Match Previews

Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Manchester United

Fresh from a last-gasp win, United travel to the seaside to face Brighton – beginning the penultimate gameweek in the Premier League.

It’s fair to say Chris Hughton has personally had a better campaign than his counterpart José Mourinho, but ultimately there will be plenty of places separating them come the of the season.

A rare Friday night fixture could start the weekend with a bang.


Kick-off: 20:00 [BST]


Venue: AMEX Stadium


Referee: Craig Pawson


The Seagulls

Current run: DDLDL

Top scorer: Glenn Murray [12]

Most assists: Pascal Groß [8]

One to watch: José Izquierdo

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Steve Sidwell; broken ankle (unknown)

Style of play

Winless in their five outings since meeting United in the FA Cup almost two months ago, it seems that late season nerves have crept into the side despite looking set to stay up.

Little change in the squad has come too post-cup exit as the 4-4-1-1 is still used. Getting his fair share of attention recently has been advanced play-maker Groß who has contributed hugely to his team – almost as much as the man in front of him in that two-forward system, Murray, and winger Anthony Knockheart who has also shown quality this season.

Their defensive solidity has come into question once again as they kept a clean sheet last weekend for the first time in 12 games. However, the partnership of Shane Duffy & Lewis Dunk has not yet been tampered, nor the partnership of Berim Kayal & Dale Stephens ahead of them in the midfield since Davy Pröpper was suspended (but the Dutchman is back available for this one).

The weak point seems the full backs in Bruno Salter and the much talked about Gaetan Bong as they struggle to stop crosses on numerous occasions.

It’s a nightmare run-in for Brighton now though as they face the top three sides for their final trio of matches (home, away and away respectively) so they will be hoping to leave the AMEX this campaign on a high note by getting one over on their adversaries on the day.

What the manager said:

“We have an opportunity on Friday to do ourselves a big favour. It’s a big game for the club and a high-profile one; if we can perform as well as we did against them on the previous two occasions then we give ourselves a chance.”

Reverse fixture: 1-0 (Dunk o.g.)


The Red Devils

Talking points

Winning their first game in extra-time since August 2016 meant a Champions League place was secured for next season as the the squad should be full of confidence going into the final handful of matches remaining this season.

Mourinho believes both David De Gea (fresh regaining his Sir Matt Busby POTY award) and Marouane Fellaini will stay at the club for next season due to recent positive talks, with the latter being out of contract in the summer along with Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Luke Shaw and now regular starter Ashley Young.

Contrary to speculation following the Player of the Year awards on Tuesday evening, Mourinho confirmed he wants keep Blind and Matteo Darmian

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Romelu Lukaku; knock (day to day)
  • Sergio Romero; knee (day to day)

Team news

Also in his Press Conference, Mourinho explained the reason why Eric Bailly has been absent as of late. The boss said that he believed the other four first-team centre backs have more intensive to perform well due

Victor Lindelöf won ‘Man of the Match’ last time out and deserves to retain his place.

Fellaini was needed as a battering ram in that weekend win and may be utilised again against a physical opposition centre back pairing.

Jesse Lingard was on loan to Brighton in 2014 and will aim to show how much he has improved since then.

With Lukaku still a doubt, either one of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Alexis Sánchez should start up front.

What the manager said:

“I think Brighton are already in the Premier League for next year. Chris [Hughton] has done a fantastic job, and has not surprised me, because since the start of the season they have shown the quality and mentality to stay in this division.”

Possible key battles

– Murray vs. Lindelöf

– Groß vs. Matić

– Kayal vs. Pogba

– Knockheart vs. Young

– Saltor vs. Rashford


Match facts

  • Brighton have won six of their last seven home league games played on a Friday [D1)], since a 0-1 loss against Wolves on January 1st 2016
  • United have lost at Newcastle and Huddersfield this season – they’ve never previously lost away against all 3 promoted sides in a single top-flight campaign before
  • This will be the first top-flight meeting between these sides hosted by The Seagulls since November 1982, in which they won 1-0 thanks to a Peter Ward goal
  • The Red Devils have never lost a Premier League match on a Friday [W6 D3 L0]
  • Groß has been directly involved in 44% of Brighton’s 32 Premier League goals this season – only Mohamed Salah [50%] has been involved in a higher share of his team’s goals
  • Paul Pogba has scored 3 goals in his last 4 Premier League games (as many as he had in his previous 20 in the competition)

UK television channel: Sky Sports Main Event/Premier League


Enjoy the match!

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