus Rashford 42′; Pascal Gross 72′

Assists: Diogo Dalot 42′; Davy Propper 72′

Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Jones, Young; Matic, Herrera; Lingard (Mata 75′), Pogba, Martial (Lukaku 83′); Rashford (Darmian 90+3′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly; Pereira; Sanchez

Bookings: Marcus Rashford 90+3′

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford leads the line against Brighton as United look to extend run to seven matches

Manchester United take on Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League at Old Trafford this afternoon. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has won his first six matches as interim manager of the club, the first manager to do so, winning five Premier League matches and one Emirates FA Cup match so far. This will be his seventh game in charge of the club, which has entered a new era and for the first time since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, it seems to be a positive one.

Solskjaer has been boosted with the return to Eric Bailly, after a three-match suspension following his red card against Bournemouth at the end of December. Alexis Sanchez has also been training during the week, after missing out against Tottenham Hotspur last week in that victory that showed the real Manchester United at Wembley. The news that Anthony Martial is close to signing a new long-term contract at the club will also be a big boost for the supporters and the players – David De Gea next, please.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Dalot, Lindelof, Jones, Young;

Matic, Herrera;

Lingard, Pogba, Martial;

Rashford

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Darmian; Mata, Pereira; Sanchez, Lukaku

This will be the 21st match between United and Brighton. In the previous 20 meetings, United have won 12, drawn five and lost three times. Two of the three defeats were in the last two meetings between the two sides; the 3-2 defeat at the start of the season and the 1-0 defeat at the end of last season, both at the Amex Stadium. United now have the confidence, ability, mentality and momentum to beat Brighton and that is just what they need to be doing. Come on UNITED!

Ratings: A captains performance was needed by Manchester United but nobody stood tall…

Manchester United were beaten 3-2 by Brighton and Hove Albion in the clubs first away match in the Premier League this season. United were poor as Glenn Murray (25′), Shane Duffy (27′) and Pascal Gross (44′) did the damage to United. Romelu Lukaku scored in the 34th minute of the match, Paul Pogba scoring a penalty at the death. A day to forget for United supporters.

United have to put in a lot of work in order to be a team capable of beating the top clubs in the league. The way United played today saw them picked apart by Brighton. If they were playing against Tottenham Hotspur, who they play a week on Monday, or even Manchester City, there would have been goals galore.

The lack of anything being put together on the pitch was embarrassing by United. Gone are the days where Manchester United are a feared team. The damage which has been done by the Glazers and Ed Woodward is starting to show itself. The damage has been done already. The Glazers are happy to keep United running as a business, not a football club.

Football clubs should aspire to do well on the pitch. United only do well in the boardroom. Today, at Brighton, United embarrassed themselves, each and every player on that pitch needs to look at their reflection in the mirror and say if they are happy with what they did. Answer whether they think they are putting in the work for their pay each week. Have they worked hard? In most cases, you can answer no to each question.

We are heading into dire times which will become toxic.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Left exposed by United's poor defence. Had little or no chance to save anything, even the penalty. If I was David De Gea, would I want to stay here long-term? That is the question.

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18 Ashley Young

The England full-back had problem after problem with Solly March but Young did well at times. It was his central defensive teammates which were the main problem.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Had a great World Cup and played well against Leicester. However, against Brighton, he was poor, out of place and not a player that had much confidence nor ability. Needs to do so much better.

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3 Eric Bailly

Poor performance by the Ivorian. Gave away a penalty. Was not defensively astute for the majority of the game. Can see why he was dropped last season. United's best defender but after today, he has a lot of soul searching to do.

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23 Luke Shaw

Can hold his head up high. Set up Lukaku's goal to take it back to 2-1. United's problems were all on the other flank. Shaw got an easier ride.

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17 Fred

This season will be more of a settling process for the Brazilian. It may take time. He did well on occasion but has a lot of improvement to make based on the money he cost the club.

