The second of the 2022-23 FA Cup semi-finals takes place at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. We look ahead to this all-Premier League clash with our Brighton vs Man United prediction and preview.

Brighton vs Man United: Quick Hits

  • Brighton & Hove Albion are the favourites to shock Manchester United and make the FA Cup final with the Opta supercomputer.
  • The Seagulls are being given a 41.3% chance of winning the tie in normal time, compared to Man United’s 31.6%.
  • Man United have won all five previous FA Cup ties against Brighton, including the 1983 final.

Match Preview

Brighton will be looking to achieve something that they’ve never previously managed before in their history: win an FA Cup tie against Manchester United. The Red Devils have won each of their previous five FA Cup ties against the Seagulls, most recently in the 2017-18 quarter-finals.

Brighton have, however, won their last two competitive meetings with Man Utd – both under former manager Graham Potter – with an aggregate score of 6-1.

Man United certainly have a lot of experience in FA Cup semi-finals – more than any other side, in fact. This will be their 31st FA Cup semi-final tie. Having won 13 consecutive semi-final ties between 1976 and 2007, the Red Devils have now lost three of their last five at this stage, most recently against Chelsea in 2020.

Brighton are appearing in their third FA Cup semi-final – they beat Sheffield Wednesday to reach the final in 1983, and lost to eventual winners Manchester City in 2019. After beating Sheffield Wednesday in 1983, they lost the final 4-0 in a replay to Man Utd after drawing the first game 2-2 at Wembley.

In fact, these matches against United in the 1983 final started a terrible run of form at Wembley Stadium of Brighton. They’ve never won a competitive game at Wembley, drawing one and losing four of their five visits there.

Manchester United are suffering an injury crisis in defence ahead of this semi-final, with Lisandro Martinez set to miss the rest of the 2022-23 season with a metatarsal injury and centre-back partner Raphael Varane also out. Donny van de Beek will certainly be missing from their midfield, while Scott McTominay looks unlikely to be passed fit, but Bruno Fernandes returns to the squad following his absence via suspension for Thursday’s UEFA Europa League defeat to Sevilla.

Adam Lallana, Evan Ferguson, Joel Veltman, Jason Steele, Jeremy Sarmiento and Tariq Lamptey all miss out on this semi-final with injury for Brighton.

Last Meeting

Manchester United 1-2 Brighton: 7 August 2022 (Premier League)

Man United 1-2 Brighton 2022-23

In defeating Manchester United 2-1 in the opening game of the 2022-23 Premier League season, Brighton inflicted defeat on their manager Erik ten Hag in his first competitive game in charge of the club. He was the first Man United manager to lose his first Premier League game in charge since Louis van Gaal in August 2014 against Swansea City.

Pascal Groß scored both of Brighton’s goals in the first half of this Premier League clash at Old Trafford. He has scored the winning goal three times against Manchester United in the Premier League for Brighton (May 2018, August 2018 and August 2022). The only player with more winning goals against the Red Devils in Premier League history is Danny Murphy (five – three with Liverpool, two with Fulham).

This was Brighton’s first ever away win over Man Utd, having drawn two and lost 12 of their previous 14 competitive visits to Old Trafford.

Even Manchester United’s goal came via a Brighton player, courtesy of Alexis Mac Allister’s own goal after half-time.

Man Utd 1-2 Brighton 2022-23

Recent Form

Manchester United suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat to La Liga side Sevilla in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night in Spain, with errors from David de Gea and Harry Maguire contributing towards their downfall. They’d led the tie 2-0 with just six minutes remaining in the first leg at Old Trafford before two late own goals saw Sevilla take the tie back to Seville level.

The good news for United fans is that they’ve only suffered back-to-back competitive defeats on one occasion this season – their first two games of 2022-23 against Brighton and Brentford in the Premier League.

United have won their last three matches against Premier League opposition without conceding a single goal, defeating Brentford 1-0 and Everton 2-0 at Old Trafford before a 2-0 away win at Nottingham Forest last weekend – all five of their goals in these games coming via a different player: Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial, Antony and Diogo Dalot.

