Erik Ten Hag’s reign at Manchester United begin with a Super Sunday clash against Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford.
Man Utd enter this season looking to build on their sixth-placed finish last campaign, whereas Brighton are looking for further progress after they achieved their highest-ever top-flight finish of ninth place.
Embed from Getty Images
Anthony Martial is ruled out for Man Utd after suffering a hamstring injury in their final pre-season friendly, which saw them lose 1-0 to Atletico Madrid in Oslo, Norway.
Luke Shaw, Jadon Sancho (both illness) and Facundo Pellistri (ankle) are doubts but Brandon Williams (unspecified) and Mason Greenwood (personal) are ruled out.
Summer signings, Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia are all set to be in contention for their Utd debuts.
Brighton could be without Alexis Mac Allister after the midfielder suffered a groin injury during pre-season.
Jakub Moder remains absent as he continues to recover from a knee injury but summer signing, Julio Enciso is available for selection.
Loan signing, Levi Colwill will also be available for selection despite having joined on Friday as part of Marc Cucurella’s sale to Chelsea.
- Man Utd have lost just one of their last seven Premier League meetings against Brighton (W6, L1).
- Brighton are winless in five previous Premier League visits to Old Trafford (L5).
- There has never been a draw in 10 previous Premier League meetings between Utd and Brighton (W7, L3).
- Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013, only one of his four permanent managerial successors have lost their opening match (W3, L1) – Louis van Gaal in August 2014 against Swansea.
- Danny Welbeck has scored in each of Brighton’s last two competitive matches.
Having undergone a busy pre-season of transfer activity and adapting to Ten Hag’s fluid attacking style of play, Utd now face a tricky opening test of where they currently stand compared to their rivals because they need to post some early wins ahead of a packed Autumn schedule.
Ten Hag’s biggest task though is probably going to lie in sorting out Utd’s defensive issues because the back four switched off too many times last season with lacklustre lethargic efforts, which is simply unacceptable for any Utd defence and certainly won’t be under their new boss.
Brighton meanwhile enjoyed their best finish last season and have done well to keep hold of key players but Cucurella and Yves Bissouma will be huge misses at left-back and central midfield respectively, yet Brighton can be dangerous on the attack as saw a lot last season.
I am therefore expecting a competitive match with goals here if both teams play their best football but it is hard to see Utd losing this, given that they will have a motivational bounce of being Ten Hag’s first match in charge plus at Old Trafford to boot.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Brighton