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Andreas Pereira

Praised by Mourinho against Leicester. Hooked at half time against Brighton. Out of place in this squad at the moment. Could improve though, actually he will need to.

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6 Paul Pogba

Anonymous. Wore the captains armband, that was the only way you could tell he was the captain. Not good enough from a player that lifted the World Cup a matter of weeks ago. Scored the late penalty but it was not enough.

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8 Juan Mata

No influence in the game at all. Nice guy, no point him playing right now if he's got nothing to give. Not a right winger.

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Romelu Lukaku

Scored for United bringing the game to 2-1. Lacked service, which was telling last season. Worked hard at times. Can only do what he can do.

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9 Anthony Martial

Got a game as Sanchez was unavailable. Pointless in possession. No output. His fans will love him but he's given nothing to this team. When Martial plays for United, they are already down to ten men.

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Substitutes

14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Pereira 46'. Effort, determination, energy were given by the Academy graduate. Nothing was taken out of the game for that though. His teammates had already cause the destruction.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Mata 46'. Put in a lot of effort in the second half. It was always going to be a tough slog based on the state of this team and the fact they were ripped apart in the first half.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

Replaced Martial 60'. Had 30 minutes. Brought down and won the penalty which restored something to the team. Held the ball up well. Maybe should have started.

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Goals: Romelu Lukaku 34′, Paul Pogba 90+4′

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw; Fred, Pereira (Lingard 46′), Pogba; Mata (Rashford 46′), Lukaku, Martial (Fellaini 60′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Smalling; Herrera, McTominay

Bookings: Anthony Martial 45+2′

Report: Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 Manchester United; a day to forget for United supporters

Manchester United were beaten 3-2 by Brighton and Hove Albion in the clubs first away match in the Premier League this season. United were poor as Glenn Murray (25′), Shane Duffy (27′) and Pascal Gross (44′) did the damage to United. Romelu Lukaku scored in the 34th minute of the match, Paul Pogba scoring a penalty at the death. A day to forget for United supporters.

Jose Mourinho made two changes from the squad which beat Leicester City last week with Ashley Young and Anthony Martial coming in for Alexis Sanchez and Matteo Darmian. Marcus Rashford was benched with Lukaku starting his first match this season. Jesse Lingard was also back on the bench for United after his summer break following the FIFA World Cup.

Brighton started the match with a good spell of possession and United were trying to close the South Coast side down quickly. Come the seventh minute, United had a chance to threaten the home side for the first time with Martial twisting and turning inside Martin Montoya but saw his shot deflected for a corner, which was delivered by Juan Mata but cleared by the Seagulls.

A minute later, Solly March dug out a cross from the left for Brighton but David De Gea was alert and pounced in order to claim the ball easily. In the tenth minute, Lukaku had a good chance after Brighton lost possession, Paul Pogba, today’s captain slipped the ball to the Belgian who dragged his left-footed shot wide of the target from his position inside the box.

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In the twelfth minute, Brighton captain Lewis Dunk had a problem and was down receiving treatment. The issue was  quickly resolved with the defender back on the pitch minutes later. In the 16th minute, Luke Shaw was adjudged to have fouled Anthony Knockaert, escaping a booking from referee Kevin Friend. Glenn Murray was flagged offside from the free-kick, taken by Dale Stephens.

In the 19th minute, Lukaku won a corner after his cross into the box was blocked by Gaetan Bong. United looked to be getting better in the game after good build up play from Mata and Ashley Young. In the 20th minute, Dunk had to come off through injury with Leon Balogun replacing the captain. United won another corner in the 21st minute, Young taking the set-piece but Stephens cleared the danger.

In the 22nd minute, Brighton started to dig in and get something from the game with Knockaert latching on to through ball, advancing into the box but fluffing his lines and firing wide of the target. Brighton took the mean three minutes later through Murray after March drilled a low pass which was flicked past De Gea. It was Brighton’s first goal of the new season.

