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Manchester United 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion: 5 Talking Points as Mason Greenwood fires Red Devils to dramatic win | Premier League 2020-21

Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Sai Teja
ANALYST
Modified 05 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

It was a game of two very contrasting halves of football under the floodlights at Old Trafford as Manchester United completed a dramatic comeback victory against Brighton & Hove Albion.

It was far from a convincing performance from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men as they appeared to be on their way to dropping points for the 14th time in 30 games this season after a shambolic first-half display. Danny Welbeck opened the scoring against his former club with a headed goal from close range and gave Brighton a lead which they fought well to protect as the game went on.

Star forward Marcus Rashford, who returned to the side after recovering from a foot injury, initiated the comeback with a smooth finish across Robert Sanchez's goal at the hour mark. Fellow Englishman and Carrington graduate Mason Greenwood netted the goal that would prove to be the winner later on, with less than ten minutes of regulation time left on the clock.

It was far from perfect, but it was just about enough on the night to leave Old Trafford with all three points for Manchester United. On that note, here are the five biggest talking points from the game.


#5 A recurring theme for Manchester United

Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

Another day, another game where Manchester United conceded the opening goal.

In what has been a strange season of football with no fans in the stadiums right from the start, one of the most recurring traits that Manchester United have displayed is their inability to start games well. The Red Devils had conceded the opener in over ten of their 30 games in the Premier League this season before their game on Sunday and managed to do so again.

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Despite their knack of being able to fight back from losing positions, this is a serious issue that must be addressed by every single person at the football club, from the backroom staff to the players who take to the pitch. Leaving it too late is not a sustainable approach by any stretch of the imagination.

The fact that they appear to be in need of a rude awakening on so many occasions to hit top gear is something that surely does not sit well with Solskjaer, and rightly so. A handful of players, as well as the Norwegian himself, have publicly addressed the Red Devils' habit of beginning games poorly. Based on Sunday night's evidence, however, this is a department that still needs a lot of work.

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On the other hand, there is no denying that Manchester United's remarkable ability to fight back from losing positions is something to behold. They are statistically the best team in Europe in this regard, as they've won 25 points from losing positions, and the best team in Premier League history as well, having won 95 games after conceding the opener.


#4 Defensive woes on display once again

Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

Manchester United's defence has been polarising so far, to say the least. They had a superb record last season as they conceded fewer goals (36) than anyone in the league bar Liverpool and Manchester City. It's been a very different story this year, as with eight games to go, United are just three goals away from levelling their tally for the 2019/20 campaign.

That being said, 2021 has seen a marked improvement in terms of their defensive record as Welbeck's opener on Sunday was only the tenth goal they've conceded in 15 league games, managing eight clean sheets.

Should they harbour any hope of challenging their cross-town rivals City and reigning champions Liverpool for the Premier League title, they must find a balance between defensive solidity and being able to play expansively.

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Solskjaer has, on several occasions, opted for a defensive set-up with two holders in the middle to cover up for the fragility of his defence. Welbeck exposed this fragility on Sunday as he bullied Victor Lindelof in the air and capitalised on Aaron Wan-Bissaka's failure to stick with his man, ghosting in behind to head the ball past Dean Henderson.

United are believed to be in the market for a centre-back this summer and it isn't hard to see why. They are clearly in need of a more commanding centre-back alongside Harry Maguire and neither Lindelof nor the injury-prone Eric Bailly have proven to be the solution so far.


Also read: 5 Greatest players to never win the Premier League title

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Published 05 Apr 2021, 05:13 IST
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