Saturday 9 November 2019

Match preview: Man Utd v Brighton&HA

Manchester United haven't started any season this badly for over three decades. Back then, the sands of time finally ran out for "Big Ron" Atkinson and the United board took a gamble by replacing him with a reputable but relatively unknown Scot... some chap by the name of Alexander Chapman Ferguson.

The anniversary of Ferguson's appointment was marked this week on 6 November 1986.
33 years on from the arrival of the great man, the 2019 vintage remain inconsistent but, as Sir Alex's former protege Ole Gunnar Solskjaer himself has alluded to, we must believe in the process.

The same can be said for this weekend's visitors, now embarking on their third consecutive Premier League campaign. The Seagulls of Brighton can no longer be regarded as merely relegation fodder as they look to put last term's near miss behind them.

Having replaced the tried and tested safe pair of hands Chris Hughton with the more forward thinking Graham Potter, the former Swansea boss is already showing the fresh fruits of his labour on the south coast.
Having only survived through the shortcomings of others, Brighton actually come into this clash two places and two points above United. The in-form Seagulls have won three of their four games but all of those came at The Amex and the Albion have never won at Old Trafford.
 Like with Solskjaer, you can see how Potter wants them to play, with three at the back and trying to play out from a defence marshalled expertly by Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy. They are still hard to beat but much easier on the eye.

With captain Ashley Young suspended and Luke Shaw still not fit, Brandon Williams is set to make a full Premier League debut at left-back. There are minor doubts over Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay and Victor Lindelof will be assessed for United.
 Diogo Dalot, Axel Tuanzebe, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba all still sidelined. Summer signing Aaron Webster is Brighton's only definite absentee.

On Thursday's Europa League win, Solskjaer said: "I saw is a little bit of a template on how we want to play, definitely. No disrespect to Partizan, but they gave us spaces. Of course after we scored the first goal, they went forward. These boys are learning. Tonight will give them loads of pointers of how to play. Even though the opposition is not the same as in the Premier League, it was still good principles."

United's clash with Brighton is a 2pm kick on Sunday but is not live on TV.

Form guide: Man Utd D W W W L W Brighton&HA L L W L W W
Match odds: Man Utd 11/7 Draw 10/6 Brighton&HA 6/1
Referee: Jon Moss (W
est Yorkshire)

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