It then got worse for United, who found themselves 2-0 down in two minutes after Shane Duffy opened his Premier League account for his club after beating the Spanish number on with a side footed finish from inside the box after United were unable to clear the danger from a corner. This was an embarrassment for United, who just did not seem to be able to organise anything on the pitch to avert the danger.

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United had a lot to do in order to get back into the game. However, they did come back from 2-0 last season away to Crystal Palace, winning 3-2 with that spectacular goal from Nemanja Matic. United started to enjoy a spell in possession after Brighton scored twice. Young won a corner in the 32nd minute of the match.

United were back in the game inside the 34th minute after Lukaku opened his account for the new season. The Belgian headed home from close-ranger, connecting onto a Shaw shot from the corner which was driven in by Young. United were back in the game, still with a lot to do in order to sap the pressure from this confident Brighton side.

Questions will now be asked of United’s captain, Paul Pogba on whether he can drive United on to a classic comeback of United old. Brighton nearly got through on goal again but the offside flag saved United’s blushes. Brighton won a free-kick from 22-yards which Knockaert stepped up to take. The Frenchman’s effort was too high and did not cause any trouble for United.

Brighton won a penalty in the 43rd minute of the match after Victor Lindelof was beaten and Eric Bailly thundered in to challenge Pascal Gross, giving away a penalty. Gross stepped forward to take the penalty, De Gea trying to save with his feet and sending the ball into the back of the net. It was now 3-1 to Brighton. Four minutes were added at the end of the half with Martial being booked two minutes into added time.

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Mourinho made a double substitution at the start of the second half with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard replacing Juan Mata and Andreas Pereira. It wasn’t the best start for United after Brighton, full of confidence continued to pressure them. Bailly just outside the box nearly lost the ball from an onrushing Brighton player. United recovered and Fred had a shot, which was well over the crossbar.

United won a corner in the 52nd minute, the ball was lofted into the box with Pogba rising for the header, which was off target. United needed to get stuck into this game and work hard to get something from it, whether it is a point, three points or just another goal. After Mourinho was not backed by the club’s board this summer, it was never going to be an easy ride.

Ten minutes into the second half, United were pushing to get back into the game again. Pogba played a pass to find Fred but Duffy did enough to hold back the Brazilian and the ball went out for a goal kick. Shaw then advanced on the left and delivered a cross into the box, which was missed by Bong but a United player could not get into get something from the opportunity.

Come the hour mark, United were turning the screw and applying pressure to Brighton. Marouane Fellaini was receiving some instructions from Kieran McKenna just before he replaced Martial in the 60th minute. A minute later, Shaw drove the ball into the packed penalty area but Lukaku was standing in an offside position and was flagged for offside.

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In the 67th minute, Murray was booked for Brighton after the referee signalled that it was for a succession of offences. United were still 3-1 down with just over 20 minutes to play. Pogba tried to pick out Fellaini at the back post with a deep cross in the 68th minute of the match, which could have put United back into the game. However, Mat Ryan was able to claim the ball to deny United from a goalscoring opportunity.

United have added urgency to their game and it would suggest that if United continued to push, something might give. However, the Red Devils were struggling to create anything going forward with Brighton solid and organised at the back, which is something this United side could learn from. This side, at this stage of the season, certainly make it look like the season is going to be long and tough.

Pogba had a chance, albeit from 25-yards, in the 75th minute but Ryan tipped the ball behind for a United corner. It was the closest United had come to scoring a goal in the second half. I don’t understand what is going wrong with the squad, although it will be blamed on the manager. Lukaku had a chance in the 78th minute, clipping a dangerous ball into the box, Ryan came to save Brighton again.

United were set to leave Brighton with their tails between their legs knowing that the club scalped them at their home again. Tomorrow will see players apologise, say they feel the disappointment and get on with their lives. That would be fine if they did something to justify their wages against this Brighton side. Perhaps they will win the war against the manager and get another one sacked? Who knows. Maybe it was an off day!

