Brighton v Manchester United Cheat Sheet
Brighton v Manchester United
Manchester United will feel much less confident coming into this match than they may have thought they would a couple of weeks ago. Injuries to key players recently have led to disappointing results including being knocked out of the Europa League, the FA Cup is their only chance now to add to the Carabao Cup they won earlier in the season. Ten Hag will have to stick with Lindelof and Maguire at the back with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane still injured. Apart from their problems at centre back, their key players in other positions are fully fit and they will still feel they have a very good chance at Wembley.
Brighton are absolutely flying in the league, their only loss in their last 9 matches was to Spurs in a game full of questionable refereeing decisions. They now get a chance to reach the FA Cup Final for just the 2nd time in the club’s history when they lost against Manchester United in 1983. Brighton will also be missing a few important players, Evan Ferguson will be a big miss for them, Veltman will also be unavailable at the back, while goalkeeper Jason Steele only has a small chance of passing his fitness test.
While Manchester United’s recent form is not too bad, the loss to Sevilla in midweek was a massive disappointment for them, especially considering the poor performance of the team. While they have picked up wins recently against teams around the relegation zone, Newcastle were dominant against them even when Varane and Martinez were in the team. Maguire and Lindelof bring nervousness to the whole of Manchester United’s team and De Gea has made a lot of mistakes recently as well. When coming into a big game, the last thing you want is players who are unsure of themselves.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Luke Shaw moved to centre-back for this match to try and calm the nerves at the back. Brighton meanwhile are full of confidence and will see this match as an opportunity. There will be a feeling of hope at Brighton that even if they weren’t good enough to win normally, they surely are against a dodgy United backline. Brighton will play the match with no fear and I think Manchester United could be under pressure for huge spells of the match. While Brighton may not have enough to win it, I expect them to at least take the match to extra time but would not be surprised if they win the game in 90 minutes.
With injuries to Manchester United’s defence, Brighton can expect to get plenty of opportunities here. Brighton average the most shots on target per 90 of any team in the league at 5.76. 5 of the last 8 shots on targets Manchester United have conceded have come from the opposition striker and 3 of the last 4 goals they have concede have come from opposition strikers. With Evan Ferguson injured, Danny Welbeck will surely start up front for Brighton against his former team. Welbeck averages 1.1 shots on target per 90 and has been particularly good recently, he has had at least 1 shot on target in 5 of his last 6 matches. He looks like a good choice to have just 1 shot on target here.
While I am not expecting a lot of cards here, I am still expecting a lot of fouls from both teams. Brighton’s main man for stopping opposition attackers and their highest fouler is Moises Caicedo. Caicedo will have his work cut out against the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Antony, and Rashford on counterattacks and will happily commit fouls rather than let them have a counterattack.
Caicedo averages 1.99 fouls per 90 this season and has committed at least 2 fouls in 5 of his last 7 matches, only not needing to do so in dominant performances over Bournemouth and Grimsby Town. Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes draw 1.26 and 1.07 fouls per 90 respectively and Caicedo will be all over both of them in transitional phases, something which I expect to lead to him committing fouls.
Big games are often good for cards with the tension in the game leading to more fouls, however, different referees like to referee big games in different ways. The referee for this match is Craig Pawson, who has averaged a fairly high 4.28 cards per 90 this season over all fixtures. However, when looking into his numbers further I have found when it comes to big games he likes to let the game flow and not give out cards early on.
Pawson gave out just 2 yellow cards when he refereed the Community Shield final at the start of this season and just 1 yellow card when he officiated last year’s final between Chelsea and Liverpool. His only other final or semi-final that he has refereed over the past 4 seasons was the Carabao Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Spurs last year, where yet again he only gave out 1 card all match. While others may expect high card counts here, I think Pawson will take the same cautious approach here and try to let the game flow so under 4.5 cards looks like a sensible choice.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
18+ please gamble responsibly.
Haven’t got a Paddy Power account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Paddy Power and get a full refund if your first bet loses. Grab an account through the offer below and place £30 on the 7/2 Brighton v Manchester United Bet Builder. Here’s what you can get:
* I recommend waiting for confirmed team line-ups before placing any bets *
* All odds displayed correctly at the time of publishing *