Both seeking to build on 3-0 wins in their most recent Premier League encounters, Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester United prepare for battle at the Amex Stadium on Saturday evening.
Graham Potter’s side humbled Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux last weekend, while the Red Devils enjoyed a confidence-boosting success over Brentford.
If interest in Graham Potter’s services was not already building ahead of the summer, a recent spate of strong results against European-chasing teams has surely caught the eye as Brighton seek to confirm a top-half finish in the Premier League, and those efforts were boosted in the West Midlands last week.
With Wolves enduring a miserable period both in the opposition’s and their own penalty area, Alexis Mac Allister converted a penalty after recently missing another before Leandro Trossard and Yves Bissouma also got in on the act in a 3-0 win for the rampant Seagulls.
Consigning their miserable February and March streak to history, a tally of 11 points from the last 18 on offer in the top flight has left Brighton sitting pretty in ninth place, although Leicester City are only two points behind with two games in hand amid their Europa Conference League travails.
Victories over Wolves, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur during a stellar spring period should lead to a wave of optimism from the home crowd that a famous result against the Red Devils could be on the cards, but home has not been where the heart is for Brighton in recent months.
Indeed, the Seagulls are still winless at the Amex in 2022 in the Premier League – drawing four and losing four since their Boxing Day success over Brentford – and a meagre tally of 12 top-flight goals at home is the joint-worst in the division alongside already-relegated Norwich City.
With most of their recent failures coming on unfamiliar territory, a welcome return to the Theatre of Dreams saw Man United put on one of their most convincing showings yet under Ralf Rangnick, and Brentford were no match for the revered Red Devils’ names on Monday evening.
Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane were all on the scoresheet to ensure that Man United’s Champions League hopes would not be dead and buried just yet, but it would still take something extraordinary for Erik ten Hag to lead the 20-time English champions in the European elite next term.
Victory over the Bees leaves Man United languishing in sixth place in the Premier League table – five points adrift of Arsenal, who have two games in hand on their adversaries – so anything but a win this weekend and the Red Devils will officially kiss their Champions League hopes goodbye.
Three points may only just delay the inevitable if Arsenal can claim an expected win over Leeds United a day later, and for all of Brighton’s recent failures at home, Man United enter Saturday’s game having lost each of their last four Premier League games on the road.
It has been 41 years since the Red Devils last lost more than four league games on the bounce away from home, but they comfortably saw off Brighton 2-0 at Old Trafford back in February for their sixth consecutive top-flight win against the Seagulls, who will be in no mood to have their wings clipped in their penultimate home clash of the season.
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form:
Manchester United Premier League form:
We say: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Manchester United
One of the Premier League’s worst performing teams at home facing a Man United side who cannot stop losing on the road is a fascinating matchup for sure, and the Seagulls know a thing or two about taking points off of Champions League-chasing sides.
Timeless veteran Ronaldo is always capable of producing the goods when it matters most for this Man United side, but we would not be surprised to see the giant-killing Seagulls hang on for a point here.