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In the 85th minute, Rashford lost the ball but showed his tenacity to win it back but was adjudged to have fouled Stephens. Brighton then won a corner after Stephens latched onto a Montoya free-kick. March took the corner but Pogba headed the danger away. United were vastly running out of time to mount a comeback. There were four minutes of added time played at the end of the second half.

United won a penalty at the death after Fellaini was fouled in the box. Pogba took the penalty, like he did at the start of the Leicester match, firing into the top if the net. It was 3-2 to United. Too little, too late. The match ended with Brighton overcoming defeat in their season opener, beating United at home for the second time in two seasons.

United face Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford a week on Monday, which will not be something many will want to come around quickly. Seeing what Brighton did to this United team, imagining what the likes of Spurs or Manchester City could do is not something many want to think of right now. United have a lot of work to put in on the training pitch in order to overcome this disastrous defeat.

Goals: Romelu Lukaku 34′, Paul Pogba 90+4′

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw; Fred, Pereira (Lingard 46′), Pogba; Mata (Rashford 46′), Lukaku, Martial (Fellaini 60′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Smalling; Herrera, McTominay

Bookings: Anthony Martial 45+2′

Confirmed Starting XI: Mata, Lukaku and Martial lead the line; Pogba captains United once again

Manchester United face Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium in the Premier League this afternoon. Jose Mourinho’s side started their new season with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City at Old Trafford last weekend and will be seeking a first victory on the road today. In this fixture last season, United were beaten by Brighton, one of the three promoted teams from the Championship, of which United lost once to all three. Mourinho will have his mind on the defeat last season, aiming to overcome that and leave the South Coast with another three points in the bag.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Young, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw;

Fred, Pereira, Pogba;

Mata, Lukaku, Martial

Substitutes:

Grant; Smalling; Lingard, Herrera, Fellaini, McTominay; Rashford

This will be the twentieth competitive match between the two clubs. Of the 19 matches played already, United have won 12, drawn five and lost just twice. The last defeat for United was this fixture last season, a 1-0 defeat. The one previous to that was in 1982. United have a bigger and better squad this season with changes made to strengthen the midfield. However, United did not convince against Leicester last week, so will need to add the convincing part to their football on the road to three more points this season.

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial and Rashford start against Brighton

Manchester United travel to the Amex Stadium to face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League this evening. United have two more matches left in the league after tonight; West Ham United (A) and Watford (H), plus an Emirates FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley, which could end their season in style – with another trophy.

It has not been the best season but in terms of improvement, it has been a positive season. United have beaten more top six teams than they did last season, also winning more matches, scoring more goals and drawing fewer matches, something which was a problem last season. Those who say improvement has not been made need to face the facts, not make them up to fit their own agenda.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Darmian, Smalling, Rojo, Young;

Fellaini, Matic, Pogba;

Mata, Rashford, Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw; Lingard, Herrera, McTominay

Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion have played 18 times in the history of both clubs. This will be the third time United and Brighton have faced each other this season, the first time United have visited the Amex Stadium, the previous two matches this season both being played at Old Trafford.

United have only been beaten once by Brighton, on the 6th November 1982, a 1-0 defeat in the old Football League Division One. United have won twelve times, drawing five times. United won 1-0 in the reverse Premier League fixture this season, winning 2-0 in the FA Cup.

Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United – Premier League 2017/18

Brighton and Hove Albion -v- Manchester United

Amex Stadium, Brighton

Premier League 2017/18

Friday 4th May 2018; KO 20:00 BST

Live on Sky Sports Premier League HD in the United Kingdom

Manchester United travel to the Amex Stadium to face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Friday evening. United have three matches left in the league; Brighton (A), West Ham United (A) and Watford (H), plus an Emirates FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley, which could end their season in style – with another trophy. It has not been the best season but in terms of improvement, it has been a positive season. United have beaten more top six teams than they did last season, also winning more matches, scoring more goals and drawing fewer matches, something which was a problem last season. Those who say improvement has not been made need to face the facts, not make them up to fit their own agenda.

