The action in gameweek 24 does not stop, with one more intriguing clash coming up. Manchester United take on Brighton & Hove Albion, with the clash postponed earlier due to a COVID-19 outbreak, now taking place on Tuesday night.
Manchester United have been in a mystifying form of late. They have been by far the better team in all of their last 3 games, but have lost one on penalties, and drawn the other two. They have created the required chances, but have failed to capitalize on those opportunities, which have proved to be their downfall every time in the last few games. It was a similar story on Saturday against Southampton, with the Saints being dominated by United in the first half. However, the Red Devils were guilty of letting Southampton back into the game after the break as they relinquished control and let the Saints have possession. It led to a goal just two minutes into the second half, and the score-line remained 1-1 at the final whistle, with United ruing another two points dropped due to missed chances. United will be thankful for West Ham drawing with Leicester on Sunday, which meant that the Hammers are only a point above the Mancunians, with one more game played. A win on Tuesday will see United go back into the 4th spot, and two points clear of West Ham United.
Brighton & Hove Albion were last in action against Watford in the Premier League on Saturday, picking up three points with relative ease. The win helped Seagulls go 4 points clear of Southampton in 10th, with a game in hand over the Saints. Brighton were dominant in their win over the Hornets, and condemned them to their second defeat in a row. The three points will have been much welcomed by Brighton players and fans, after three draws in a row. Only 4 losses so far means that the Seagulls have 4th least losses in the league, but 12 draws this season has left them in 9th place. Manager Graham Potter has revolutionized the club with his philosophy, and they have gone toe-to-toe with the best teams this season. Their rise has been a joy to watch, and they will be very confident going into Tuesday’s game. It remains to see how they fare, but it will definitely be an exciting watch.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Date: Tuesday, 15th February 2022.
Time: 9.15 pm BST.
Venue: Old Trafford, Greater Manchester.
Referee: Peter Bankes.
Assistants: Neil Davies, Nick Hopton.
Fourth official: Kevin Friend.
VAR: Jarred Gillett.
Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart.
Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani made the squad against Southampton, but was scratched out from the matchday squad at the last minute with a groin injury. Manager Ralf Rangnick was uncertain about his return, and the Uruguayan remains a doubt for the game against Brighton. Alex Telles recovered from COVID to make the bench on Saturday, and it remains to see if he replaces Luke Shaw in the lineup on Tuesday. His compatriot Fred however, did not recover in time to make the squad and is expected to miss out against Brighton. Man United’s woes continue with Nemanja Matic also set to be ruled out with a shin injury, which ruled him out against the Saints as well. There could be a few changes in the lineup on Tuesday, with Rangnick looking to shake things up, as well as giving a few players some needed rest with some important games coming up.
Brighton & Hove Albion have a very strong squad available for Tuesday’s game, with only two players unavailable. Midfielder Jeremy Sarmiento and Enock Mwepu are suffering from injuries, and will miss out on the Seagulls’ trip to Manchester. Manager Graham Potter will look to name a strong lineup and take advantage of United’s issues to get some precious three points on Tuesday.
CAN THE SEAGULLS INFLICT MORE PAIN ON THE RED DEVILS?
Brighton & Hove Albion have flourished under manager Graham Potter, with the club improving in various aspects. Their football has been possession-based, something that it rarely seen amongst the smaller teams. The change in the style of play has been a deciding factor in the club’s rise, and the Seagulls now look set to finish inside the top half of the table for the first time since their promotion to the top-flight of English football back in 2017. They sit in 9th place, just three points behind Tottenham Hotspurs, and will be hungry for a second consecutive win, after a spate of draws in the past few weeks. They have shown dominance when playing teams that are weak in possession, and as evident from this season, could have a real chance against United.
Manchester United were uninspiring yet again on Saturday against Southampton, letting the Saints- like Burnley before them- equalize early in the second half. For the second game running, the Red Devils have dominated the first half but looked a shadow of it in the second half. Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl added salt to the wounds by commenting on the poor work-rate of the United players. It should serve as a wake-up call to the players, with poor decision making combined with bad finishing resulting in 13 points dropped from winning positions this season.
Brighton will feel that given United’s recent woes, there could be a golden opportunity to get three points at a ground they have never won at. Old Trafford has not been the same fortress it was earlier, and the Seagulls will feel they are in a better form than their opponents, with the weekend’s win working to boost their confidence. They have some very exciting players in their midst, and they will certainly make life difficult for the Red Devils.
The English winger took some time to get used to the rough and tough of Premier League, but now seems set and up to pace. He has been the standout performer in the United team and is undoubtedly their man in the form right now. The £73 million summer signing, has been instrumental in the attack since the January international break. Jadon Sancho was brilliant in the FA Cup defeat against Middlesbrough, scoring his first Old Trafford goal, and then followed it up with another goal at home against Southampton last time out. He seems to be effective from either wing and has linked up well with Bruno Fernandes in the midfield. He will be the one to watch out for again if he starts on Saturday, and the Southampton full-backs will be wary of letting him have too much time and space on the ball.
After starting brilliantly with two goals in two games, Neal Maupay suffered a lapse in performance. He was on hand against Watford, scoring the opening goal in their 2-0 win on Saturday, taking his tally of goals to 8 so far in the league. He is just 1 goal away from becoming the top Premier League scorer for the Seagulls, and is currently on 26 goals, level with Glenn Murray. Maupay has shown glimpses of his true attacking and prolific nature this season and has yet to find consistency, and will hope that he can inch one step closer to besting his tally of 10 goals on Tuesday night. Maupay has started every game but three in the league so far, and he has been the best attacker in the Brighton side. He will be expected to lead the Brighton line again against United, although rotation could play a part.
Manchester United predicted XI: David de Gea; Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Alex Telles; Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay; Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Elanga; Cristiano Ronaldo.
Brighton & Hove Albion predicted XI: Robert Sanchez; Joel Veltman, Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster; Tariq Lamptey, Adam Lallana, Yves Bissouma, Jakub Moder, Marc Cucurella; Neal Maupay, Leandro Trossard.