UK Man United might have to rely on two different players vs Brighton last minute news
MetiNews.Com - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won the tactical battle with Graham Potter last time these two teams met but Brighton have made tactical adjustments since November.
Breaking News ! After their success in the FA Cup on Saturday, Manchester United's attention switches back to the Premier League as they take on Brighton and Hove Albion in an important match in the race for a Champions League spot. As things stand United sit in sixth position, three points behind Wolves and five behind Chelsea, although they do have a game in hand over their Midland rivals. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will know that his side will be in for a tough evening on the South Coast, with Brighton yet to taste defeat since the season resumed. These two sides met earlier in the season at Old Trafford with United running out 3-1 winners with goals from Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford proving decisive. Yet, it was a strong collective performance from the United side that Solskjaer will be hoping his side can repeat in Tuesday evening's match-up. It's unclear at this stage how Brighton manager Graham Potter will set his side up given how fluid he can be with his formations. However, when the two teams last met, Potter set Brighton up in a flat 4-4-2 system, with a high emphasis on his side pressing United and attempting to force possession turnovers high up the pitch. Solskjaer lined up in his favoured 4-2-3-1 and enjoyed success in Brighton's high-pressing tactic against them, with the home team often happy to invite the press before either playing through the lines or firing long balls over the top for United's speedy forward players to run on to. Read More Related Articles Why Manchester United have not dropped Luke Shaw during unbeaten run Read More Related Articles Manchester United fans react to news Angel Gomes is set to leave We see a good example of United exposing Brighton in this way in the below series of images taken from United's win at Old Trafford earlier in the season. Here, several Brighton midfielders and forwards have pushed on to try and cut out passing angles for United's defenders and midfielders in possession. Yet, Fred is able to take possession of the ball from Maguire and play a clever through ball to Pereira ahead of him. Despite the press from Brighton, Fred still managed to feed the ball through to United's forwards Pereira and Martial link quickly on the halfway line before turning and driving at the Brighton defence. With so many of Brighton’s midfielders pushing on, United’s forwards find themselves in a favourable 3v3 attacking situation. This quick passage of play eventually leads to the game's opening goal. United now find themselves in a favourable 3v3 attack The ease with which United were playing through Brighton meant that Potter was forced to make a tactical switch at half-time, changing to a 3-4-1-2 formation. This was a tactic that saw Brighton become a bit more competitive in the opening 15 - 20 minutes of the second half, a section of the game in which they managed to pull a goal back. However, United were again able to find ways in which to exploit the setup, specifically attacking down the left.
. As we see, Rashford (LAM) would often drift into more central areas behind the wing-back, whilst Martial (FW) would occupy the space between Brighton’s right centre-back and central centre-back.
United's average positions vs Brighton in the second half
This would create moments like the below image shows, where Brighton’s right central defender was unsure whether to try and cut out the passing option to Rashford on his right shoulder or Martial on his left. This double jeopardy attack by United would often create uncertainty and delay in the defender’s decision making. From this passage, United scored their third goal as Martial set up Rashford who fired in off the underside of the bar.
Fred can pass to either Rashford or Martial with the Brighton defender unsure who to mark
In more recent matches against top teams, Brighton have sat deeper, pressing less and going more narrow as a defence, limiting space for attackers and forcing teams out wide. This is highlighted by their Passes Per Defensive Action (PDDA) average of 19.79 from their most recent match vs Leicester City. PPDA is effectively a tool to measure how aggressively a team presses: the fewer number of passes allowed, then the more aggressive the press is. That average against Leicester is significantly higher than their average of 6.47 vs United at Old Trafford in November.
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This recent pattern of sitting vs top sides could be a concern to United given how they notoriously struggled against deeper-lying teams earlier on in the season. However, the arrival of Bruno Fernandes plus the availability of Paul Pogba makes Solskjaer’s side much more equipped to break stubborn teams down. Both are technically gifted, creative players who are great at finding small pockets of space in between the lines, dribbling around defenders and feeding precise passes through to attackers in the penalty area. Therefore, whilst it was the likes of Martial and Rashford whose pace and speed were so crucial to victory against the South Coast side back in November, we can likely expect a different game this time around with more of a reliance on United’s technically gifted midfield players such as Pogba and Fernandes to pull the strings within in the advanced areas of the pitch, and unlock what is sure to be a resilient and sturdy Brighton backline.