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Clinical Brighton demolish Manchester United

For the first time in their Premier League history, Manchester United have lost three of their opening five games in a season as they were humbled by much-changed Brighton.

Highlights: Brighton 3, Manchester United 1
Goals from Danny Welbeck, Pascal Gross, and Joao Pedro saw Manchester United fans leave Old Trafford early as Brighton secure three points in a dominant 3-1 victory.

For the first time in their Premier League history, Manchester United have lost three of their opening five games in a season as they were humbled by much-changed Brighton.

[ MORE: Erik ten Hag positive despite loss - Should he be? ]

That means Manchester United’s 20-game unbeaten run at Old Trafford is over and Brighton have now beaten Manchester United four times in a row in the Premier League, becoming the first non ‘big six’ side to do so.

Erik ten Hag’s side huffed and puffed on Saturday but a clinical Brighton side beat them 3-1 as the pressure continues to build on United’s Dutch coach.

Danny Welbeck put Brighton ahead in the first half as United went close to scoring on multiple occasions, then Pascal Gross and Joao Pedro rubbed further salt into United’s wounds to put the soaring Seagulls 3-0 up.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Youngster Hannibal Mejbri scored a beauty to make it 3-1 but United never really looked like launching a stunning comeback as Erik ten Hag’s problems on and off the pitch continue to mount.

United have just six points from their first five games of the season, while Brighton have 12 points on the board as Roberto De Zerbi’s side now look forward to their first-ever European campaign starting this week.

Ten Hag disappointed in Man Utd's loss to Brighton
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag reflects on his side's 3-1 loss to Brighton at Old Trafford.

Problems worsen for Erik ten Hag as Red Devils lose ruthless streak

Much has been made of United’s issues off the pitch with both Antony and Jadon Sancho currently away from the first team squad as the former faces allegations of abuse against several women, while the latter has been called out by Erik ten Hag for his poor training and ETH has admitted that following Sancho refusing to apologize for public comments about the spat, the English winger may not play for United again as long as he’s the manager.

The good news for Sancho is that things are unraveling rapidly for Erik ten Hag and nobody would be surprised if he isn’t in charge at United by the time January arrives. Look, for large parts of their defeat against Brighton it was actually United who created chances and looked sharp. But they didn’t take those opportunities as Marcus Rashford carved Brighton open but couldn’t find the key final shot or pass, while Rasmus Hojlund had a goal disallowed by VAR as the ball had just gone out of play by a few millimeters before he finished. That about sums up United’s luck on the pitch to start this season. In the defeats against Arsenal, Tottenham and now Brighton they could have easily won all three of those games had they been more clinical and had VAR decisions not ruled out goals at key moments. There’s a lot of could’s in there and we also have to remember: their home wins against Wolves and Nottingham Forest were very lucky. So perhaps this all evens out.

Things will not get any easier for Erik ten Hag now that the Champions League group stage is about to begin and United must find a ruthless streak from somewhere if they’re going to, at the very least, mount a serious top four challenge this season. They were meant to be in a title race this campaign but everything that can go wrong is going wrong for them right now.

What’s next?

Manchester United travel to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, Sept. 20 to kick off their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign. They then travel to Burnley on Saturday, Sept. 23. Brighton host AEK Athens on Thursday, Sept. 21 in their first-ever European game, then host Bournemouth on Sunday, Sept. 24.

How to watch Manchester United vs Brighton live, stream link, time

Kickoff: 10am ET, Saturday (Sept. 16)

TV channel: Peacock Premium

Stream: Watch full replay on Peacock Premium

Updates
Roberto De Zerbi: “We deserved to win”

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi has been speaking to our partners in the UK at Sky Sports.

Needless to say, De Zerbi is ‘proper chuffed’ as we’d say here in the UK:

“We played a great, great game. We deserved to win, we played well. In the first 15, 20 minutes we suffered a lot because Man United played in a different way than we prepared for but after that we played a great game,” De Zerbi said.

