|Source: The Manchester Evening News|
Manchester United looked to follow up victory in their first Premier League game of the season with another win away at Brighton. The game against Leicester was promising for United as they run out 2-1 winners, with goals from Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw. The defence was solid, and the midfield was great, the only concern was the forward line. However, it was still a great start for United and they looked to push on from it against Brighton.
The team sheet saw a few changes from the previous game with fan favourite Anthony Martial replacing the injured Alexis Sánchez, Romelu Lukaku replacing Marcus Rashford and the now fully fit again Ashley Young replacing Matteo Darmain. Mourinho hoped that these changes would help us in the attack as the prolific Romelu Lukaku returned to the starting eleven, looking to get straight back in with the goals. Mourinho also decided to keep the centre back pairing of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelöf, who looked great against Leicester, as well as also keeping the highly impressive midfield trio of Paul Pogba, Andreas Pereira and Fred together for the game.
Manchester United XI: David De Gea, Ashley Young, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelöf, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba (c), Andreas Pereira, Fred, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku
Brighton XI: Mathew Ryan, Martin Montoya, Lewis Dunk (c), Shane Duffy, Gaëtan Bong, Anthony Knockaert, Dale Stephens, Davy Propper, Solly March, Pascal Groß, Glenn Murray
The game saw an utter capitulation from Manchester United as within the first 30 minutes Brighton took a 2-0 lead. United quickly replied from a corner which lead to Luke Shaw hitting the ball into the ground before it looped up and found the head of Romelu Lukaku. However, shortly afterwards Brighton regained their two goal lead thanks to a Pascal Groß penalty, which De Gea should have kept out as it went straight down the middle of the United goal. The first half was utterly terrible from United with the usually reliable Bailly and De Gea having an awful half for football. Additionally, players such as Fred, Pereira and Lukaku struggled to make their impact on the game with United losing the ball again and again as they tried to attack. Pogba as had little to no impact on the first half and he was a huge disappointment, not the sort of thing you’re looking for in a United captain. Overall, the display in the first half by United was awful and left much to be desired as they were played off the park by a fantastic Brighton display. Credit here credits due Brighton were stupendous in the first half as they managed to put three past last seasons 2nd best defence.
The 2nd half saw United make several changes with Mourinho changes the formation to a 4231 and being on Rashford and Lingard in replace of Mata and Pereira. However, though the changes had a positive impact on the team, they failed to have any impact to the game and even with the introduction of Fellaini United failed to challenge Brighton’s lead. United did manage to pull 1 goal back curtesy of a 93rd minute penalty from Pogba, but it had no affect on the overall result of the game as United underwhelmingly fell to a 3-2 defeat. One of the only positives from the game for Manchester United which was the performance of Luke Shaw who I thought had a good game despite the score line. He managed to get forward well and support the attack and was strong defensively when he needed to be.
Overall, the team hugely disappointed and failed to perform when they needed to, meaning that going into next weeks game against Spurs not many people are going to be filling with confidence. For next week we need to sort our defence out, as they looked extremely shaky and short of confidence as well as gain some more solidity in the midfield where we seemed to get overrun even with the quality in there. Martial didn’t take his chance and I’m sure didn’t get the favour of Mourinho with this performance so I fully expect Sanchez to come back into the side, which I can only hope increasing our productivity infront of goal. Additionally, we can hope that Lukaku’s goal today was the point where he can kick on and find the form he had last season, where he was United’s best attacking outlet.