With Roberto De Zerbi, Brighton has advanced further compared to Man United’s recent performance.
In their last four encounters, Brighton & Hove Albion has defeated Manchester United 7-1 overall.
Around 25 years ago, Sir Alex Ferguson had established a powerful squad at Old Trafford that was ruling English football while Brighton was on the verge of ruin and facing relegation from the Football League.
The legendary Brian Clough famously remarked in his autobiography that “people go to Brighton for various reasons.” “For a vacation, a day excursion, a location to retire, or a meeting of the Tory Party. You don’t go there for the football, with all due respect to the club and its supporters.
Clough claimed that Brighton was not and would not become a “big-time club,” yet under the leadership of Roberto De Zerbi, who built upon Graham Potter’s foundations, the Seagulls are currently competing in European football.
Brighton isn’t a “big club” anymore, by any means, but they punch above their weight and earned their spot in the Europa League this year after a strong campaign in which they finished sixth.
Last season, Brighton defeated United twice in the league for the first time ever. On the first day of the 2022–23 season, they won 2-0 at Old Trafford, and in May, a 99th-minute penalty kick gave them a 1-0 victory at the Amex.
Even though it seemed awful on that first day, looking back, it was always going to happen. The starting lineup would be radically different on the last day of the season because the team was still in its infancy.
Without mentioning Brighton’s eventual league success for context, Harry Maguire, Fred, and Scott McTominay started the game, with Christian Eriksen playing as a false nine and Jadon Sancho on the right wing.
While Brighton’s victory at Old Trafford was well deserved, their victory in the first meeting felt unfair because Luke Shaw’s handball deep in extra time cost the hosts a penalty kick and the three points.
Erik ten Hag’s post-game remarks are worth reviewing in advance of the two teams’ rematch the following weekend. That kind of performance, in which United was penalized for failing to take advantage of their opportunities, was all too common last season.
“In the end, we lost some of our composure, our midfield was too exposed, and we let a few free kicks, a few counterattacks, and a corner. We had a terrific chance to score in the first minute, in my opinion, but we didn’t,” remarked Ten Hag.
Therefore, we need to be more ruthless with the opportunities we create in the first half because when we attack later, we concede and blow a significant opportunity. Additionally, we forfeited a goal in the end, which is something that must and must not happen.
We may have been a little distracted, but we were also a little unlucky because the area where the corner is coming from was never a free-kick. So, certainly, after that, you can no longer recover. But we have to do that on Sunday.
“With Antony, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Casemiro, we clearly had opportunities. One must take advantage of the opportunities they all create. I have no worries. It’s important to maintain concentration, and we shouldn’t do so in the game’s last moments.
With Rasmus Hojlund joining the team, it is believed that United’s wastefulness from previous season can be reduced. When Brighton comes to Old Trafford, it will be interesting to see if Hojlund starts after his excellent debut against Arsenal.
Following a convincing 3-0 victory against Newcastle, Brighton will try to exploit Ten Hag’s team’s weaknesses in the same way they did last year, especially in the middle.
In addition to missing opportunities against Brighton at the Amex last season, Ten Hag complained that the “midfield was too open,” and the Dutchman is still working to improve that position this year after bringing in Mason Mount from Chelsea.
Although Mount is now sidelined with a hamstring injury, there is a remote chance he will be available for the Brighton encounter on Saturday. The midfield appeared lopsided when Mount started the first two league games.
Since Mount sustained an injury, the midfield has improved with Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro, and Christian Eriksen reuniting. However, Soyfan Amrabat has been added and is a candidate to play against Brighton.
Next weekend, it’s critical that United’s midfield performs at its peak due to Brighton’s distinctive tactical scheme. It could be tempting to start Mount if he’s healthy or give Amrabat his professional debut, but it might be preferable to stick with the Arsenal trio.
United must get three points because of their dismal recent record versus Brighton.