Brighton have the chance to make it four league wins in a row against Manchester United. Can they do it? We look ahead to Saturday’s Premier League game with our Manchester United vs Brighton prediction and preview.
Manchester United vs Brighton: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer favours Manchester United to make the most of home advantage, giving them a 46.4% chance of victory against Brighton.
- Brighton & Hove Albion have won their last three Premier League games against Man Utd. Only Liverpool and Manchester City have ever won four in a row against United in the history of the competition.
- Brighton have the best win percentage against Man Utd of any team in Premier League history (42%).
Manchester United will be delighted to be back in the familiar surroundings of Old Trafford after suffering two defeats out of two games on the road this season. They have won their opening two matches in the Premier League on home soil, albeit in unconvincing style.
A 1-0 win over Wolves, when they were mostly on the back foot and survived a late penalty appeal against André Onana, was followed by a 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest after being two goals down in the opening four minutes. This means they have maximum points, but also room for improvement at the Theatre of Dreams.
Erik ten Hag’s side earned more points than any other team bar Manchester City on home soil last season, but one blip on that record was a 2-1 defeat against this coming Matchday’s opponents Brighton in a sobering Premier League debut as coach for the Dutchman. And United will definitely be aware of Roberto de Zerbi’s side’s attacking threat; Albion were the joint-top scorers on the road last season with 35 goals and are this season’s top scorers overall after the opening month of the season with 12 strikes.
The Italian has imbued the team with an attractive, fluid attacking style and their ability on the ball has been key to this. Brighton rank second for average possession (63%) and first for shots (614) in the Premier League since the former Shakhtar Donetsk coach took charge.
Manchester United face another of last season’s top six after already suffering defeat at the hands of Arsenal last time out, knowing that they struggled in these encounters last season. No team took fewer points than Ten Hag’s side (10) in the head-to-head meetings of the top six, while only Man City took more points from these games than Brighton (15). Their free-flowing, counter-attacking style seems ideally suited to the bigger occasions.
United will be hoping Rasmus Højlund can add some much-needed firepower up front. In the last 11 Premier League matches, excluding penalties, the team’s top scorer is Casemiro with three goals. Højlund looked a real handful for defenders in his cameo against Arsenal and Ten Hag will be hoping the young striker can make an impact in the starting lineup sooner rather than later; at the very least, United will be able to call upon Victor Lindelof and Lisandro Martínez at the back after their respective injury troubles.
Brighton have their own prodigious young talent in Evan Ferguson. Among players with five or more non-penalty Premier League goals since the start of last season, only Erling Haaland (92) and Roberto Firmino (110) have a better minutes per non-penalty goal rate than Brighton’s 18-year-old striker (116). Indeed, the only players to score more goals overall in the competition while aged 18 or under than the Irishman’s 10 are Michael Owen (28), Wayne Rooney (15) and Francis Jeffers (12).
But perhaps the most likely scorer for the south-coast side is Pascal Groß. The versatile German has scored six goals in the Premier League against Man Utd and only eight players have netted more against the Red Devils in the history of the competition; it’s also worth noting Ferguson and Danny Welbeck are both injury doubts, though Ansu Fati could be in line for a debut.
With Brighton on a run of 20 consecutive games of scoring but without a clean sheet in their last eight outings, and United managing only one shutout in their last six Premier League games, this should be a goal-filled encounter to savour.
Manchester United vs Brighton Head-to-Head
There has never been a draw in this fixture, with United winning seven and Brighton five of their 12 Premier League encounters, but Albion have won the last three in a row. The two sides also met in the FA Cup last season, and although Man Utd won that game on a penalty shootout after a goalless draw, it means United haven’t seen one of their players score in the last four meetings with Brighton in all competitions. United’s only goal in those four clashes was an Alexis Mac Allister own goal in the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford last season.
Groß has scored six goals in the Premier League against United – more than he has netted against any other opponent.
United lost this exact fixture 2-1 on the opening weekend last season, having won eight and drawn one of their nine previous home league games against Brighton.
Excluding own goals, Bruno Fernandes has either scored (four) or assisted (two) six of Manchester United’s last eight Premier League goals against Brighton (75%).
Manchester United kept more clean sheets than any other team in the Premier League last season but have registered just one shutout in their last six matches.
Defeat to Brighton would see them suffer as many as three defeats in their first five matches of a league campaign for the first time since 1989-90 under Alex Ferguson.
De Zerbi’s men have scored at least once in each of their last 15 away league matches, with the club record for this standing at 16 games, achieved in League One from August 2009 to February 2010.
Nevertheless, Man Utd have won each of their last eight Premier League games at Old Trafford, most recently enjoying a longer home winning run in the competition in March 2013 (12) en route to winning their last league title under Ferguson.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Manchester United vs Brighton Prediction
The Opta supercomputer favours Man Utd to make the most of home advantage, giving Ten Hag’s team a 46.4% chance of victory against Brighton. That’s actually the second-highest home win percentage of any team in the Premier League this weekend (behind Tottenham at home to Sheffield United), but United’s home form is really strong. They lost just once on home soil last season – albeit against Brighton – and that came in a game very early on in Ten Hag’s tenure.
Brighton have a 25.7% probability of registering their fourth successive victory over United, while the draw stands at 27.9%.
In our overall Premier League predictions, Manchester United’s top-four chances have dropped quite a bit since the start of the season, when they were judged to have a 63.2% likelihood. It’s since dropped to just 28.4%; they cannot afford to slip further back in their quest for Champions League football.
Our supercomputer now predicts them to finish fifth, while it thinks Brighton’s most likely finishing position is one spot behind in sixth.