Manchester United vs. Brighton and Hove Albion PL PREVIEWGriffochaz
MATCH: MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Brighton and Hove Albion
COMPETITION: Premier League
VENUE: Old Trafford
CHANNEL: Sky Sports
DATE/KO: Sunday 7th August 2022 – 14:00pm
77 days after Manchester United ended last season with a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace, the Red Devils return to Premier League action against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Man United are in the dawn of their new era under manager Erik ten Hag and the Dutchman will have both eyes set on a Top 4 finish this campaign so an opening weekend 3 points will be a great way to start that mission.
As for Brighton, exciting English coach Graham Potter is still at the helm of The Seagulls as they wish to continue their surprising rise up the Premier League table.
Let’s preview what will surely be an attack filled opening game of the Premier League season.
LAST MEETING: BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION 4-0 MANCHESTER UNITED
Not that Man United fans need a reminder but the last meeting between these two ended in a extraordinary 4-0 win for The Seagulls in which Moises Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross and Leonardo Trossard all netted.
It was a perfect showing of just where Man United were under Ralf Rangnick with the players clearly downing tools.
This confirmed Man United’s failure in capturing Top 4 and it also all but secured a top half finish for Potter’s boys which suitably capped off another strong season for The Seagulls.
Manchester United Team News
Despite their worst season in Premier League history, Man United have only added three players to the books in Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez and it is extremely unlikely a fourth will be signed before Sunday’s game.
In terms of suspensions and injuries, Man United seem to have a full squad heading into the opening weekend. It is expected that English pair Luke Shaw and Jadon Sancho will return from the illness that kept them out of United’s final pre-season game against Rayo Vallecano.
With Dean Henderson loaned to Nottingham Forest for the season, David De Gea is the only real option to lead with in goal despite question marks over his suitability in a ten Hag system.
The defence is the area where United have the most depth however the back four almost writes itself. Judging off pre-season and rumours of AWB departing the club, Diogo Dalot seems to be the first choice right-back in ten Hag’s mind so he will more than likely start on Sunday.
The rest of the back four is slightly tougher to call with three options for the two centre-back positions. Lisandro Martinez is the new expensive kid on the block signed by the new coach, Raphael Varane is a proven winner and is still a class defender when fit and Harry Maguire has remained the club captain under ten Hag.
As this is a predicted line-up, I believe Erik will go safe and opt for a back two of Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane. With Lisandro only starting one game for the club, I think ten Hag won’t risk his new toy as he may deem him not up to match sharpness.
As for the left-back, I think he’ll select Tyrell Malacia. Luke Shaw should be back fit but again I see ten Hag going safe for his first Premier League game and with Tyrell impressing in pre-season, I can see him starting over his English competitor.
Onto the midfield and like cockroaches in explosions, I think McFred survive again to start in the centre of the park. If ten Hag is feeling brave then he may want to include an Eriksen or Van de Beek for a more attacking approach but as Fred and Scott Mctominay are more up to speed, I think the Dutchman will select them.
Bruno Fernandes will complete the midfield three in the more advanced role and I don’t see much reason why he wouldn’t. Bruno is in for a big season.
There is hardly any debate over the front three. With the lack of depth up top, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho will start on the wings and despite Cristiano Ronaldo returning to the setup last Sunday, I still think ten Hag will opt for Anthony Martial as he will be more up to Premier League speed after a good pre-season.
Brighton Team News
It is always hard to call how a team like Brighton will set up on the opening weekend.
Robert Sanchez will be in goal for Potter’s side after his heroics last campaign.
Tariq Lamptey is an immense talent and will more than likely start at RB. Over the other side, Marc Cucurella may be a Chelsea player by the time Sunday rolls around and even if he isn’t I don’t picture him in the starting XI after handing in a transfer request last week. Solly March will probably fill in for the Spaniard. I see the centre-back partnership being the same duo that ended last season, Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster.
The loss of Yves Bissouma to Spurs this summer will be tough for Brighton to deal with but with his excellent performance in the last meeting between the two sides, Moises Caicedo will likely start in the middle of the park for Brighton. His two partners are hard to pinpoint but I’m going to predict that veteran Adam Lallana and Pascal Gross will be the choice.
Just in front of them will likely be the duo of Leonardo Trossard and Alexis Mac-Allister and January signing Denis Undav will lead the line after coming back from his Union SG loan.
Opening weekend fixtures are always so hard to call but I think Erik ten Hag starts his Premier League career with a win and I think it will be by a scoreline of 2-1.
Are you excited for the start of the PL season? Give us your predictions in the comments below.