Match Previews

Preview: Manchester United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion

Photo: Getty Images

After crashing out of one competition in midweek, the weekend offers United a chance to take another step into making a success of the dismal season thus far but Brighton will be no push-overs

The so far this season over-achieving Chris Hughton will be eager to prove his managerial nous against his so far this season under-achieving counterparts José Mourinho (who is currently under fire).

Another late Saturday night match in British football promises to be just as entertaining before the international break.

Kick-off: 19:45 (GMT)

Referee: Andre Marriner

Venue: Old Trafford

The Seagulls


Current run: LWWWD

Road to the quarter-final

W 2-1 Crystal Palace [H]

W 0-1 Middlesbrough [A]

W 3-1 Coventry City [H]

Top scorer: Glenn Murray [11]

Most assists: Pascal Groß [8]

One to watch: José Izquierdo

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Anthony Knockheart; three match ban (1st game)
  • Steve Sidwell; broken ankle (summer)
  • Jirí Skalák; ankle (back in training)

Team news

During his press conference, Hughton stated he was undecided on whether Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan (who has been stellar for most of the season in the Premier League) or back-up Dutchman Tim Krul would start in goals.

Full back Gaetan Bong and midfielder Dale Stephens are doubtful with minor injury problems.

Star striker Glenn Murray was shockingly omitted from the England national squad in midweek and will be out to prove a huge point.

Style of play

Playing on the counter attack, a 4-4-1-1 formation has been integral to the system working. Typically, target man Murray leads the line and has creative maestro Pascal Groß just behind to cover huge amounts of ground and pressure the opposing back line. January signings Leonardo Ulloa (in his second stint with the club) and Jurgen Locadia could also act as a target men from the bench.

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There’s pace and trickery on the wings with the likes of Anthony Knockheart (who is unavailable and set to be replaced by Solly March) and Izquierdo as central men Davy Pröpper and Stephens hold the team together.

Solid centre back pairing Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk have impressed with their goal-scoring and goal-stopping this season with the aforementioned Ryan between the posts to give further protection.

What the manager said:

“What we all know about Manchester United is they have huge quality, and are only second in this division because Manchester City are having an outstanding season. They are going to have days that are not so good, and we’ll have to make sure that we play well enough to get a result.

The Red Devils

Talking points

Going out of the Champions League after two dismal performances against a team they should be beating over two legs, means that United have to prove themselves as worthy success-chasers in a difficult competition if they are to maintain their league form.

Mourinho is under pressure with rumours circulating all the time around his future at the club and gave a remarkable 12-minute rant in his press conference.

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The same goes for Paul Pogba who is rumoured to not actually be injured but to have fallen out with the Portuguese boss.

Star signing Alexis Sánchez has received criticism too as of late due to his, overall, lacklustre outings since joining the club.

Ahead of that International break, many stars have been called up for United including David De Gea, Victor Lindelöf, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Nemanja Matić, Scott McTominay, Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Sergio Romero, Sánchez, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young.

Marcos Rojo signed a new contact with the club on Friday and more players could follow in the near future.

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Daley Blind; ankle (day to day)
  • Ander Herrera; hamstring (4 weeks)
  • Phil Jones; knock (back in training)
  • Zlatan Ibrahimović; hamstring (back in training)
  • Marcos Rojo; head (day to day)

Team news

Also in the press conference, Mourinho confirmed the squad that faced Sevilla will remain intact for the match.

Romero could start in between the posts due to his presence in each FA Cup game so far.

Lindelöf is likely to return to the side in defence along with McTominay (who received massive praise from his boss in midweek about soaking up “every world” given to him in team meetings) and Pogba in midfield – players who have been on the fringes as of late after strong showings.

Martial is set to start after Rashford failed to take his chance in midweek and Lingard was quiet, as Juan Mata is set to keep his place.

Last time out

United 1-0 Brighton (Dunk o.g.)

What the manager said:

“I’m happy that people were sad and frustrated. I’m happy we were exactly on the same page and I’m happy to see the boys coming back again on my page.”

Match facts

• United haven’t met Brighton in the FA Cup since January 1993, with Ryan Giggs scoring to give his side a 1-0

• Brighton have only won one of their 17 matches against United in their entire history (D5 L11), winning 1-0 in a top-flight fixture in November 1982

• United have been eliminated from 3 of their last 4 FA Cup quarter-finals, progressing only in 2015/16 against West Ham after a replay (before winning the competition); they haven’t won a quarter-final without the need of a replay since 2010/11 against Arsenal

• Brighton are only making their third FA Cup quarter-final appearance and their first since 1985/86 when they lost to Southampton; their other quarter-final came in 1982/83, which they won against Norwich on their way to facing United in the final

• Romelu Lukaku has scored 11 goals in his last 10 appearances in this completion – the only blank he drew was against Man Utd for Everton in the semi-final in April 2016

• Mourinho has won 14 of his 16 home FA Cup matches (D1 L1)

• Hughton, meanwhile, has managed four away matches at Old Trafford in all competitions and lost all four without seeing his sides score a single goal

UK television channel: BT Sport 1

Enjoy the match

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