Brighton v Manchester United Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
April 30, 2018
The Amex Stadium - Premier League
Manchester United look to consolidate a second place finish as they travel to Brighton for Friday night's Premier League action. The Seagulls haven't won in seven games, but have the ninth best home record in the league, and will be keen to take yet another point at the Amex.
Brighton and United have already clashed twice this season, with the Reds coming out on top on both occasions. The most recent, an FA Cup fixture, saw a comfortable victory for Jose Mourinho's side with Romelu Lukaku opening the scoring in the first half, before Nemanja Matic secured the victory within the last ten minutes.
Chris Hughton's side is in good shape at the moment, with no recent injuries to contend with. Steve Sidwell remains the only player sidelined, with Glenn Murray likely to return to the starting XI, having been rested against Burnley at the weekend.
Lukaku's injury in the victory against Arsenal leaves the centre-forward in doubt for Friday's fixture. The extent of the problem is not yet known, but Mourinho will want to protect the club's top scorer with the FA Cup final on the horizon. With Phil Jones and Eric Bailly unfit for last Sunday's match, the coach is likely to field Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof as his centre-back partnership.
Brighton v Manchester United Preview and Predictions
Having all but guaranteed their status in next season's Premier League with a fine start to 2018, Brighton's form dropped off mid-way through March. Whether due to fatigue, or to having effectively achieved their objective, Hughton's side have failed to beat the likes of Crystal Palace and Huddersfield in recent weeks.
Their opponents, Manchester United, have had quite the opposite month, with their only defeat coming as a shock against West Brom, following an emotionally sapping victory over Manchester City. Having beaten North London's two representatives in their last two games, Mourinho's side will be full of confidence, and, in theory, should blow Brighton aside.
However, the Reds were lucky to beat Arsenal on Sunday, putting in an underwhelming and almost disinterested performance. Lukaku's injury will be another blow to the side, as without the Belgian's physicality up-front, they lack the reference point that their attacking play revolves around. His likely replacement, Marcus Rashford, offers a very different kind of threat, and hasn't scored in ten games in all competitions.
Given the standard of his opposition, Hughton is likely to set his team up defensively, an aspect of Brighton's play that has really improved this season. Against Tottenham, the Seagulls saw just 35% possession, and yet managed to come-back from a goal down. With pacy wingers, and a central midfield trio, Hughton's side are able to put ten men behind the ball, with Murray strong enough to occupy the opponent's defence on his own.
If Lukaku does indeed miss-out, the deep lying defence will negate the speed of the likes of Rashford and Anthony Martial, meaning that the likes of Paul Pogba and Jese Lingard will be key on Friday.
Marouane Fellaini to score anytime at 9/5
The big Belgian scored the winner against Arsenal and may be used to replace Lukaku's physical threat.
United to win and under 3.5 goals scored at 6/5
Mourinho's side may not be at their attacking best at the moment but should be able to beat Brighton.