Premier League 2019/20: Manchester United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion Preview, where to watch and more
Manchester United play host to Brighton & Hove Albion in a Premier League clash this Sunday in what could prove to be a pivotal game for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team. After three wins in a row in all competitions, United fans were hoping their team had turned a corner, only for last week’s defeat to Bournemouth to bring them back to earth with a bump.
Brighton, on the other hand, are currently in the midst of a strong run; Graham Potter’s side have won three of their last four games and sit in 8th place in the Premier League table, two places above their more illustrious opponents this weekend.
Essentially, this will feel like a winnable game for both sides – making it one of the weekend’s most intriguing matches.
Date: 10th November 2019
Time: 14:00 (local time), 19:30 (IST)
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
TV Coverage: Star Sports Select HD 1 (India), NBCSN (US)
Last 5 Premier League fixtures
Manchester United: D-L-D-W-L
Brighton & Hove Albion: L-W-L-W-W
Manchester United: 13 wins
Brighton & Hove Albion: 3 wins
Draws: 5 draws
Manchester United to win: 8/13
Brighton & Hove Albion to win: 19/4
Marcus Rashford to score first: 16/5
Brighton to score last: 21/10
Will Brighton affect United with their passing game?
Graham Potter’s early days at Brighton have seen him largely transform the team that Chris Hughton looked over last season; the Seagulls’ style of play is now renowned for being an attacking one based around a quick passing game, and thus far it’s served Brighton well in the Premier League.
Nobody expected them to be in 8th place right now, and while it’s true that they’ve had some bad results – a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Manchester City, a last-minute winner costing them two points against Aston Villa – they’ve also pulled off big wins over Tottenham and Everton, suggesting there is potential for this side to really press forward.
The big question for the weekend is whether Potter’s side can impose their style of play at Old Trafford. Thus far this season, Brighton have completed more passes than their opponents in all but four of their Premier League fixtures – but, notably, three of the games in which they failed to do that came against traditional ‘Big Six’ sides.
If Brighton can make their passing work against United, this is a winnable game for them. If they can’t, then they could be in trouble.
Will the pace of United’s attack unsettle Brighton’s defence?
Brighton have put together one of the more settled defensive partnerships in the Premier League in the form of central defenders Adam Webster and Lewis Dunk, and the duo have largely been effective for the Seagulls thus far in 2019/20. But while their passing skills are a definite plus point – both men have a pass success percentage higher than 80% - their weakness is arguably a distinct lack of pace.
That might land them in trouble against United, as for all of their offensive woes thus far this season – Solskjaer’s side have often been accused of a lack of creativity and their return of 13 Premier League goals has been disappointing – they can rely on a number of pacy forwards, including Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James.
As crazy as it sounds given the game is taking place at Old Trafford, there’s definitely an argument for Solskjaer to set up with a mind to counter-attacking on Sunday. Brighton love to have the lion’s share of possession but if the Red Devils can catch them on the break, the pace of Rashford and Martial could definitely exploit the chink in the armour of Dunk and Webster.
Will Brighton’s woes on the road continue?
Old Trafford was once considered perhaps the toughest fortress to impregnate in the entire Premier League, but that isn’t quite true today. United have only won two games at home thus far this season – their opening weekend victory over Chelsea and a scrappy 1-0 win over Leicester – and have dropped points to Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Liverpool in the famous stadium.
This weekend could change all of that, though, as they’re facing a side who clearly struggle when they’re on the road. Graham Potter’s Seagulls have only won one away game this season – an opening day victory over currently bottom-placed Watford – and outside of that win they’ve collected just one point on their travels.
Interestingly that trend even pre-dates Potter’s reign; Brighton only won three away games in the entirety of 2018/19, and actually lost 11 of their 19 fixtures away from the Amex. For all of United’s struggles this season, a loss at home to Brighton might be the nadir for Solskjaer’s side. For the sake of his job, it’s imperative that he doesn’t allow that to happen.