Brighton 2-3 Manchester United: Report, Ratings & Review as the Red Devils Somehow Rob Points Off the Seagulls

Neel Shelat
Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United - Premier League
Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United - Premier League / Pool/Getty Images
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Manchester United travelled to the Amex Stadium to face Brighton & Hove Albion for the first fixture of the Premier League's third matchday. The Red Devils were keen to put behind the miseries from the 1-3 defeat they suffered at the hands of Crystal Palace last weekend, but Brighton thrashed Newcastle 3-0 around the same time so they would be no pushovers.

The match was set to be an exciting battle, and here's what we made of it:

Report

Brighton started off well and did not shy away from imposing their style of play on their opponents. They nearly opened the scoring in the 10th minute too, as Leandro Trossard had a look from the edge of the box and hit the wrong side of the post.

About 10 minutes later, the Belgian had another chance from a similar position, and this time he hit the base of the opposite post.

Another 10 minutes later, it was Adam Webster's turn to complete the woodwork hat-trick, as his looping header was kept out by a combination of David de Gea and the crossbar.

Then, in the 38th minute, Brighton were finally rewarded as Bruno Fernandes brought Tariq Lamptey down in the box.

Neal Maupay stepped up and converted the spot-kick with an insanely cheeky Panenka.

But in under three minutes, a wide free-kick at the other end saw Nemanja Matić stab the delivery back across the box, where Lewis Dunk inadvertently turned it in.

Just two minutes into the second half though, Paul Pogba brought Aaron Connolly down in the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. The referee had a look after consultation with VAR, and he decided to change his decision.

The Red Devils went and took the lead in the 52nd minute after a smart passing move. Mason Greenwood delivered a low cross from the left which was tapped in by Marcus Rashford, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

But three minutes later, Rashford marauded down the left flank, cut inside from the left, teased the defenders with a couple of fake shots and finally scored with a deflected effort.

At the hour mark, Brighton came extremely close to equalising after a brilliant team move. Solly March tried to find the far corner with a low effort from outside the box, but it hit the inside of the post and went back out.

Then, in the 76th minute, Leandro Trossard completed his woodwork hat-trick by blasting a shot from the left of the box onto the frame of the goal

Then, in the 93rd minute, the ball broke for Trossard in the six yard box after a mighty scrap in the penalty area, but his scuffed effort was saved by David de Gea.

Then, in the fifth minute of the added time, a wicked ball across the box missed everyone except Solly March, who headed home in the most unconvincing of ways.

In the very last minute of the match, Harry Maguire headed a corner towards goal, but it struck the arm of Neal Maupay before getting cleared off the line. The referee blew the full-time whistle, but then had a look after VAR consultation and awarded a penalty. Bruno Fernandes stepped up and emphatically converted to save his side and earn three points for United.

BRIGHTON

Key Talking Point:

Where is the Luck?

When you're a 'weaker' team facing one of the big six, you would pray for a dash of luck.

Brighton clearly got their prayers all wrong, because they hit the post not once, not twice, but five times! To add to that, they conceded a rather unfortunate own goal, had a penalty decision (correctly) overturned by VAR and conceded from the spot with the last kick of the game.

The football they played was very bright, as they looked assured on the ball, passed it around quickly and efficiently and pressed high up the pitch. Unfortunately for them, all three of United's two shots ended up in the back of the net.

Yet again, a spirited performance from the Seagulls, but not justly rewarded.

Player Ratings:

Mathew Ryan (4.5), Ben White (5.5), Lewis Dunk (5.5), Adam Webster (6), Tariq Lamptey (7), Adam Lallana (6), Steven Alzate (7.5), Solomon March (8*), Leandro Trossard (7), Aaron Connolly (5.5), Neal Maupay (7)

Subs: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (5.5), Pascal Groß (5.5)

Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay was in form heading into this match, as he had bagged a brace just a week ago against Newcastle.

The first half was quite good for him, as he popped up all over the pitch and converted a penalty with a stylish Panenka. For 96 minutes, he had a great match, but then an inexplicable rush of blood saw him charge towards Maguire with his hand, and that was what lost the points for his side.

The Frenchman finished the match with 2/4 shots on target, 3 key passes, as many dribbles and 2 free-kicks won.

A real mixed day for the 24-year-old.

UNITED

Key Talking Point:

Will the Real Manchester United Please Stand Up?

After last weekend's disappointing display against Crystal Palace, Ole Gunnar Solskjær said "We’ve not had enough preparation time to be sharper."

Before this clash, he claimed that he had addressed those issues, so that was clearly not the problem. United only kept 46% of the ball, and they were chasing the game for most of the 90 minutes. In the end, some clinical finishing and serious help from the woodwork saved them.

However, the result should not hide the fact that this was another poor performance. The Red Devils finished the last season very strongly and crept into the last of the podium places, but that team looks a far cry from the one that is playing in 2020/21.

The fact that Solskjær replaced a winger and striker with a centre-back and midfielder in the last 10 minutes really sums up the state of the match.

Player Ratings:

David de Gea (5.5), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6.5), Victor Lindelöf (4.5), Harry Maguire (5.5), Luke Shaw (5.5), Paul Pogba (5.5), Nemanja Matić (6.5), Mason Greenwood (6), Bruno Fernandes (7*), Marcus Rashford (6), Anthony Martial (5.5)

Subs: Fred (5), Eric Bailly (N/A), Donny van de Beek (N/A)

Marcus Rashford

On Friday, this is what Marcus Rashford had to say after taking to Twitter about his free school meals campaign:

He clearly stuck to his football on the pitch here, as he bagged the winner for his side with a wonderful solo effort. However, it was a mixed day for him, because two of Manchester United's goals were ruled out because he was caught offside.

The Englishman finished the match with 1 key pass, 1/2 shots on target and 2 free-kicks won.

A mixed night, but it ended well.

What This Means

United go up to 13th in the table, while Brighton stay in the last spot in the top half of the table. Bruno Fernandes' goal at 99:45 became the latest scored in the Premier League since 2011, while Leandro Trossard became the first player to hit the woodwork three times in a Premier League match since 2006.

These two sides will face each other in their next match which will also take place at the Amex Stadium, this time on the pretext of the EFL Cup's fourth round.

Stats courtesy whoscored.com and Opta

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