“I think the game was changed when we kept the ball. In that moment their pressure was strong and to keep the ball helped us to control the game and then we have four attackers who are very fast and very good.

“We have to keep our style when we are losing, when we are wining. We can’t forget our DNA because the game can change and it’s bad when the result can change our style. We are working to not lose our characteristic, our quality and to score more goals. We scored three but had many chances to score again.”

Christian Eriksen reacts to another disappointing defeat

Speaking to the BBC’s Match of the Day, Christian Eriksen have a very honest assessment of where Manchester United are at right now.

“It is a heavy one,” Eriksen said about the defeat. “We have to look at ourselves. We changed some things but we are disappointed. In the first half we had a lot of moments, had good control. They had a lot of possession but not many chances. They then score with their first chance and the system they play they keep the ball a lot and we had to chase it down. But we still had chances to get back into the game.”

Eriksen was asked what needs to be done to turn things around and he lamented United’s lack of luck.

“The small things. We had the offside at Arsenal and today when we scored but it was out of play. The small things we are missing and a bit of luck to get over the line and get something out of the effort we put in. Any game at the start of the season, doesn’t matter who you play, is very important. We focus on our games and whoever we play we want to win. But we have lost three already and we have to change that.”

Manchester United vs Brighton player ratings

Via our friends at FotMob.com, you can see that Lamptey was superb down the left flank for Brighton. In truth, Brighton’s experienced players stood tall with Dunk, Veltman, Welbeck and Gross all superb.

Rashford and Fernandes were good for United but just couldn’t find a finishing touch.

Manchester United vs Brighton player ratings

FotMob.com

FULL TIME: Manchester United 1-3 Brighton

That was another crushing defeat for Manchester United as their start to the season has been spectacularly bad.

Erik ten Hag looked bemused on the sidelines for most of that game as Brighton were clinical and as soon as they went 2-0 up, United didn’t have an answer.

On and off the pitch there is so much instability at United right now as they’ve failed to build on the positive momentum of last season.

Remember when United were being talked about as title contenders this season? Yeah, scratch that. By the way, Brighton rested plenty of players ahead of their Europa League debut on Thursday. That just shows how strong they are and how good of a job Roberto De Zerbi is doing.

GOALLL! Manchester United 1-3 Brighton - Hannibal Mejbri

Substitute Hannibal Mejbri smashes home a beauty and Manchester United have a sniff of a comeback with 20 minutes to go...

Mejbri's screamer pulls one back for Man Utd
Hannibal Mejbri gives Manchester United fans at Old Trafford something to cheer about as he drills a long-range effort to reduce the deficit to Brighton to 3-1.

GOALLL! Manchester United 0-3 Brighton - Joao Pedro

The substitute opens his hips up and finishes superbly after Lamptey was allowed to surge down the left unchallenged.

Great finish from Joao Pedro but that is woeful defensively from Manchester United.

Substitutes for both teams

Ansu Fati is on for his Brighton debut, while there are huge boos from the home fans as Anthony Martial comes on for Rasmus Hojlund.

The latter worked hard and had some nice touches and the home fans obviously wanted Erik ten Hag to throw caution to the wind in the last 25 minutes.

GOALLL! Manchester United 0-2 Brighton - Pascal Gross

Wow, that was special.

Brighton are patient and ping the ball out to the left. Mitoma finds Lamptey in the box and his incredible piece of skill sets up Gross who drops his shoulder and smashes a low shot home.

The Seagulls are soaring at Old Trafford. The home fans are stunned. Their team has actually played pretty well but are 2-0 down.

How can Erik ten Hag change this to get back in the game?

Gross doubles Brighton's lead v. Manchester United
Pascal Gross drills his shot past Andre Onana to give Brighton a two-goal cushion against Manchester United at old Trafford.

Second half is underway!

And Manchester United almost make it 1-1 as Rashford dances inside the box from the left once again and his cross just evades everyone.

Rashford has really had the beating of Brighton today. Can he find the right pass or shot to finish it off?

