Manchester United vs Brighton Preview

Manchester United cannot afford another draw vs Brighton

After a third 1-1 after 90 minutes, Manchester United have to beat Brighton at Old Trafford. Manchester United have played some of their best football in the last three games and the first halves have been excellent watches with plenty of chances created. However, the second halves turn to chaos and calamity within minutes of the referee’s whistle. United conceded goals in the first ten minutes of the second half twice in the last two games. The Southampton equaliser coming just three minutes in.

United have to sort themselves out because they are slipping out of the race for Top Four. This is their last game in hand and then it’s 13 games to go with City, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Leicester and Liverpool to play against. It will not be an easy task. Coupled with the only chance of silverware being in the Champions League, this season could be resparked or drift meekly away.

What does Rangnick need to do?

Ralf needs to be ruthless. There are players who need another kick and there are players that are not doing enough at the moment. Things have to change. While we are on the subject, I did not like what I heard in the post-match interview and the presser for tomorrow’s game. Ralf cannot just say it’s Ole’s fault United are in the position they are in.

Ole’s final months were dire and dropped the confidence of the team as well as the position in the table. But when Rangnick took over after 16 games, United were 2 points behind fourth and in a good position to take over. The run of matches Rangnick has had is a favourable one and United should not have dropped as many points as they did. He has to take some accountability if United don’t make Top Four. But there’s still plenty of games to play, including this crucial game. Here’s all you need to know:

Match Information:

Teams: Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion
Date: Tuesday 15th February 2022
KO Time: 20:15 GMT
Stadium: Old Trafford
Managers: Ralf Rangnick and Graham Potter
Referee: Peter Bankes

Manchester United vs Brighton Team News

Manchester United

Alex Telles and Fred are now available for selection after returning to training last week. Lindelof could come in after returning from illness. Matic remains out with a shin injury and joins Bailly and Cavani on the short injury list.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Leandro Trossard could start for the Seagulls but Welbeck has been in good form and could keep up his form against his former club. Mwepu and Sarmiento are out but Bissouma could return after his AFCON duties.

Interesting Facts:

  • Manchester United have not lost to Brighton since a 3-2 defeat at the Amex in 2018 under Jose Mourinho. United have never lost a home match to Brighton in the club’s history.
  • Brighton average a goal a game this season with their biggest win recorded this weekend in a 2-0 win over Watford. They create a lot of chances but fail to take them. Sounds familiar?
  • In the 2020/21 seaon, Manchester United picked up 32 points from losing positions in the league – 43% of their total points tally. This season, United have dropped 13 points from winning positions. These points would have put them third in the table.
  • Manchester United are currently equidistant from the top of the Premier League as they are to the relegation zone (23 points).

Predicted XI:

As I said, Rangnick has to be ruthless. If we are to be a high intensity pressing team with a modern style of possession and control, we need a modern keeper. David de Gea is not a modern keeper and seemingly will never be one. He can make great saves, especially when he doesn’t need to. He isolates his defenders and constantly gives the ball away cheaply in possession. Against Burnley it almost created a huge chance. Against Southampton, it should have created a goal. It cannot keep happening.

In defence Wan-Bissaka should come in as Dalot has played 300 minutes last week and needs a rest. Varane should stay in and so should Maguire because, despite all the circus around him, it’s not his fault he gets isolated in defence countless times. Yes he should do better at times, especially this season. But he is pivotal to our ball progression and aerial defence and has been our most consistent defender since his arrival. He should be our stopper with Varane sweeping behind him. Luke Shaw could come out for Telles depending on the Brazilian’s fitness. Shaw impressed in attack but was liable in defence in United’s offside trap. This isn’t the first time this has been a concern.

In midfield, I expect Fred to slot back in next to his good friend, Scott McTominay. I think Bruno will keep his place but Pogba will move forwards to the left with Sancho on the right. Ronaldo should start up top but I wouldn’t say no to a false nine of Bruno with either Rashford or Elanga coming in. Ronaldo has to start scoring because without his goals, he offers very little in the build up or off the ball. If he doesn’t score here, I can see him dropped for Leeds at the weekend.

Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Sancho, Fernandes, Pogba; Ronaldo

Predicted Score:

I can’t keep expecting United to blow teams away when they simply cannot put the ball in the net. However, I cannot assume they will drop points from winning positions forever. A narrow win is better than no win and to be perfectly honest, I would prever a no-nonsense 2-0 over another swashbuckling first half and a disappointing second half. I think United can provide a 2-0 lead but I don’t think Brighton will go without a fight.

United to win 2-1

Author: Arjun Handa

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