The playing style is something that needs to improve with Jose Mourinho adopting a more pragmatic style of play, which if you look into it, rather than being incensed about it, is because United’s defence, despite being second-best in the league this season, has been largely inconsistent. There needs to be a central defensive partnership, one which is allowed to grow, rather than swapping and changing. United’s fullbacks require some work too, both of the first-choice fullbacks are not actually fullbacks, converted wingers to be correct, which shows the actual fullbacks at the club up as they have not really made anything easier. Mourinho has been credited with an interest in signing fullbacks this summer, which could highlight more improvement next season.

Form: Five wins in the last six for Manchester United, who are in great form at this important time; Brighton winless in their last six matches

Manchester United: WWWLWW – Arsenal 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W, Bournemouth 2-0 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 L, Manchester City 3-2 W, Swansea City 2-0 W

Brighton and Hove Albion: LDDWLD – Burnley 0-0 D, Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 3-2 L, Huddersfield Town 1-1 D. Leicester City 2-0 L, Manchester United 2-0 L

Top Scorers (all competitions): Manchester United have scored 100 goals in all competitions; Brighton have scored 39 goals in all competitions

Manchester United: 27 – Romelu Lukaku, 13 – Jesse Lingard, 12 – Marcus Rashford, 11 – Anthony Martial, 6 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Marouane Fellaini, 4 – Chris Smalling, 3 – Juan Mata, Alexis Sanchez, Antonio Valencia, 2 – Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ashley Young, 1 – Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Brighton and Hove Albion: 14 – Glenn Murray, 6 – Pascal Groß, 5 – Jose Izquierdo, 3 – Anthony Knockaert, 2 – Tomer Hemed, Jürgen Locadia, 1 – Lewis Dunk, Own Goal, Connor Goldson, Solly March, Dale Stephens, James Tilley, Leonardo Ulloa

Previous Matches: Manchester United have been dominant against Brighton, losing once in 18 matches

Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion have played 18 times in the history of both clubs. This will be the third time United and Brighton have faced each other this season, the first time United have visited the Amex Stadium, the previous two matches this season both being played at Old Trafford. United have only been beaten once by Brighton, on the 6th November 1982, a 1-0 defeat in the old Football League Division One. United have won twelve times, drawing five times. United won 1-0 in the reverse Premier League fixture this season, winning 2-0 in the FA Cup.

Team News: Eric Bailly back for Manchester United, however, Romelu Lukaku will miss this game

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Romelu Lukaku will miss the trip to Brighton on Friday evening. Mourinho, speaking in his press conference on Friday, said:

“I don’t know. I just know that, of course, [he is] not [available] tomorrow. Apart from that, we need to wait for more scans, more time, but not [available] tomorrow.”

When asked if Lukaku will be fit for the Emirates FA Cup final, against one of his former clubs, Chelsea, Mourinho said:

“I hope so. It looks positive, yeah.”

Sergio Romero still seems to be out of action after suffering an injury whilst playing for Argentina in March. Eric Bailly is back in the squad though after missing the Spurs victory due to sickness. Mourinho did give an extended brief as to why the Ivorian has missed the last few matches, saying:

“Bailly is fine, no injury. He is one of our five central defenders and honestly, my work is not about World Cups and preparing players for the World Cup or giving chances to players to do the World Cup, but he’s the only central defender whose country’s not in the World Cup.

“So, if I have to make a kind of more emotional, effective choice to try to help my players, he’s the one I am not going to help until the end of the season. Because, of course, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, all of them are wishing to make the squad for the World Cup and Eric is not under that pressure.

“I try to be a good team manager and that means being cold, being selfish, but I am not as bad as that and I still have space for a little bit of feelings. So, when I look to the other four central defenders fighting for a position in the World Cup, I’m giving less [time] to Eric.”

Predicted Starting XI: Anthony Martial to lead the line with Romelu Lukaku on the sidelines through injury?

