Manchester United are coming off a disappointing exit in the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League after losing 1-2 to Sevilla in Old Trafford. However, they need to bounce back quickly because they have another huge game coming up in the Emirates FA Cup. The Red Devils will try to sneak into the tournament’s semifinals when they host Brighton Hove & Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.
Jose Mourinho announced that he will have the same squad that lost against Sevilla this past Wednesday. Even though he might tweak the starting XI, this basically means the list of available and unavailable players won’t change. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera remain out, as well as Phil Jones, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo.
Meanwhile, Brighton won’t have Anthony Knockaert. The French will serve the first game of a three-match ban after being sent off at Everton last weekend. The list of absentees also includes Steve Sidwell, who has been dealing with a back problem for quite a while. Two other names could add themselves to it in Dale Stephens and Gaetan Bong. Chris Hughton confirmed that both players will be game-time decisions due to minor injury problems.
Manchester United’s form needs to be separated in two separate contexts. Even though they got eliminated from the UEFA Champions League after losing to Sevilla at Old Trafford earlier this week, Jose Mourinho’s men were riding a good run of results prior to that shocking defeat. The Red Devils were coming off a convincing 2-1 against Liverpool the last time out in the Premier League. Tthey have had four wins in the past five EPL games as well, settling themselves in second place in the standings. Their FA Cup form has been quite good as well, winning their prior three games while scoring eight times and conceding none.
On the other hand, Brighton have been better than expected in the Premier League. They are in 11th place and do not appear to be complicated with a potential relegation race. And to make things even better, they have reached the last eight of the competition for the first time since 1986 after a 3-1 home win over Coventry City. The Seagulls also defeated Crystal Palace (2-1) and Middlesbrough (1-0) in the previous rounds. United will be their toughest test to date, though.
These two sides have met once before this season. United won that game 1-0 thanks to an own goal from Lewis Dunk.
Considering the team will probably want to wash away the wounds of the CL elimination and with Brighton probably focusing on finishing the Premier League as strong as they can, United are massive favourites and they shouldn’t have problems to reach the FA Cup’s semifinals.
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