Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United

Brighton will be hoping for a repeat result of last season’s corresponding fixture when Manchester United visit the Amex Stadium on Sunday.

Premier League
19 August 2018
Gameweek 2
Kick-off: 17:00 local time
Venue: Amex Stadium

Referee: K. Friend
Assistants: S. Burt, M. Wilkes
Fourth official: G. Scott

Head-to-head summary

Brighton 19 2 5 12
Man United 19 12 5 2

Previous encounter

Brighton 1-0 Manchester United 04/05/2018 (Premier League)

Brighton goalscorers: P. Gross (57′)

Players to watch

Anthony Knockaert tormented United on their last trip to the Amex. The French winger plays with his heart on his sleeve which has endeared him to the Albion faithful. Knockaert registered three goals and one assist in 33 Premier League appearances last term.

The Red Devils will be hoping that Paul Pogba can replicate the form that helped France win the 2018 World Cup last month. The midfielder got off the mark for the new campaign in the 2-1 win over Leicester last time out, although he continues to be linked with a move away from Old Trafford after struggling for consistency under Jose Mourinho in the last two seasons.

Team form and manager quotes

The Seagulls hosted United for the first time in 25 years when they recorded a 1-0 victory in May 2018, which was only the second time in the club’s history they had gotten the better of their more illustrious opponents.

Chris Hughton’s side managed to survive their first campaign back in the top flight as they finished seven points above the relegation zone in 15th place.

Albion kicked off proceedings last weekend with a 2-0 defeat at Watford, which was their third straight loss on the road in the league after ending 2017/18 with two away games.

Hughton acknowledges the performance of his players at the Hawthorns was not up to scratch and he wants a response against the Red Devils.

“We were very disappointed with the performance last week,” he said. “We can win or lose anywhere, particularly away from home, and we didn’t expect a comfortable game.

“If you lose in a manner you can accept, that’s okay, but the performance was not at a level we expected. I need to make decisions on the changes I need to make. It’s a bad start for us. We need a reaction.”

United put a difficult pre-season behind them as they beat Leicester 2-1 at Old Trafford last week to make a winning start to the Premier League campaign.

Paul Pogba was drafted into the starting line-up, despite only taking part in a handful of training sessions and the captain for the day opened the scoring from the penalty spot after just three minutes.

The 2018 World Cup winner is set to wear the armband again for the trip to the south coast, with Antonio Valencia not fit enough to start yet.

Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho admits the 1-0 reverse at Brighton is still fresh in the minds of his players and is aware of the tough task awaiting them on Sunday.

“Looking to the match, I think the best way to look at it is to remember that three months ago we lost 1-0 there,” Mourinho said in his pre-match press conference.

“Chris [Hughton] is a great coach. Good players, good team, beautiful stadium, but difficult to play. They know how to play and they’ve kept the same team, they bought a few new players.

“I think the style is the same and the fact that they lost the first match [against Watford], obviously they are working for a reaction, working to improve their game, so a difficult match for us, but we are confident.”

Team news

The hosts must do without skipper Bruno (hamstring), Florin Andone (groin) and Jose Izquierdo (knee), but there could be a debut for Martin Montoya.

Valencia, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard all returned to training this week, but the Albion game comes too soon for the trio.

Ander Herrera, Sergio Romero, Marcos Rojo and Diogo Dalot remain unavailable for the visitors through injury.