PL Preview: Brighton v. Manchester United
- Brighton has only beaten Manchester United once - in 1982
- Manchester United has not conceded a goal against Burnley since 1992
- No team has conceded more goals from corners than Brighton this season (14)
A rare Friday matchup sees Manchester United head to Brighton & Hove Albion looking to do its part to secure second place in the Premier League table with victory over the Seagulls at Falmer Stadium.
Up five points on third-placed Liverpool, a win on Friday plus a Liverpool draw or loss to Chelsea on Sunday at Stamford Bridge would guarantee nobody could pass the Red Devils and would lock them in to second place with two matches remaining. A win or draw would also guarantee a place in next year’s Champions League group stage no matter the outside results.
The Red Devils can also avoid the first triple away defeat to newly promoted sides in club history. With defeats at both Newcastle United and Huddersfield, Manchester United will aim to prevent a third at Brighton to complete the dubious sweep.
Brighton, meanwhile, can secure Premier League safety with a win over Jose Mourinho and company, as they currently rest in 14th position, five points above Southampton in the first danger spot. A draw also put them in prime position to stay up, although it would not mathematically assure their Premier League status, leaving the only possibility of relegation to goal differential.
On the injury front, Manchester United will be without Romelu Lukaku who picked up an ankle injury against Arsenal last time out, but Phil Jones is back, while Eric Bailly is not carrying an injury, Mourinho confirmed. For Brighton, Davy Propper returns from his three-match suspension, while Steve Sidwell remains the only injury absentee for the Seagulls as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.
What they’re saying
Brighton manager Chris Hughton on Manchester United as a club: “When you are playing against Manchester United they still have the quality that Manchester United teams have always had. They were very consistent at winning the league. Perhaps they are not that at the moment, but they are still winning things and there is still this massive aura about playing a Manchester United team.”
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on the job Hughton has done at Brighton: “Very, very good, to go from very, very good to amazing he just needs to mathematically confirm the Premier League for next season. I think Brighton will be there next year and that’s a fantastic job for Chris and not surprising for me because since the start they have showed the quality and mentality to get the points they need to stay in the division.”
Manchester United have little to play for, but they’ve still managed to crank out results as the season comes to a close. However, matches against teams fighting against relegation are a completely different animal. While it would be a shock if Brighton were to collapse into a relegation spot, it’s still possible with three matches remaining, and their players will know that. A 1-1 draw would seem reasonable here, as Manchester United will miss Lukaku and could be held in a scrappy away battle.