Manchester United come into tomorrow’s home clash with Chris Hughton’s Brighton and Hove Albion looking to quickly bounce back from Wednesday’s disappointing 1-0 loss in Basel.
The surprise defeat means that a safe passage to the next round of this season’s UEFA Champions League is not 100% secured mathematically, but it would take a very unlikely and somewhat strange set of circumstances to see United exit the competition at this stage.
Tomorrow’s match against Brighton is the first time the sides have met since 1993 and the most famous encounter between the two clubs has to be the 1983 FA Cup Final which Manchester United won.
Jose Mourinho has plenty to choose from this weekend with Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo all back from long-term injury. It is likely that the England international Phil Jones will miss out, though Eric Bailly is believed to be close to returning. With Antonio Valencia, Juan Mata and Ashley Young all rested midweek it is likely they will all be involved.
Brighton & Hove Albion have surprised many already in this season’s Premier League, sitting 9th in the table after 12 games. Many tipped them for an automatic return to the Championship, but Hughton recruited well in the summer and his side are proving tough to beat. They are unbeaten in the last five and have already seen off the likes of Swansea City, Newcastle United, West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion. They are well organised defensively and with the likes of Glenn Murray enjoying a purple patch could well cause United problems at Old Trafford. Watch out for Pascal Gross as their main midfield schemer.
As you would expect, United have a decent historical record against the South Coast club. The Red Devils have won ten and drawn five of the previous 16 matches, and the last time the teams faced each other a fresh-faced Ryan Giggs scored the only goal in an FA Cup tie.
The main question is around Jose’s team selection. Will Zlatan make his first start? You wouldn’t bet against it.