Manchester United faced a tough stretch of games over the past week but left unscathered, as they won both games – against Tottenham in the FA Cup Semifinals and against Arsenal in the Premier League – by an identical 2-1 score. As such, United are in the FA Cup final and also secured a Top 4 finish this season, securing a Champions League berth for the 2018-19 campaign as a result. But the season is not over yet, and Jose Mourinho’s men want to the end the year on a strong note. With that in mind, they will take on Brighton on the road in a puzzling Friday night EPL fixture.
The Red Devils will suffer a big blow on the attacking end, as Romelu Lukaku will miss this game after being subbed off during the 2-1 win over Arsenal last week. Sergio Romero remains out as well, and there is a chance the Argentinian does not play again until the end of the season due to his injury. Eric Bailly is fit, but Mourinho is not likely to select him since he “wants to help players that are fighting for World Cup places, and Bailly is the only central defender whose country will not be at the World Cup next month”.
As for Brighton, manager Chris Hughton will recover Davy Propper, who finally ended a three-game ban that started last month. Hughton will have a tough choice, however, as he will have to decide on whether place Propper back in the starting XI or stick with Beram Kayal who has done a good job in Propper’s absence. The other absentee is Steve Sidwell, who is out due to an ankle injury.
Manchester United are finishing the season on a strong note since they have won six of their last seven games across all competitions, and their lone loss came against relegation-bound West Bromwich. The Red Devils have a decent grab of the second place in the standings, but their recent 2-1 win over Arsenal granted them Champions League football for the next season, so they are in a very good place right now. The numbers back that up, as United have registered four wins and just one loss in the past five contests. That makes them the best team in the EPL over that span alongside Manchester City.
On the other hand, Brighton practically secured their stay in the Premier League for one more season thanks to a six-game undefeated streak back in February, but their recent results have not been very good. Aside from the fact that they are coming off a 0-0 draw against Burnley, they have failed to win any of their past seven in all competitions, and have collected just three points (D3, L2) in their last five Premier League games. Brighton sit five points above the relegation zone with only three games left to play. They are not safe yet, there would have to occur a massive catastrophe just to see them struggle with relegation a bit. But overall, their recent form shouldn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
The two clubs have met on 18 previous occasions, half of those coming in league games. United have emerged victorious against the Seagulls 12 times and have only lost once. This will be the third occasion that the teams have met this season, with the Reds winning both of the previous encounters.
Manchester United have been on top form despite a few bumps in the road and they are looking to get into the best shape possible for the FA Cup final. As such, underperforming players will not be allowed. Brighton need to win to escape the relegation threat once and for all, but The Red Devils are in far better form and shouldn’t have problems to escape with the three points here.
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