Brighton come into this match in great form, having lost just one of their last nine games. Even that defeat, 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur on 8 April, saw Brighton dominate for large spells and arguably deserve to have won the game. Their 2-1 win at Chelsea last weekend came after falling behind, with Danny Welbeck and Julio Enciso scoring the goals to turn the game around in their favour.

Across 2023, no Premier League club have lost fewer games (two) or had a lower loss ratio (11.8%) than Brighton in all competitions. Manchester United have won the most competitive games of Premier League clubs in 2023 (19 of 28), but they have also played five more games than any other side. However, their win ratio is the second best (67.9%) behind only Man City (73.9%).

Man Utd have reached the semis of the FA Cup after progressing through ties versus Everton (third round), Reading (fourth round), West Ham United (fifth round) and Fulham (quarter-final). All four of these games have ended 3-1 and have been played at Old Trafford.

Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton side are in the semi-finals after knocking out Middlesbrough (third round), Liverpool (fourth round), Stoke City (fifth round) and Grimsby Town (quarter-final).

With that win over Liverpool in the fourth round at the Falmer Stadium, they have eliminated just one fellow EPL side in the FA Cup this season. In FA Cup history, there have been just four occasions of a team eliminating both Liverpool and Man Utd in a single campaign, with three of these coming within the last 15 years (Wolves 1948-49, Everton 2008-09, Wolves 2018-19, Chelsea 2019-20).

Key Players

Brighton: Kaoru Mitoma

Japanese international Kaoru Mitoma has been a revelation at Brighton in 2022-23. He signed from Japanese J1 League side Kawasaki Frontale in August 2021, but spent last season on loan at Belgian side Union Saint-Gilloise.

After slowly being introduced to the Brighton side in the first half of the 2022-23 campaign, his form exploded after the 2022 World Cup break.

Since Brighton & Hove Albion returned to action post-World Cup, Mitoma is their joint top scorer with eight goals, while only Solly March (14) has been involved in more goals than he has (13). He’s beaten opponents with 40 dribbles, which is more than any other Brighton player over this period – a key attribute of the Japanese forward, with his ability to ghost past players with the ball at his feet.

Mitoma has either scored (two) or assisted (two) a goal in all four of his FA Cup games for Brighton. The last player to be involved in a goal in each round of the competition from the third round to the semi-final was Romelu Lukaku in 2017-18.

Mitoma Brighton Stats

Manchester United: Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford’s having the best season of his career. His 28 goals are a seasonal best during his career at Man Utd, while only Erling Haaland (48) has more goals across all competitions at a Premier League club than him in 2022-23. He’s also assisted eight times in all competitions for United this season, meaning only Haaland (54) and Mohamed Salah (37) have more goal involvements for a Premier League side.

England international Rashford’s minutes per goal ratio (128) is his best ever in a competitive season, while only in 2015-16 (22.2%) did he convert a higher proportion of shots than he has in 2022-23 so far (20.9%).

He has scored twice at Wembley for Manchester United, doing so against Tottenham in the 2018-19 Premier League and against Newcastle in this season’s League Cup final. He could become the fourth Man Utd player to score at Wembley in three different competitions, after Mark Hughes (FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield), Wayne Rooney (Champions League, League Cup, Community Shield) and Jesse Lingard (FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield).

Marcus Rashford Goals 2022-23 Man United

Brighton vs Manchester United Prediction

Brighton vs Man United Prediction FA Cup

It will come as a surprise to many that the Opta supercomputer is making Brighton favourites to win this semi-final with a higher chance of winning this match in normal time than Manchester United (41.3% vs. 31.6%) before kick-off.

Of course, being an FA Cup game that needs to be decided on the day, this game could easily go to extra time and even a penalty shootout. Our supercomputer predicts a 27.1% chance of the game ending level after 90 minutes at Wembley on Sunday.

Since returning to Wembley in 2008-09, the 30 FA Cup semi-finals played at the new stadium have seen just five go to extra time and only two of those go as far as a penalty shootout – one of these was Everton vs Manchester United in 2009-10, which finished 0-0 and saw Man Utd progress to the final following a 4-2 shootout win.  

The winners of this match will play either Manchester City or Sheffield United in the FA Cup final on 3 June at Wembley Stadium in London.

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