Manchester United returned from international break with a huge 4-1 win over Newcastle United this past weekend, but they lost 0-1 to FC Basel in the UEFA Champions League this past Wednesday so they could not clinch a berth in the Round of 16 of the Champions League. The Red Devils need to bounce back at the domestic level, however, and they will host Brighton this Saturday at Old Trafford. The game starts at 15:00 BST, and Neil Swarbrick will be the referee.
Manchester United have struggled with injuries all season long. However, the international break allowed Jose Mourinho to recover several important players. Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw action in the past two games, and players such as Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba are back 100%.
Unfortunately the team is not at full strength, though. Michael Carrick (undisclosed), Eric Bailly (knock) and Phil Jones (hamstring) are out due to injuryAs such, it shouldn’t be strange to imagine Victor Lindelöf and Chris Smalling pairing at centre-back, although Marcos Rojo could get another start following an impressive display in the Champions League. Mourinho also confirmed other players are on restrictions when it comes to their playing time. For example, Pogba can’t play more than 70 minutes, and Zlatan is not ready to start. The Swedish could make a cameo appearance off the bench, however.
Antonio Valencia, Juan Mata and Ashley Young could all return to the squad after not travelling to Switzerland.
On the other hand, Brighton are almost at full strength ahead of this game. The lone absentee will be Steve Sidwell, who has been ruled out with a back injury.
Manchester United currently sit in second place of the English Premier League standings and even though they are a bit far from Manchester City in the title race, there is no question there have been several improvements compared to past years. One of those has been the team’s play at home, as Manchester United recently registered their 12th straight win at Old Trafford with the 4-1 victory over Newcastle United one week ago. Manchester United have won their six home games during the current EPL season as well. They have scored 19 times and conceded just once over that span.
Meanwhile, Brighton have a bit inconsistent but they are certainly trending in the right direction of late. The Seagulls are currently riding a five-game undefeated streak at the Premier League level, registering two wins and three draws over that span. They are coming off a 2-2 draw against Stoke City at home, but their recent away form has been surprising. Brighton won their past two fixtures on the road, defeating West Ham and Swansea. They didn’t concede goals in any of those two games, either.
The last time the two teams met was in a league bout back in 1983. Therefore, there is no recent record of head-to-head encounters between these two.
Manchester United are coming off a strong win over Newcastle United in the Premier League. And even though the loss against Basel was not expected, United have been absolutely dominant at home during the current season. The Red Devils know this is a must-win game if they want to remain alive on the title race. And I expect them to secure the three points rather comfortably. Even if we consider Brighton’s impressive form of late.
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