HALF TIME: Manchester United 0-1 Brighton

Brighton lead as they had one big chance and they took it through Danny Welbeck.

Manchester United were excellent for most of that first half as Rashford tormented Brighton and Hojlund had a goal disallowed by VAR.

There will be more goals in this one. Trust me.

CLOSE for Manchester United!

Rashford is absolutely on fire.

He cuts inside from the left again and lashes a shot just wide of the far post.

The England forward is unstoppable right now.

NO GOAL! Manchester United thought they were level

Brilliant play, once again, from Marcus Rashford down the left.

He dances into the box and finds Rasmus Hojlund who finishes on his home debut... but VAR checks the goal and it is disallowed.

Rashford just ran the ball out of play before he crossed. Shame, as United deserve an equalizer.

POST! Manchester United so close to an equalizer

Marcus Rashford drives towards goal once again and his shot deflects off Veltman and hits the corner of the post and crossbar before bouncing out for a corner.

So close for United. Rashford has been excellent so far.

GOALLL! Manchester United 0-1 Brighton - Danny Welbeck

20 minutes in and totally against the run of play Brighton lead at Manchester United.

The Seagulls construct a lovely move down their right and a beauty of a cross from Adingra finds Welbeck who slots home at the Stretford End.

The United academy product delivers for Brighton and doesn’t really celebrate as a few of the home fans give him a ripple of applause.

Welbeck's goal silences Old Trafford
Danny Welbeck opens the scoring for Brighton as he scores against Manchester United, his former team, at Old Trafford.

CHANCE for Manchester United!

Pure class from Eriksen and Fernandes to set up Rashford on the left and he crosses for Hojlund who just can’t get on the end of it.

Manchester United rampant early on. Brighton cannot stop wave after wave of attacks. Especially from the left.

KICK OFF! Underway at Old Trafford

It has been ALLLL Manchester United early on.

Sergio Reguilon linked up really well with Marcus Rashford on the left side of the box and the England star skipped past a couple of Brighton challenges but Jason Steele denied him at the near post.

Old Trafford is buzzing. This is exactly what United’s fans wanted to see from the start.

Brighton make a host of changes from the team which beat Newcastle comfortably before the break.

After his hat trick last time out, Evan Ferguson is only fit enough for the bench. March and Estupinan miss out totally.

With one eye on their Europa League clash on Thursday, it seems like Roberto De Zerbi has prioritized that game over this trip to Old Trafford.

Manchester United lineup

Some big team news for United as left back Sergio Reguillon comes in for his first start, while fellow summer signing Rasmus Hojlund also starts.

Scott McTominay starts in midfield, while Amrabat isn’t fit enough for the bench.

Focus on Manchester United

Erik ten Hag is waiting on summer additions Sofyan Amrabat and Mason Mount, while Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof are fit to start.

Antony is suspended, while Tom Heaton, Amad Diallo, Raphael Varane, Tyrell Malacia, Luke Shaw, and Kobbie Mainoo remain out of the lineup.

Jadon Sancho continues to train away from the first team squad after he and Erik ten Hag aired their dirty laundry in public.

The Red Devils have been driven by Bruno Fernandes, who is leading the Premier League in expected assists per 90 minutes and is top 20 in expected goals per 90. His actual goals and assists (1 and 1) are sure to catch up.

And part of that is on Marcus Rashford, who is getting into very dangerous positions but missing the mark with the final ball.

The Seagulls have not only dealt with big names leaving via transfer, but are also handling absences of Julio Enciso and Jakub Moder in style.

Forwards Danny Welbeck and Evan Ferguson entered the international break with minor injuries, but both should be okay to feature against United.

The list of Brighton stars this season is long, and will feel even longer now that center back Lewis Dunk has starred for England with rave reviews coming out of this international break.

But winger Kaoru Mitoma, fullback Pervis Estupinan, and playmaker Solly March — the latter being perhaps the most overlooked star in the Premier League — are really driving the bus and will test Man Utd in its most vulnerable places.