Thursday 16 June 2022

United to host the Seagulls in opening gambit

Erik ten Hag's first competitive fixture in charge of Manchester United will see Brighton&Hove Albion visit Old Trafford on the opening weekend of 2022-23. 
92 days on from the nadir of a dreadful, unwanted record-busting campaign and that 4-0 capitulation at The Amex brings the start of the ambitious Dutchman's debut in English football.

We don't yet know what state the squad will be in, but we will - by then - at least have a rough idea of how EtH intends to set United up and how he wants us to play. 
United have a good record against the Seagulls in M16, having never lost to the south coast side on home turf and with a 100% Old Trafford record over them since Brighton's promotion to the Premier League in 2017.

We won the corresponding fixture last term by a 2-0 scoreline in a delayed February tie, thanks to goals from Portuguese duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes. But the memory of that woeful evisceration in the penultimate match of the season just gone will linger long in the subconscious. 

Graham Potter's side finished ninth last term for their highest ever league finish and visit United on the Sunday afternoon, 7 August, with a 2pm kick off in a televised encounter. 
It represents a sixth successive home opener for the Reds, with our last start on the road coming way back at the start of the Jose Mourinho era, a 3-1 win at AFC Bournemouth in 2016.

The opening weekend of the season is earlier than usual due to the winter World Cup in Qatar, with no fixtures between 12/13 November and Boxing Day - a six week hiatus for the tournament at a time of year when the league would normally be in full swing. 

It means the eagerly anticipated festive feast of football will continue as tradition dictates, with newly-promoted Nottingham Forest the visitors on 26 December and then the always-tricky trip to Wolves on New Year's Eve. Steve Cooper's Forest side face the Reds for the first time in 23 years with our last meeting the famous 8-1 win in the treble season when a certain Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came on as a substitute and scored four. 

There are no games between those two dates and the Premier League season will end slightly later than usual, too, on 28 May 2023.  

Brentford, fresh from an eye-catching debut campaign in the Premier League, provide ten Hag's first opponents on the road. 

The biggest game on the calendar arrives early this time around with Liverpool the visitors to Old Trafford in Gameweek Three (20 August), then Arsenal to start September after away trips to Southampton and Leicester City.

That precedes a nasty, brutal October in which we travel to champions Manchester City and Thomas Tuchel's dangerous Chelsea. Antonio Conte's big-spending Tottenham, a talented West Ham side and Eddie Howe's impressively rejuvenated Newcastle will also be in the Old Trafford crosshairs during a month which has a make or break look about it. 

There are only two fixtures in November, both away from home at Aston Villa and perennial yo-yo club Fulham, before the players are released for the World Cup. 

The second cross-town derby of the season comes early in the new year when Pep Guardiola's pre-eminent City come to Old Trafford in a battle of the Premier League's two folically challenged bosses.In stark contrast to our aforementioned impressive record against Brighton at Old Trafford, we have lost on three of our five league visits to the Seagulls Amex Stadium home. This time, we go there with ten games to go as the run-in hots up (18 March), a fortnight after our trip to Anfield, sandwiched by the visit of another south coast club - Southampton - on the 11th.

Two of the three promoted sides, in Scott Parker's Bournemouth and his former club Fulham, provide the denouement to 2022-23 as we play at the Vitality Stadium on 20 May and then welcome the Cottagers a week later.

United's 2022-23 Premier League fixtures in full (kick-off time and dates TBC)


7 - Brighton&Hove Albion (H)
13 - Brentford (A)
20 - Liverpool (H)
27 - Southampton (A)
30 - Leicester City (A)


3 - Arsenal (H)
10 - Crystal Palace (A)
17 - Leeds United (H)


1 - Man City (A)
8 - Everton (A)
15 - Newcastle (H)
19 - Tottenham (H)
22 - Chelsea (A)
29 - West Ham (H)


5 - Aston Villa (A)
12 - Fulham (A)


26 - Nottingham Forest (H)
31 - Wolves (A) 


2 - AFC Bournemouth (H)
14 - Man City (H)
21 - Arsenal (A)


4 - Crystal Palace (H)
11 - Leeds United (A)
18 - Leicester City (H)
25 - Brentford (H)


4 - Liverpool (A)
11 - Southampton (H)
18 - Brighton&Hove Albion (A)


1 -  Newcastle United (A)
8 - Everton (H)
15 - Nottingham Forest (A)
22 - Chelsea (H)
25 - Tottenham Hotspur (A)
29 - Aston Villa (H)


6 - West Ham (A)
13 - Wolves (H)
20 - AFC Bournemouth (A)
28 - Fulham (H) 

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