Manchester United vs Brighton Player Ratings

Two goals from Pascal Gross were enough to secure Brighton their first ever victory at Old Trafford, as Erik ten Hag tasted defeat in his first game in charge of Manchester United. The Reds got a goal back in the second half, however the Seagulls stood firm and survived a late onslaught.

Manchester United vs Brighton Summary

The Red Devils began the game without a recognised striker. Christian Eriksen, who was making his league debut for the club, was deployed as a false nine. United began the game brightly with the best chance falling to Bruno Fernandes.

Jadon Sancho found Scott McTominay in space and the midfielder found Fernandes in the penalty area. Sighs echoed around Old Trafford, as United’s new number eight scuffed his shot, missing the target completely. Ten Hag’s side were then completely outclassed for the rest of the first half.

Graham Potter’s side won every duel and began pushing the Reds further and further back. Trossard and Welbeck constantly made runs in behind Maguire and eventually Brighton were in front. Trossard cut the ball back to Gross, who put the ball into the empty net.

There was no response from the Red Devils and before halftime they found themselves 2-0 down. De Gea got a hand to March’s shot, however the ball fell to Gross again. Gross beat Fred to the ball and made it 2-0.

Second Half

There was a reaction in the second half from the Reds. Ronaldo was brought on and this lifted both the team and fans. The introduction of the 37-year-old saw the front-line come to life.

Rashford and Sancho became more involved and Brighton were now unable to cope with the pressure. Rashford spurred multiple opportunities to get his side back in the game. United’s best chance of the half came from Ronaldo.

Dalot picked out Ronaldo, who made a run in behind the Seagulls defence. Ronaldo then put it on a plate for Rashford, however the Englishman was denied by Sanchez.

United were given hope when Dalot helped bundle the ball over the line. The Old Trafford faithful spurred their team on, but Ten Hag’s men were unable to find the equaliser.

Manchester United vs Brighton Player Ratings

David de Gea 4/10

A poor performance from the Spaniard. Distribution was awful and could have done better for both goals. Didn’t come off his line to prevent the ball from reaching Gross and diverted the ball into his path for the second.

Diogo Dalot 5/10

Was defensively shaky throughout the contest. Was caught out by Trossard within the first 10 seconds. Did improve and contributed in the final third. Picked out Ronaldo with a delightful through ball and also saw his effort saved by Sanchez. Caused confusion in the Brighton box and played a roll in the United goal.

Harry Maguire 6/10

A decent display from the skipper. Brought the ball out from the back efficiently and displayed some of his excellent long-range passing. His lack of pace did him no favours in his battle with Welbeck.

Lisandro Martinez 7/10

Composed on and off the ball. An impressive outing for the Argentine on his debut. Won his duels and got the team out of some difficult situations. Perhaps lucky not to concede a penalty in the second half.

Luke Shaw 3/10

A poor performance from the fullback. Looked unfit and wasn’t at the races at all. Allowed March to cut in for the second goal and offered nothing going forward. Malacia should start ahead of him next week at Brentford.

Scott McTominay 1/10

Perhaps his worst performance for the club. Was the reason for many attacks breaking down. Passive on the ball with lots of sideways and backwards passing. Lost the ball in the middle of the park and Brighton countered and scored from this. A disastrous display from the Scottish international. Needs replacing immediately.

Fred 3/10

Better than McTominay but looked uncomfortable in this deep position. Was targeted by Brighton and was let off the hook on multiple occasions. Was unfortunate to be withdrawn for Ronaldo, when McTominay should have made way.

Bruno Fernandes 6/10

Far from his best, but did impact the game. Should have put the Reds 1-0 up and that missed-opportunity was a turning point in the game. Improved in the second period and this was mainly because of his link-up play with Eriksen. The own-goal came from his inviting corner delivery.

Jadon Sancho 4/10

Didn’t live up to the expectations, which his pre-season form put on him. Was anonymous in the first half. Saw more of the ball in the second but his final product was poor. Needs to significantly improve.

Christian Eriksen 7/10

Arguably United’s best player. Rarely lost the ball and made positive, progressive passes. Didn’t impact the game in the false nine role but was much better in a deeper role in the second half. Should have had an assist to his name, however Rashford was unable to connect cleanly with the cross.

Marcus Rashford 4/10

Like Sancho he improved in the second half and saw much more of the ball. Improved by doing the basics well rather than over-complicating things. Should have scored his one on one and connected better with his other opportunities. Needs to find his shooting boots quickly with United’s tough set of fixtures coming up.


Cristiano Ronaldo 6/10

Gave Old Trafford a much needed lift. Set up Rashford with a perfectly weighted ball.

Donny van de Beek 6/10

Was refreshing to see forward passes and a midfielder who could progress the ball. Deserves a chance against Brentford.

Alejandro Garnacho N/A

Insufficient time to impact the game.

Anthony Elanga N/A

Brought on in injury time.

Tyrell Malacia N/A

Made his debut.

Manager Erik ten Hag 6/10

Picked his best eleven, but urgently needs new arrivals. The false nine experiment was a failure, however there were a lack of other options and systems, which could have been deployed. Perhaps could have brought Ronaldo on at halftime and taken McTominay off sooner. Brought on three young lads in injury time as a desperate attempt to rescue something from the game. Needs reinforcements or his job will be extremely hard.

Man of the Match: Christian Eriksen

Author: Rajan Sangha

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