Predicted Score: Another clean sheet for David De Gea with Manchester United strengthening their bid to finish second this season

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-2 Manchester United

Ratings: Matic shows his worth, Lukaku continues to score – a team improvement

Manchester United beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 at Old Trafford in the quarter-final of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday evening. Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring in the 37th minute of the match, assisted by Nemanja Matic. Brighton were no pushover during the match. Matic secured the victory in the 83rd minute, heading from close range to beat Tim Krul.

Key Moments:

37′ – Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring for Manchester United after Luke Shaw broke forward at pace, saw no way through into the box, passing to Nemanja Matic. The Serbian lofted a cross into the box for Lukaku, who beat Tim Krul.

83′ – Nemanja Matic doubled the lead for Manchester United after Ashley Young put a decent cross into the box, the Serbian headed past Tim Krul to secure the lead for his club and see them into the semi-finals of the Emirates FA Cup.

Man of the Match: Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfielder was the Man of the Match for me against Brighton and Hove Albion for the way he got involved in the match. Seemingly happy to see Scott McTominay in the middle of the pitch with him, after playing the last five matches before the defeat to Sevilla in midweek. Matic assisted Lukaku for the opening goal of the game, scoring himself in the 83rd minute.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United

22 Sergio Romero

Was rarely called into action but when he was needed, he showed his ability. Denied Locadia with a suprb save late on. Kept another clean sheet, United fourth in the FA Cup this season.

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25 Antonio Valencia

When he got forward, Valencia's crossing was not the best. Did what he needed to defensively though. Kept Locadia at bay at times.

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3 Eric Bailly

The Ivorian, still a bit rusty after his injury lay off, kept a form grip on Ulloa, effectively keeping him out of the game. Glad to have him back.

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Chris Smalling

Not called up to the England squad this week but he was solid at times against Brighton. Nearly scored, but his the outside of the post and made a great block to deny Locadia.

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23 Luke Shaw

Hooked at half-time. Mourinho stated that he wanted to defend better and have more personality in the team. Not looking good for Shaw.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Man of the Match for me. Put in a great cross for Lukaku to open the scoring. Made some great blocks on the edge of the box and took charge of the midfield. His sublime header in the 83rd minute settled the tie.

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39 Scott McTominay

Lost the ball more than he should have but was praised for his personality by the manager. He was effective at times.

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8 Juan Mata

Mata is normally the glue to this team. It was a shock to see him replaced. Saying that though, he did not really have much involvement in the game. Still a crucial player for the club though.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Had little impact throughout the game. Seemed to dawdle on and off the ball. His passing and his movement were not the best. Needs to find that form that makes him an integral player for the team.

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9 Anthony Martial

Looked ready to take the game by the horns, but faded into the match. Needs a run in the team and probably needs to settle again.

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Romelu Lukaku

Led the line well. Scored his 25th goal of the season. His hold up play is getting better, but the lack of service means he needs to do just that. His teammates are letting him down.

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Substitutes

18 Ashley Young

Replaced Shaw 46'. Got stuck into the match and helped defend. Not sure he did much better than Shaw but United got the result they needed.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Mata 74'. Broke a sweat and got stuck in. Brighton's defence may not have been happy to see him come on. Sadly the form he had shown against Liverpool was not present.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

Replaced Lingard 89'. Came on in the last minute of normal time, played four minutes in total. Not long enough to break a sweat.

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Goals: Romelu Lukaku 37′, Nemanja Matic 83′

Assists: Nemanja Matic 37′, Ashley Young 83′

Manchester United: Romero; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw (Young 46′); Matic, McTominay; Mata (Rashford 74′), Lingard (Fellaini 89′), Martial; Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Lindelof; Pogba; Sanchez

Report: Manchester United into the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup after Lukaku and Matic sink Brighton

Manchester United beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 at Old Trafford in the quarter-final of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday evening. Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring in the 37th minute of the match, assisted by Nemanja Matic. Brighton were no pushover during the match. Matic secured the victory in the 83rd minute, heading from close range to beat Tim Krul.

