LINE: Brighton +370 | Draw +260 | Manchester United -125
WHEN: Saturday, September 26th @ 07:30am EST
WATCH: NBC Sports / Peacock
Manchester United’s start to their Premier League season was…underwhelming to say the least. They suffered their worst opening-week defeat in over 20 years & looked extremely lacklustre. With the transfer activity situation looking grim, only a positive result against Brighton Hove & Albion can lift their spirits.
To their credit, Brighton looks a really solid team this time around. They’re playing an attractive style, not behaving like a ‘small team’ and aren’t afraid of going toe-to-toe with anyone. United need major improvements from last week & be more clinical going forward to scrap a much-needed win.
Brighton Likely XI
Ryan, White, Dunk, Webster, Lamptey, Lallana, Alzate, Burn, Trossard, Maupey, Connolly
Yves Bissouma will be unavailable after picking up a red card against Newcastle United last week, but Graham Potter should have a fully fit side apart from that.
Manchester United Likely XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Pogba, Bruno, Greenwood, Rashford, Martial
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should have regulars Aaron Wan-Bissaka & Nemanja Matic fit for the game, so they should start. Axel Tuanzebe & Phil Jones remain the only injury absentees.
Brighton vs Manchester United Preview
It was quite clear from United’s performance against Crystal Palace that they aren’t nearly fit or sharp as expected. A two-week pre-season with only one friendly game & lack of new faces in the team resulted in that disaster.
But Solskjaer cannot afford to sulk at the current state & needs his side to put in a big performance at the Amex Stadium. Fortunately, Brighton isn’t going to park the bus with 10 defenders like Palace. Quite the opposite, they love playing an exciting attacking style & pile bodies forward, which could open things up for the Red Devils.
Bruno Fernandes & Mason Greenwood were both on song the last time United faced Brighton, with their individual class helping them to a big win. Similarly, they’ll be expected to lead the charge for Ole’s side and be ruthless with their final product to break down the hosts.
Anthony Martial & Marcus Rashford must pick up their game & use their intuitive chemistry to outwit Brighton’s defence, while being more effective in the final third. With Donny van de Beek breathing down his neck, Paul Pogba needs to be at his creative best to reserve his starting spot at United for the long-term.
But before looking to hit Brighton on swift breaks, United need to fix their defensive issues. Victor Lindelof’s probably getting benched after the horror show on Saturday, but if he gets his chance, Eric Bailly must put in a strong performance to impress Ole. Alongside, Harry Maguire also must be more dominant with his style and show more aggressiveness in one-v-one situations to get the better of the bullish Neil Maupey.
With Matic possibly coming back in, United’s backline should get the added protection they lacked against Palace. The Serbian’s experience & ability to trifle oppositions should frustrate Brighton. Also with Wan-Bissaka possibly coming in, United’s backline should automatically become stronger.
But they need to be more assertive with their defensive work and pressurize Brighton’s attackers into losing their wits. If not, Brighton’s talented attackers like Maupey, Leandro Trossard, Adam Lallana & the electric Tariq Lamptey can make their day really miserable.
United are still far from their best and nowhere near as confident as the Brighton side coming off a big win last week. I’ll go for a 1-1 draw, as the Red Devils should improve from last week but ultimately come up short.
Also, read our Premier League matchday 3 betting lines.