Man Utd host Brighton at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. The Red Devils have won both home matches this season but their defence has been leaking goals. The Seagulls have won three of their four matches and are the division’s top scorers with 12 goals netted. Brighton have won the last three league fixtures between these sides.
Man Utd Form
It hasn’t been a great start to the season for United. They beat Wolves 1-0 at home in the opening match despite allowing 18 second-half shots and surviving a VAR error in added time. A 2-0 loss at Tottenham followed despite producing more shots and a slightly higher xG due to missing all four of their ‘big chances’.
Man Utd then came from 2-0 down after four minutes to beat ten-man Nottingham Forest 3-2 at home. With 2.83 xG and outshooting Forest 18-9, it was a deserved win in the end. In their last match, United lost 3-1 at Arsenal. An offside goal in the 89th minute nearly put Ten Hag’s men 2-1 up but too late goals sealed a defeat. They allowed the Gunners 2.27 xG and only put up 0.94 xG themselves.
Man Utd Team News
Erik Ten Hag has a plethora of injuries and issues to deal with. Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw are absent in defence and Lisandro Martinez is doubtful with a foot injury. Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire could therefore form the centre-back pairing. Sergio Reguilon could make a full debut at left-back.
In midfield, Sofyan Amrabat is doubtful with a back problem whilst Mason Mount is injured and Antony is suspended internally. Jadon Sancho was left out of the squad vs. Arsenal due to training poorly and his involvement is a doubt. Rasmus Holjund may be handed a first start up front after his sub outing against Arsenal.
Man Utd Motivation
At home, United have a great record and never play for anything less than a win. Brighton are almost expected to dominate the possession in this one.
Motivation should be high after the loss at Arsenal and two weeks to reset during the FIFA break. A draw would not be seen as a good result but they’ll want to avoid a fourth straight defeat to Brighton.
It’s been a great start to the season for Roberto De Zerbi’s team. They thrashed Luton 4-1 at home on the opening day with 4.01 xG and 27 shots in a one-sided clash. A resounding 4-1 victory at Wolves followed with three goals in ten minutes after half time in an otherwise even contest.
Brighton then found themselves losing 3-1 at home to West Ham despite 78% possession. Their opponents used their 22% possession to put up 3.23 xG and six ‘big chances’ in a fine display of counter-attacking. They bounced back to beat Newcastle 3-1 at home in the last match, only conceding a late consolation goal in a dominant display.
Brighton Team News
Attacking midfield Julio Enciso is ruled out of this match. Both Danny Welbeck and Evan Ferguson are carrying injuries and will need late fitness tests. Ansu Fati has joined on loan from Barcelona and he may be handed a debut in the number ten role.
Young midfielder Carlos Baleba was signed from Lille but he may need to be eased into action. Both Tariq Lamptey and Adam Lallana are fit after injuries to boost the side’s options. Billy Gilmour is set to keep his place ahead of Mahmoud Dahoud.
De Zerbi’s side are going to look to dominate this match. They will keep the ball and commit numbers forward in search of three points.
On paper, a draw is a decent enough result but it won’t enter the minds of the Brighton manager or players.
Man Utd are unbeaten in 20 home league matches (17 wins)
Man Utd have scored 2+ goals in 4 of their last 5 matches at Old Trafford
Man Utd have lost their last 3 league matches vs Brighton
Brighton have scored the most goals in the EPL this season (12)
Brighton have lost 4 of their last 7 away matches (3 wins, no draws)
Brighton’s last 5 away matches have produced 20 goals (10 scored, 10 conceded)
This looks set to be an exciting match with plenty of goals to enjoy. Recent performances suggest Brighton have a chance of winning the match, especially with United’s defensive injuries.