Brighton & Hove Albion vs Manchester United: Preview & Predictions

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United visit Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday eager to put their miserable start to the new Premier League campaign firmly behind them.

The Red Devils slipped to a 3-1 home defeat against Crystal Palace in a game where very few of their players emerged with any credit.

All the more popular football bookies rate United as odds-on favourites to win at the Amex Stadium, but it would be foolish to underestimate the threat posed by Brighton.

Read on as we take a look at some of the key talking points ahead of the game and predict whether United can get their season up-and-running.

United Welcome Back Key Players

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Nemanja Matic should both be fit for the game to hand a manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a much-needed boost.

The pair are both expected to return to United’s starting XI in place of Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Scott McTominay.

Yves Bissouma will be unavailable for the home side after being sent-off in Brighton’s impressive 3-0 victory at Newcastle United last weekend.

However, Seagulls’ boss Graham Potter has no other selection concerns as his team seeks to make it two wins out of three this season.

Improvement Needed from Defence Duo

Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof came in for plenty of criticism for their performances against Palace, and they need to step things up this weekend.

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright was particularly scathing, describing Maguire’s positioning as ‘poor’ and Lindelof’s all-round game as ‘weak’.

It is not the first time that the duo has come under fire and doubts remain about their ability to forge a successful partnership.

Eric Bailly was impressive alongside Maguire in the midweek Carabao Cup win at Luton Town, and he looks a much better option than Lindelof at the moment.

Pogba Display a Cause for Concern

Paul Pogba produced a woeful display against Palace and was eventually replaced by new signing Donny van de Beek after 67 minutes.

The French international failed to stamp his authority on the match, and it was a big surprise that Solskjaer kept him on the field as long as he did.

Palace’s midfield duo of James McCarthy and James McArthur had a field day as Pogba looked like a player whose mind was elsewhere.

On his day the 27-year-old is a supremely talented footballer, but United can ill-afford to continue to indulge him in this sort of form.

Ex-Ajax Star Gives Solskjaer a Headache

It will be interesting to see if Solskjaer perseveres with Pogba given how poorly he played against Palace last weekend.

The signing of van de Beek gives the United boss a welcome headache, but realistically it is an easy decision to make.

Van de Beek produced more in 23 minutes than Pogba managed in over an hour and grabbing United’s solitary goal was a reward for his efforts.

The 23-year-old is eager to impress at United and giving him a role in the team might be the kick up the backside that Pogba needs.

History Favours United

United have lost just three of their 23 previous meetings with Brighton, and they will be keen to enhance that record this weekend.

They ran out comfortable 3-0 winners on their most recent visit during June, with Bruno Fernandes (2) and Mason Greenwood getting on the scoresheet.

If United are serious about challenging for the title, they can ill-afford to throw away silly points during the early part of the season.

The home side are unlikely to make things easy, but United are fancied to pick up three points courtesy of a 2-1 victory.

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