Manchester United vs Brighton Match Report
What a poor performance by Manchester United tonight. It was all about the defense here at the Amex Stadium. Manchester United's would have definitely left them regretting their inability to sign Toby Alderweireld or anyone else really as they were brutally exposed by a Brighton team that failed to register a single shot on target in their previous Premier League fixture against Watford. Of course, we have to give Brighton credit for their performance. They were energetic and relentless as they put three past a goalkeeper who is arguably the best in the league. But there's no denying that of the three goals, two could have been prevented rather easily.
Brighton's first goal was one of sheer brilliance, both on the part of Solomon March, who sent through a beautiful through ball into the box from the left wing and on the part of Glenn Murray whose composed and precise finish left gave de Gea no chance. How did he manage to escape the attention of Lindelof? Rather easily.
About 26 minutes into the game, Bailly's unnecessary clearance lead to a Brighton corner which in turn lead to Brighton's second goal. Again, improper defending of the corner lead to confusion in the penalty box, and Knockaert was somehow able to pass the ball to defender Duffy who expertly set himself up for the shot and made no mistake.
Now two goals down, Manchester United seemed to rise up in the challenge for a certain period, dominating possession for a while. this eventually led to Lukaku's goal. Following excellent build-up play from Manchester United, Shaw presumably took a shot at goal, which, while a bit off target was headed home by Lukaku. it was a good ball in by Shaw but it was Lukaku's excellent positioning and finish that pulled Manchester United back into the match.
Then came Brighton's third goal. Fred, struggling to keep a goal kick from de Gea under control, gave away the ball at the half line. Manchester United's defense, totally unprepared for this, were exposed and Gross was able to slip into a gaping hole in the defense between Bailly and Lindelof. Bailly was poorly positioned and with an ill-advised lunge inside the box, conceding a penalty. Pascal Gross made no mistake. That's how the first half ended, Brighton three, Manchester United one.
Manchester United did dominate possession for much of the second half but, there was a sense of desperation about them and they were able to achieve very little with that lion's share of possession. Mourinho predictably made attack oriented substitutions with Mata and Pereira withdrawn at halftime in favor of Rashford and Lingard. In the 60th minute, he also brought off a rather ineffective Anthony Martial for Fellaini, someone who has been known to come through for Mourinho in these situations before. However, none of Mourinho's three changes can be said to have had much effect on the game, with Brighton never really looking in danger of losing their two-goal lead. Manchester United had two shots on target throughout the game. one of them resulted in a goal, the other was a long distance banger from Pogba which was pushed away by Ryan. Of course, Fellaini earned a penalty for Manchester United at the very last minute, which Pogba drilled in past Ryan, but it turned out to be a case of too little too late for the Red Devils.
Final Result: Manchester United 2:3 Brighton and Hove Albion
A poor performance from Manchester United across all fronts today. The attack failed to really get going and were unable to penetrate Brighton's defense with any sort of regularity. Pogba and Fred didn't have any better of a match here, failing to find a rhythm and get going. Worst of all was the defense, of course. Bailly and Lindelof turned in performances to forget. Shaw, while showing glimpses of attacking ability failed to really stand out. A limp performance such as this so early in the season will definitely leave Mourinho scratching his head. On a night where everything went right for derby rivals Manchester City, Manchester United have really let their fans down with such a poor performance.
On a positive note, Brighton had a remarkable game. Their attacking effectiveness was, of course, aided by Manchester United's defensive shortcomings. That, however, cannot take away from the brilliant individual performances from Murray, Knockaert and of course, Pascal Gross. Their midfield was able to keep Pogba and Fred quite for most of the match while their defense was definitely solid to an extent. All in all, a deserved victory that will leave Manchester United fans sweating.