With both Chelsea and Leicester City dropping points in their respective fixtures following the international break, Manchester United have a huge chance of extending their gap from the two teams in the top four should they beat Graham Potter’s Brighton. The Seagulls have shown to play some good football from time to time this season, with the end product being the only thing missing.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should have majority of his squad available for the Sunday evening fixture, despite the likes of Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Phil Jones being unavailable due to injury. On the other hand, Brighton have quite a number of players that aren’t free for use themselves, as Adam Webster, Dan Burn, Percy Tau, Solomon March and Tariq Lamptey remain on the sidelines.
With no further ado, here are the three key individuals to keep a close eye out for..
Regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League outside of the top-six sides, Lewis Dunk is quite the complete and dominant defender as far as they come, with his main strengths being his leadership skills, his aerial ability as well as his quality to effectively defend in one-on-one situations. Not only that, but he also just happens to be Brighton’s second top goal-scorer in the league along with Leandro Trossard with four goals, with three of them coming through as headers.
The 29-year-old’s remarkable form so far this season is the main reason to why he was linked with Arsenal and Chelsea during the transfer window, clearly showing how far he has come as a player and how closely he has been watched by the analysts and scouts as the top teams in English football. With his presence in the backline, United will find it difficult to create chances through set-pieces or crosses from the full-backs, as Brighton are coached intelligently on the defensive side of the game.
Currently the side’s top goal scorer with eight goals in the Premier League, Neal Maupay will be looking to overcome his record of ten league goals in what was his debut season in the top-tier of English football during the 2019/20 campaign. Given his pressing high up the pitch, intelligence and movement off the ball and his quick burst of pace whilst dribbling, the Frenchman has all the traits to a perfect number nine, but he sadly let’s himself down with his finishing and decision-making.
However, with United’s partnership of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof sitting at the half way line at Old Trafford, Maupay will surely find himself with a couple of opportunities on the counter-attack to cause some problems. Having already found himself on the scoresheet once against the Red Devils this season, he will be looking to do so again come Sunday evening, as he will be aiming to improve his record against the big teams in the league, in order for him to reach the next level.
Every team needs a defensive-midfielder that is able to take up more than one role, with their main task being to protect the backline at all costs, followed by making the team tick from midfield to attack. This is what Brighton and Graham Potter have in central-midfielder Yves Bissouma, who has completed the most tackles (74), second most interceptions (47) and second most successful dribbles (34), predominantly proving how crucial and important he is to both club and manager.
As United have a tendency to play through the middle with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, Bissouma will have a monumental task of man-marking the latter, whilst also looking to help his side to progress the ball when they have the chance to counter-attack the hosts. And if he continues to show his consistency for the remainder of the campaign, it would not be a surprise to see him leaving in the summer window, as he remains as one of the most wanted players in the league.