Manchester United will resume domestic league action this Saturday when they welcome top four aspirants Brighton to Old Trafford for the Fifth Round of the 2023/24 Premier League season.
The Red Devils went into the international break in a solid sorry state after a last-gasp 3-1 loss to Arsenal in their last game. Things were made even worse during the break as, first, there was a fallout between Jason Sancho and head coach Erik ten Hag before the club suspended Anthony indefinitely due to accusations of domestic violence.
With so much negativity around Old Trafford, it’s a good time for high-flying Brighton to visit. The Seagulls, who will begin their European journey in the coming week, will be desperate to get a result on this ground and become the first away team to beat Erik ten Hag’s side since September 2022.
But can Roberto De Zerbi outsmart Ten Hag at Old Trafford this weekend?
We look at some of the pre-match stats, team news and talking points.
- Manchester United are unbeaten since September 2022 (W27, D4).
- The Red Devils have kept one clean sheet in their last seven games.
- They have lost their last three league games against Brighton.
- The visitors have kept just one clean sheet in their last ten competitive games.
- They have won four and lost four of their last eight PL away matches.
- Pascal Groß has netted six goals against Manchester United, his best tally against any side in his career.
- Bruno Fernandes contributed five goals in two matches for Portugal (G2, A3) during the international break.
- Across 12 PL H2Hs between both sides, there have been six penalties awarded. All of them were scored, and two acted as stoppage-time winners.
Erik ten Hag and his Manchester United team will look to do their talking on the pitch after being in the news for all the wrong reasons before and during the international break.
If their heartbreaking loss at the Emirates didn’t hurt, the fallout and Anthony’s suspension from the club due to domestic violence investigations would have rubbed salt into the injury.
But with key members of the Man United squad shining during the international break, not minding ousted captain Harry Maguire, Ten Hag will be confident of his team bouncing back at Old Trafford, where his side came from two goals down to win against Nottingham Forest late last month.
That 3-2 win over Steve Cooper’s side maintained the Red Devils impressive form, meaning that they have not tasted defeat at home since their opening-day loss to none other than Brighton last season.
Roberto De Zerbi’s side are the last PL team to have taken maximum points at the Theatre of Dreams, and they will be desperate to repeat that feat here and extend their PL winning run against United to four games.
However, their chances of pulling off such a feat could rest in their defence, which has kept just one clean sheet in ten games. But while they struggle to shut it up at the back, their attack has remained potent, with the visitors scoring 20 league games.
The last team to prevent them from scoring are Man United, who held them to a goalless draw in the FA Cup semi-final last season.
Erik ten Hag will be without Anthony, who has been temporarily suspended by the club pending the result of the investigation for accusations levelled against him. Jadon Sancho is also out of this tie as he faces a spell on the sidelines due to disciplinary action by the club.
Meanwhile, Anthony Martial is unlikely to feature after leaving training early on Wednesday due to a suspected injury. Summer signing Sofyan Amrabat will be unable to make his debut this weekend due to a back injury. Still, striker Rasmus Hojlund could be handed a start after his impressive cameo appearance in the loss to Arsenal.
Other injury absentees are Luke Shaw, Tyrrella Malacia, Mason Mount, Raphaël Varane, Kobbie Mainoo, Tom Heaton and Amad Diallo.
Brighton will be without the in-form teenager Evan Ferguson, while Danny Welbeck, Jakub Moder and Julio Enciso are all out of this game.
Predicted Manchester United Lineup: Andre Onana, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martínez, Diogo Dalot, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Alejandro Garnacho, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Rasmus Højlund.
Predicted Brighton Lineup: Bart Verbruggen, Joel Veltman, Jan Paul van Hecke, Lewis Dunk, Pervis Estupiñán, Pascal Groß, Billy Gilmour, Solly March, João Pedro, Kaoru Mitoma, Evan Ferguson.