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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 17 November, 2018


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Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

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Kick off is at 3.00pm.

Let’s get started with some team news…

So today’s teams are:

Man United: De Gea, Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young, Pogba, Matic, Rashford, Mata, Martial, Lukaku.

Subs: Romero, Rojo, Ander Herrera, Fellaini, McTominay, Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic

Brighton: Ryan, Saltor, Duffy, Dunk, Bong, Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, March, Gross, Murray.

Subs: Krul, Kayal, Hemed, Goldson, Izquierdo, Schelotto, Brown.

Manchester United will certainly want to put their surprise mid-week defeat to Basel behind them by assuming a decent run of Premier League form which sees them remain the closest title challengers to almost run-away table toppers Man City.

Indeed while United have suffered defeats in the Uefa Super Cup and Champions League this season, they remain unbeaten in the Premier League at Old Trafford and will certainly want to continue that record this afternoon.

Where it seems on the outset that rivals City appear to be going from strength to unstoppable strength like a stylish, free-scoring runaway freight train, Mourinho will by no means concede this title chase without a fight. It’s only November after all.

He faces a Brighton side sitting comfortably in ninth following their 2-2 draw with Stoke on Monday night. They are five games unbeaten in the Premier League, with their last defeat coming at the hands of Arsenal — seven weeks ago.


Very early chance for United as Romelu Lukaku links up well with Anthony Martial on the edge of the box. Space opened up for the Belgian, however he fluffed his lines and scuffed a poor effort well wide of the post.


Now, then. Brighton go up the other end and cause all sorts of problems. It’s a brilliant set of one-twos inspired by French forward Anthony Knockaert, but there’s no end product to finish it off.

Brighton enjoyed a decent spell of possession beforehand, passing the ball to and fro with their small but vocal contingent of travelling supporters from the seaside revelling in each pass with an ‘ole’, ‘ole’ and then another ‘ole’.


Pascal Groß sends a sweet delivery into the box from 25 yards, however Nemanja Matić did well to get his head to the ball first. Shane Duffy was lurking and does love a mean header now and then doesn’t he.


Chance! Goodness Brighton have looked excellent so far in this game. It’s an effort hit well by Groß following some good work by Dunk to beat Ashley Young and cut the ball back.

David De Gea maintains his composure and hangs onto the powerful low drive well. Had he spilled it it surely would have been tapped home by a litany of bodies clad in yellow, however United march on with their cleans sheet in-tact.


The break was on there for March, however he had very little support inside the box as he tried to pick out a cross.

Juan Mata worked tremendously hard to keep pace and did in fact manage to nick the ball back brilliantly just inside the penalty area. Some great tracking back from the Spaniard there.


Some sloppy play from Marcus Rashford there as a promising break through the middle falters. Mourinho’s side are finding it difficult to break down a solidified Brighton midfield which has performed well to deny opportunities coming Romelu Lukaku’s way inside the opening 25 minutes.


The rain is continuing to pour down relentlessly at Old Trafford as play begins to slow up just a little bit more. The pitch will be that bit heavier, however Brighton have retained their defensive solidity so far as United begin to increase pressure.


Dale Stephens competes for the ball with a fit-again Paul Pogba.

Manchester United v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League - Old Trafford Source: Martin Rickett


Chance! They have been few and far between in this game so far — the ball in from Antonio Valencia was dangerous, however Lukaku just couldn’t get his jump timed correctly enough to steer an effort on goal, as the ball peters wide at the far post.


Oooof another effort! It was yet anther looping cross delivered right into the danger zone, however it was United caught napping this time.

The ball from Groß only needed the slightest of touches to be deflected in, but Glenn Murray just couldn’t get a foot on it. A lucky escape for the hosts.


SAVE! Goodness how did United not take the lead there? It’s a stunning save from Brighton goalkeeper Matthew Ryan.

The ball in causes panics inside the box and, no more than three yards out from goal, Paul Pogba directs a low header right at the shot-stopper who does brilliantly to keep it out from point blank range.


There will be just one minute of additional time to come at the end of the first half.


Early chance right from the off for Brighton as a low ball driven across the goalmouth couldn’t be prodded home by Murray. This game has been all about crosses but has featured a lack of touches on the end of them.

United looked stretched there following some individual skill from Pascal Groß featuring a swift twist and turn, but his delivery simply swept across goal untouched. A strong start from the visitors in this second half.


There are calls for a penalty from the home supporters as Marcus Rashford went down inside the area following a brilliant individual run. He battled for possession alongside Gaëtan Bong but referee Neil Swarbrick waves play on.


Ashley Young goes on a mazy run just outside the edge of the box. He offers an attempt on goal via his weaker left foot, but it curls well wide of the target.


Mourinho’s side looked a bit sheepish and bereft of ideas inside the opening half but have rediscovered a sense of urgency and bite after the interval.

Brighton have proved hard to break down, but are still willing to invite United on. There just seems to be a lack of a final product from the hosts at the minute.

Were the score to remain the same at Old Trafford come the final whistle and Manchester City to defeat Huddersfield tomorrow, then United would be 10 points behind their rivals at the top of the table.


Knockaert initially left the pitch just now for Brighton with a worrisome-looking injury following a 50/50 challenge with Lindelof., but has now returned to play and seems to be getting on with the task at hand with half an hour to go.


Ibrahimovic will have half an hour to try and make an impact here as he partners Romelu Lukaku up front. Can they operate successfully together up top? We shall soon find out.


Well, there was an element of controversy about that but Ashley Young won’t care one bit. His deflected shot off Dunk flew emphatically over the head of goalkeeper Ryan to finally break the deadlock and Brighton are behind.


Substitution for Brighton: Tomer Hemed replaces Glenn Murray.


Substitution for Brighton: Jose Izquierdo replaces Solly March.


Brighton breaking forward on the counter at every given opportunity and are still very much looking to take at least a point out of this game with just under 15 minutes to go. United have not lost at home this season and, in fact, have conceded just once.

A tense final 10 minutes to come…


Substitution for Man United: Marouane Fellaini replaces Marcus Rashford.


Ooof! Chris Smalling almost doubles his sides lead. United certainly could do with a cushion at this stage as Brighton continue to try and draw the sides level on the break in these dying stages.

The England defender rose highest following a deep corner aimed towards the back post, but his effort dinked just on top of the crossbar and over.


Dunk swings in a dangerous free-kick from 40 yards — Shane Duffy attacked it first and foremost but the cross was just too far ahead of the Ireland defender. It’s still very much backs-against-the-walls at times for Mourinho’s side with five minutes to go at Old Trafford.


Almost, almost, almost a second for United. They break straight away via Henrikh Mkhitaryan but he just can’t manage to feed the ball through to an unmarked Zlatan Ibrahimovic to his left.


Substitution for Brighton: Isaiah Brown replaces Pascal Groß.


There will be five minutes of additional time to come.


United sitting back trying to see this one out as Brighton continue to lob balls into the final third with three minutes remaining. Is there another goal left to decide this game from either side…?

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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