Manchester United vs Brighton Match Analysis

When the referee blew the final whistle at the Wembley Stadium on 13th January 2019, Ole Solskjaer became the second manager in Manchester United's rich history to win his first five league matches. But when the referee blew the final whistle at Old Trafford on 19th January 2019, Solskjaer had already created history. With a 2-1 win over Brighton, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became the first ever manager in the history of United to win his first 6 league games.

United did start this game as they had started other games under Solskjaer, on the front foot and attacking the opposition. The likes of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young, and Diogo Dalot were superb when they tried to find different ways to unlock the tight Brighton defence. They came close several times but the two giants, Shane Duffy, and Lewis Dunk got in their way.

The moment finally arrived on the 25th minute when Paul Pogba was wrongfully bundled over into the penalty area by Gaetan Bong. The World Cup winner then, from his traditional slow run-up, scored from the spot to give United a 1-0 lead. Marcus Rashford, who has been in some unreal form in recent months, made it 2-0 when he superbly found the top corner of Brighton's net from a tight angle. The 21-year old's confidence in front of the goal is sky high at the moment and it seems like Solskjaer's finishing training with him is working wonders.

United started the second half with a high intensity but it faded away as the half progressed. The Red Devils should have put Brighton out of their misery and secured all three points but the misses from the likes of Martial, Pogba, and Lingard kept the Seagulls alive in the game. Brighton had threatened United sporadically with the long balls and set pieces but United's usual nemesis, Pascal Gross, yet again found a way to beat David De Gea. 

With 20 minutes left to play, the tide of the entire match completely changed. Suddenly, it felt like United were a team that were holding on to a slender lead and the long balls started to get bombarded towards De Gea's goal. But at the end, United did see off Brighton safely and secured all 3 points. 

Despite the victory, United still remain 6th in the table because of Arsenal's shock win over Chelsea later in the day. But the Gunners are ahead of us only on goal difference. Manchester City and Liverpool are in a league of their own at the top of the table but the difference between Spurs at 3rd, who play Fulham on Sunday, and Manchester United is down to just 4 points. If results go United's way and we continue our top form, we can very well finish in top 3, let alone top 4. But for now, the focus shifts from the league to the FA Cup where United will face Emery's Arsenal on Friday for a place in the 5th round of the Cup.


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