Man United have much to improve on against Brighton
Manchester United to win 2-1
Manchester United’s defeat to Crystal Palace last weekend was their worst opening match loss since 1995. VAR controversies aside, Solskjaer’s men were so off the pace, their manager was the first to admit how poor they were.
In fairness to their 1995 side, they went on to win the league that season, so losing your first match does not necessarily spell disaster for the whole campaign.
As for Brighton, they are a little unlucky to only have three points to their name so far after two games.
They were close to levelling the match against Chelsea two weekends ago, before comfortably beating Newcastle in match 2.
It’s clear that many teams have entered this season far fitter than United’s squad, but that will be no excuse if they put in another rank performance.
They must quickly improve this weekend.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 15th
Reasons to be cheerful:
Good start to the season winning in the league and cup
Have greater match fitness than United
Reasons to be fearful:
Lost previous three matches against United
United will be expected to massively improve on last weekend
Brighton have looked good value in their early matches at the start of this season.
On another day, they could have come away from the game against Chelsea with a point, they then comfortably saw off a disappointing Newcastle side before winning in midweek against Preston in the Carabao Cup.
They will now face Manchester United twice inside a few days in the league and cup and will fancy their chances of getting something out of either match.
Their topscorer last season, Neal Maupay is up and running with two goals last weekend and the likes of Trossard, Connolly and the youngster Lamptey have really hit the ground running.
Midfielder Bissouma will miss the game after being sent off against Newcastle and will be leave a hole.
They will have to be at their best to beat United, even if the Red Devils started their season poorly.
Star Man – Neal Maupay
Looked sharp as he scored twice against Newcastle, he will be their goal threat for most of this season.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 3rd
Reasons to be cheerful
Won their Carabao Cup match in midweek
Beat Brighton home and away last year
Reasons to be fearful
Still lack key signings particularly in defence
Tend to let games drift against lower opposition
Despite a lack of signings in the transfer market compared to other teams, there was still an optimism about United this season after their 3rd place finish last season.
That expectation won’t have disappeared completely after just one defeat, but they must quickly improve in their next few matches if they are to be top four contenders again.
They will likely welcome back the likes of Wan-Bissaka and Matic, who were both absent against Palace.
Mason Greenwood only started from the bench and the likes of Paul Pogba clearly weren’t at full match sharpness.
They must rediscover the creativity of last season - only four shots on target against Palace despite 76% possession.
They must, and probably will, improve against Brighton this weekend.
Star Man – Bruno Fernandes
Was off the pace, like his teammates, last weekend. He’ll want to rediscover his form quickly and create more chances for United
United must be brighter than their defeat against Palace
Brighton can cause them problems in attack
Mason Greenwood should play from the start
Despite not signing any new players since their first game last weekend, Manchester United should be a stronger team for an extra week of practice and a midweek win in the cup.
The likes of Matic, Greenwood and Wan-Bissaka should return to the starting XI and this will give them extra quality.
But Brighton can certainly give them problems to think about. Trossard showed his quality against them last season and Maupay can always bag a goal.
United must be better than last weekend, and they will be.
Manchester United to win 2-1