MAN UTD VS BRIGHTON
The Erik ten Hag era will officially get underway at Old Trafford this weekend as Manchester United lock horns with Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League in what will be their first competitive match with the Dutchman in charge.
After an abysmal campaign, when they finished outside the top four and achieved their lowest ever points tally in the Premier League, Manchester United were quick to ring in the changes, handing over the first-team reins to Ten Hag, who had achieved great success at Ajax previously. Things, however, have not been smooth sailing for the Dutch tactician as the Red Devils continue to be mired in problems.
The future of Cristiano Ronaldo has dominated the headlines, while their inability to close transfer deals has been another issue. The pre-season started positively with wins against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace, but United then went three games without a win, losing to Atletico Madrid and being held to draws by Aston Villa and Rayo Vallecano. So it will be vital for Ten Hag’s men to start the campaign with a win to generate optimism among the fans.
As for Brighton, they come into the new campaign on the back of a solid pre-season during which they won three of their five friendlies and lost just one, with their most recent fixture ending in a 5-1 win over Espanyol. Having finished just five points shy of seventh-placed West Ham United last season, Brighton will be hoping to go a step further and secure qualification for European football for the next year.
Graham Potter’s side have done some interesting business in the window, banking on youth but the exits of Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella ought to hurt. Having beaten Manchester United 4-0 in their last meeting in May, Brighton will be pushing to repeat those heroics on Sunday.
Ahead of what could be an entertaining clash between two teams who will look to play on the front foot, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Manchester United 1-1 Brighton
Erik ten Hag has come in and made some changes to the way Manchester United set up and operate, signs of which have been evident in the pre-season. However, they are still far from the finished article, as was visible in their final few friendlies. Meanwhile, Brighton & Hove Albion, under Graham Potter, have grown into a good team and showed last season that they can go toe-to-toe with the biggest clubs.
Having trumped the Red Devils 4-0 in their last meeting, the Seagulls will back themselves to get a positive result at Old Trafford. It is a tricky one to call and could go either way, depending on which version of Manchester United show up on the day. A stalemate with shared points could be a viable outcome.
- Manchester United have won their first Premier League match in 10 of the past 13 seasons (L3), including a 5-1 against Leeds United last term.
- Brighton have lost six of their previous seven Premier League games against Manchester United but recorded a resounding 4-0 win against the Red Devils in their latest meeting in May.
- Erik ten Hag will be the eighth manager (including caretakers) to take charge of Manchester United in the nine years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Six of the previous seven won their first match in charge.
- Brighton have lost all ten Premier League games they have played in Manchester – five against United and City each.
- Manchester United playmaker Bruno Fernandes has four goals and two assists in five Premier League appearances against Brighton.