Classy Man United breeze past Brighton
Manchester United hammered Brighton 3-0 at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are now unbeaten in 15 games in all competitions.
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Bruno Fernandes struck in each half after Mason Greenwood gave Man United the lead and although Brighton had chances, Solskjaer’s side won comfortably to keep their top four push on track.
With the win Man United move back into fifth place on 52 points, two points behind fourth-place Chelsea and three points behind third-place Leicester City. Brighton remain six points above the relegation zone.
Manchester United - Brighton: Three things we learned
1. Fernandes, Pogba clicking: Twice in the first half Pogba played the ball to Fernandes on the edge of the box. On the first occasion Fernandes hit the post. On the second he scored. This partnership is clicking and they’ve now started alongside one another against Sheffield United and Brighton and they’ve been instrumental. With Greenwood, Rashford and Martial ahead of them, Pogba and Fernandes provide creativity to knit the attacking unit together perfectly. What a partnership they could have as Pogba looks almost back to his best.
2. Man United have momentum for top four: Two wins and a draw since the restart has United right in the top four hunt and they have the easiest remaining schedule, on paper, compared with their Champions League-chasing rivals. Solskjaer’s side are solid defensively, dangerous on the counter and with Fernandes and Pogba in full flow, they can now break down teams who sit back and defend deep against them. Bet on Man United to at least be fifth when the season is over. With 11 clean sheets in their last 15 games in all competitions, Man United have improved massively defensively too.
3. Brighton focus on Norwich: Anything from this game would have been a bonus but it was clear Graham Potter prioritized their trip to last-place Norwich at the weekend. Maupay and Trossard came on at half time and gave the Seagulls extra spark in attack as they were too defensive and lackluster in the first half, while Aaron Mooy was rested too. Brighton have a six-point cushion on the relegation zone and if they beat Norwich at the weekend it would take something very drastic for them to be relegated this season.
Man of the Match
Bruno Fernandes - He scored twice and kept popping up in dangerous areas. Yes, his set piece delivery wasn’t the best but he was still extremely dangerous. Mason Greenwood was sublime with a goal and an assist but Fernandes just shaded the MOM award.
Man United dominated the early stages and came so close to taking the lead as Pogba and Fernandes combined.
Pogba teed up Fernandes who stroked a low effort past Mat Ryan but it hit the post and came back out as Pogba’s rebound was deflected over.
Soon after Man United took a deserved lead as Aaron Wan-Bissaka found Greenwood and the teenager turned superbly, bamboozled the Brighton defense with his quick feet and then snuck home a finish at the near post.
Luke Shaw then surged forward to set up a second as his ball found Pogba and once again he teed up Fernandes perfectly as he snuck home an effort at the near post.
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Brighton started the second half well with Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard making a difference off the bench, but they were then hit on the counter as Man United finished them off.
Nemanja Matic spanked a fine ball out to Greenwood who ran forward and clipped an equally lovely cross to the back post which found Fernandes who volleyed home his second and Man United’s third. Ole-ball at its finest.
Brighton continued to pour forward as Alexis Mac Allister found Trossard with a clever short free kick but the Belgian sent his shot across goal just wide. David de Gea denied Maupay as Man United were made to work hard for the clean sheet but they left Brighton with a shutout and all three points.