Jose Mourinho made five changes from the team which crashed out of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening with Sergio Romero, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial all starting in place of David De Gea, Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Marcus Rashford and Alexis Sanchez.

United started the march shakily with Brighton not afraid to attack. United broke forward with Anthony Martial seeking a shot on goal, which was deflected and out for a corner, which came to nothing for United with the ball finding its way to Eric Bailly, who misplaced a pass with Brighton regaining possession once again.

By the tenth minute of the match, United had started to play well, literally camping in the final third. There was another attempt on goal after Antonio Valencia drilled a cross to Romelu Lukaku from the right flank, the Belgian unable to get his shot on target or threaten Tim Krul. Jesse Lingard had a long-range shot in the 14th minute of the match, which was off target.

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United won a corner in the 20th minute of the match after Davy Propper made a defensive error, putting the ball out of play when he attempted to pass back to Krul. Nothing came of the corner for United, although they were still in the final third of the pitch trying to create something. Martial had a chance to shoot, but fluffed his lines. Brighton had a chance at the other end but were offside.

United found themselves under pressure in the 25th minute with Brighton on the attack. A last-ditch block from Bailly saved United’s blushes with United’s defence giving Brighton plenty of time on the ball, enough to create something which could have changed the game. United had a chance to take something from the game, Martial’s shot not strong enough, then deflected with Krul collecting.

In the 30th minute of the match, United had a great chance with Martial and Juan Mata combining, the Spaniard having the last touch with Brighton putting the ball out for a corner. From the corner, Chris Smalling tried to sneak a shot in by the near post, seemingly missing the outside of the post with Brighton getting a goal kick.

United started to build something around the 35th minute of the match, putting pressure on the visitors which was gaining them ground and seeing their confidence grow, slightly. Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring, his 25th goal of the season, in the 37th minute of the match. Luke Shaw started the attack, passing to Nemanja Matic, who assisted the Belgian striker.

The was just a minute of stoppage time added at the end of the first half. United were leading the match 1-0 but Brighton were seeking a way back into the game, pressuring United at every opportunity. It was probably not the best display from United, but as they grow into the game, it could all be different. The job was far from done, but United’s foot was firmly in the door at the break.

At the start of the second half, Mourinho made his first substitution with Luke Shaw being replaced by Ashley Young. United won a corner in the 48th minute of the match but Brighton were then able to clear the danger, putting the ball out for a throw-in. United, still in the final third, were attacking the Stretford End in the second half.

United won a throw-in deep in Brighton’s half after Lukaku and Martial attempted to get through on the left flank but Brighton made the clearance to deny United from a credible attacking opportunity. Brighton had a chance in the 51st minute of the match through Pascal Groß, the shot just being wide of the target.

Brighton had another shot, this time forcing a save from Romero. The Argentinian did not have to do much to stop the shot though. United were immediately on the attack after the shot, pressing Brighton, using the width but Young lost the ball in the box before Brighton cleared their lines with United regaining possession once again.

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In the 57th minute of the match, Brighton broke forward and Jurgen Locadia had a credible shot on target, Romero making the save to deny the equaliser. United broke forward through Martial but Lingard was too far forward to create something. Brighton then went in the other direction on the ball, placed a corner into the box with Romero catching the ball and keeping possession to break again.

Brighton looked like a goal is not beyond them the way they were breaking United down. In the 65th minute of the match, Valencia had to make a clearance, out of position to stop the side from breaking through and getting a shot on goal. Locadia had a headed attempt in the 67th minute, which was off target but could well have been the equaliser. United need to take charge of this fixture now.

Brighton made their first change in the 68th minute with Solly March being replaced by Jose Izquierdo. Near enough straight away, Izquierdo was able to threaten for the visitors, United regaining possession and clearing the danger. Chris Smalling made a great interception moments later to deny Brighton again in quick succession.

