Brighton supporters may have been looking nervously over their shoulder during the Premier League’s suspension with a tricky run of fixtures to end the season, but two excellent results have left them six points clear of the drop. In their first game back they secured a first ever league double over Arsenal thanks to Neal Maupay’s 95th-minute winner and followed that up with a goalless draw at third-placed Leicester City. They are still to play Manchester City and Liverpool but will be confident of steering clear of the drop for a third consecutive season.
Graham Potter has brought a more expansive style of play to the Amex Stadium and is getting some great performances from Maupay, the 23-year-old Frenchman in his first season in the Premier League. He scored 25 in the Championship last year and is one away from double figures in his debut season in the top flight. Manchester United will expect to dominate possession but Maupay’s pace and movement on the break will keep the United defence on their toes.
The Red Devils have also made a promising return to competitive action with a draw and two wins in all competitions. A 1-1 draw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was followed by a comfortable win over Sheffield United and a late winner over Norwich City in the FA Cup, meaning that United will have ambitions on three fronts going into July.
Anthony Martial looks to be finally settling into the central striker’s role and scored his first league hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Sheffield United. Incredibly, it was the club’s first Premier League hat-trick since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. But even more impressive has been the form of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, who are finally able to feature together in the United midfield. Fernandes has continued his great pre-lockdown form while Pogba looks rejuvenated from his time out of the spotlight. The French World Cup winner was heavily involved in United’s winner against Norwich and their equaliser against Spurs, despite starting both games on the bench.
Brighton and Hove Albion vs Manchester United: Injuries and Suspensions
Brighton may have to make at least one change to the side who drew with Leicester after defender Adam Webster suffered a hamstring injury and will be touch and go for Tuesday. Young full-back Tariq Lampty, signed from Chelsea in January, needed stitches following a cut to his face against Leicester but will be fit to play.
Tuesday’s game is likely to come too soon for the returning Jose Izquierdo who has missed the last 18 months due to a horrific knee injury. However midfielder Steven Alzate may be fit enough for a place on the bench.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has many more options to rotate his side and will likely recall many of the eight players who were dropped for the Norwich game. United have suffered no new injuries in their three games since the restart, with only Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones unavailable for the trip to the Amex Stadium.
Brighton and Hove Albion vs Manchester United: What the managers said
Graham Potter (Brighton and Hove Albion): “We don’t think about how many points we may or may not need at this stage to be safe.
“We’re playing one of the most in-form teams in the league, we’ll just keep trying to pick up points between now and the end of the season.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United): “[Brighton] are a good footballing side, they play football and make it hard for you… At the moment we have to deal with [playing behind closed doors] as it is and as an away team sometimes it helps you, but then again when you’re at the bottom pressure of fans can get to you and give an extra edge.”
Prediction: Brighton are an interesting proposition under Graham Potter and play a much more possession-based style than most in the bottom half of the table. They are in good form but so too are United, and having rested Rashford, Martial and Pogba against Norwich Solskjaer’s side should have enough for a comfortable victory over Brighton. 0-2