The biggest talking points and early team news for Manchester United’s Premier League match against Brighton at Old Trafford.
Even though Manchester United has a perfect record at home so far this season, they will need to significantly improve if they want to stand a chance of winning today.
In their opening match against Wolves, Erik ten Hag’s team was fortunate to walk away with three points, but they might have easily been punished for their terrible defending against Nottingham Forest as well
With two losses on the road so far this season, it is clear that their chances of success will depend on turning Old Trafford back into a fortress. Last season, their home form was the foundation of a third-place finish.
With Brighton the visitors this afternoon, three points may offer United more than just a boost up the table. A convincing victory could do them the world of good.
The fact that Facundo Pellistri is the only natural right winger available for selection does not guarantee that he will start the current game.
Since United is under so much pressure to turn their fortunes around, Ten Hag will select the players he believes in the most, which may result in Bruno Fernandes or Marcus Rashford being chosen there instead.
That United aren’t generally anticipated to defeat Brighton at home is a rather dismal statement, which may be reflected in the starting lineup.
Choosing Pellistri would suggest an aggressive strategy with a goal of trying to win the game; choosing Fernandes would acknowledge they are looking to avoid losing.
After their heartbreaking loss to Arsenal the previous time out, United supporters may take solace in Rasmus Hojlund’s stunning cameo.
The Danish forward provided an enticing preview of what he may provide to the forward line, not only with his scoring prowess but also with his physicality and hold-up play.
It would be unacceptable for him to not start against Brighton because he is the only centre-forward at the club, regardless of the tactic they intend to use.
Regardless of the top three, the other important selection issue is who starts in midfield. Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat won’t be available, leaving United with little alternatives against a team that excels in possession.
Christian Eriksen would be the most logical candidate to start alongside Casemiro at the base of the midfield, albeit it would be a risk given his history in the major games.
Even though Scott McTominay is in good form after the international break and there is a case to move him further up if Fernandes is on the flank, starting him in the same midfield as Casemiro would be a massive risk.
Donny van de Beek or Hannibal Mejbri might get a shot on the bench because there aren’t many other options, but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll be trusted to leave it.
Instead of having any realistic expectations of winning tonight against a team they have recently failed to defeat, United supporters may arrive at Old Trafford with the hope of a victory.
The only time Brighton has lost to United in the last 17 meetings (D2 L12) has been on penalties in the FA Cup semifinal last year. Since then, Brighton has won three of their last four league games against United.
Only twice before, against Liverpool (Dec. 2000–Jan. 2002) and Man City (Apr. 2013–Nov. 2014), has United lost four straight Premier League games against a single opponent.