Lukaku broke forward for United in the 72nd minute of the match, putting the ball into the box from the left flank. Brighton made the clearance to deny United from a goalscoring opportunity. In the 74th minute of the match, Mourinho made his second substitution of the game with Juan Mata being replaced by Marcus Rashford. Brighton were readying their second substitution.

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In the 76th minute of the match, Glenn Murray replaced Leonardo Ulloa. The tempo had started to slow heading into the last ten minutes of the match. United doubled their lead in the 84th minute of the match through Matic, who has been the main man during the game. A goal and an assist for the Serbian.

Jose Mourinho has seemingly delivered his third semi-final appearance for United in his two seasons in charge. Young seemed to be carrying an injury in the latter stages of the match, receiving treatment on the pitch, him seemingly alright to continue for the remaining few minutes of the match.

Mourinho made his final substitution in the 89th minute of the match with Lingard being replaced by Marouane Fellaini. Both Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez had sat out the entire match with many of the media shocked to see both dropped from the team when they have been debating it all week and suggesting Mourinho must drop the pair.

There were three minutes of added time to come at the end of the match. It was still not over yet for United but Brighton had tailed off slightly in their attempts to get back into the match. Romero made another fine save to deny Brighton in the final minute of stoppage time, seemingly keeping his clean sheet, not conceding a goal in the Emirates FA Cup this season.

Key Moments:

37′ – Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring for Manchester United after Luke Shaw broke forward at pace, saw no way through into the box, passing to Nemanja Matic. The Serbian lofted a cross into the box for Lukaku, who beat Tim Krul.

83′ – Nemanja Matic doubled the lead for Manchester United after Ashley Young put a decent cross into the box, the Serbian headed past Tim Krul to secure the lead for his club and see them into the semi-finals of the Emirates FA Cup.

Man of the Match: Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfielder was the Man of the Match for me against Brighton and Hove Albion for the way he got involved in the match. Seemingly happy to see Scott McTominay in the middle of the pitch with him, after playing the last five matches before the defeat to Sevilla in midweek. Matic assisted Lukaku for the opening goal of the game, scoring himself in the 83rd minute.

Match Statistics:

Goals: Romelu Lukaku 37′, Nemanja Matic 83′

Assists: Nemanja Matic 37′, Ashley Young 83′

Manchester United: Romero; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw (Young 46′); Matic, McTominay; Mata (Rashford 74′), Lingard (Fellaini 89′), Martial; Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Lindelof; Pogba; Sanchez

Confirmed Starting XI: Romero, Shaw, & Martial start; McTominay back in the team; Pogba & Sanchez benched

Manchester United face Brighton and Hove Albion in the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford on Saturday evening. United have had some great results recently, beating Chelsea and Crystal Palace in the Premier League, coming from behind in both matches, then beating Liverpool last weekend, putting some distance between them and United.

On Tuesday night though at the Theatre of Dreams, United needed to beat Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League. They lost 2-1 after a very poor performance – a performance which saw the best of Romelu Lukaku and Eric Bailly, but showed a weakness amongst the remainder of the team.

Manchester United:

Romero;

Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw;

Matic, McTominay;

Mata, Lingard, Martial;

Lukaku

Substitutes:

De Gea; Lindelof, Young; Pogba, Fellaini; Sanchez, Rashford

Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion have played 17 times in the history of both clubs. The first match was played on the 16th January 1909 – a 1-0 victory for United in the FA Cup.

United have won 11 times, drawn five times and been defeated just once – a 1-0 defeat in the old Football League Division One on the 6th November 1982 – exactly four years before Sir Alex Ferguson was named the manager of the Old Trafford club.

United have beaten Brighton at Old Trafford earlier this season, a 1-0 victory with Lewis Dunk scoring an own goal. Jose Mourinho’s side will need to do that again, but in a much better way to bounce back from defeat on Tuesday.

copyright: JW