Match Review: Manchester United vs Brighton Hove Albion
Manchester United hosted Brighton this weekend in a Premier League fixture where a win was really a must. Brighton have never won at Old Trafford and that was a record United were keen to keep hold of.
Thankfully the reds overturned Brighton 3-1, which now makes it 5 wins from 6 in all competitions. After their 3-0 win over Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday, it was the first time United had scored six in two games since March which shows a great improvement in creativity from the Reds.
United started well, going one up at the seventeenth minute mark with a deflected shot from Pereira found the back of the net. Pereira was heavily involved in the build up as a sequence of quick feet lead him to the edge of the box before he was tackled. The ball fell to the feet of Martial who squared it back to Pereira which allowed him to get the eventual shot away.
This was then quickly followed up by United’s second two minutes later. A free kick was floated over towards Maguire and a scrappy sequence led to the ball being put into the back of Brighton’s net. Scott McTominay claimed the goal, but it went down as an own goal from Brighton’s midfielder Propper.
In the 64th minute, United’s lead came in danger as Brighton defender Dunk headed home from a corner. But any hopes of a comeback were again shut down two minutes later, as Marcus Rashford hit a stunning strike as it rattled the crossbar and bounced over the goal line.Embed from Getty Images
Rashford may have been thankful for this goal, as in the dying moments of the match he recorded a terrible miss, one that will be a contender for miss of the season. The ball was squared to him on the edge of the six-yard box and all he had to do was tap it into an open net. However, he sliced the ball wide and thousands of people in attendance thought he had hit the back of the net as a cheer followed by a sudden gasp rang around Old Trafford. This led to the full-time score being 3-1, but with such a dominant display from Man United, it perhaps should’ve been more. Even Ole stated in a post-match interview with Match of The Day he said, “we should have scored more goals”.Embed from Getty Images
Perhaps Ole’s side are finally starting to turn a corner as players who perhaps may have been known for poor results have started to perform. Most noticeably in this game was Fred: he put in probably his best performance in a Man United shirt. Youth players are also starting to gel naturally in the team as Brandon Williams was given Man of the Match for a stellar performance at left back. If he keeps up this run of form, he will undoubtably keep Luke Shaw out of the team when he returns from injury. The players are starting to perform for Ole, as Martial now has a record of being involved in a goal every 89 minutes and Rashford close behind with one every 115. United’s average age in the team against Brighton was 23, which again shows how the persistent faith in youth may finally be paying off with results on the pitch. Whether the players are playing for their place or just working for the team, Ole’s plan and mold of players is slowly starting to rise to the surface. He’s given players an opportunity to prove themselves which is being repaid with hard work on the pitch.