A new dawn is set to begin at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon when Manchester United will lock horns with Brighton & Hove Albion. They had an impressive pre-season under Erik ten Hag, and the newly-appointed United chief is aiming for a swift transition in terms of style of play as well as results.
The Seagulls, on the other hand, secured their highest ever top flight finish (9th) last season under Graham Potter. They humiliated the Red Devils at Falmer with a 4-0 triumph back in May and their free-flowing football might frustrate the hosts yet again.
Predicted 4-2-3-1 Manchester United Lineup To Face Brighton & Hove Albion
The lack of first-team minutes between the sticks resulted in Dean Henderson’s loan exit to Nottingham Forest. David de Gea remains the undisputed ‘number 1’ and the veteran Spaniard must deliver a masterclass to substantiate his reputation.
Man United have strengthened themselves in the heart of the backline by roping in Lisandro Martinez from Ajax. But the highly-rated Argentine might not get an immediate starting status ahead of Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire. Diogo Dalot is expected to occupy the right-back role amid the uncertainty over Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s future. However, the experienced Luke Shaw must be feeling the heat down the left-hand side following the summer arrival of Tyrell Malacia.
Manchester United are in the hunt for a holding midfielder. But they are likely to rely on Scott McTominay and Fred as the double pivot until they rope in a new name deep down the midfield. James Garner might grab a place among the substitutes after successive Championship loans.
The Red Devils have a few fitness concerns, including Jadon Sancho, who is doubtful due to illness. But the Englishman should recover in time to feature from the right-hand flank. Bruno Fernandes must dictate the game with his playmaking ability and creative spark, particularly after an underwhelming 2021-22 season as a midfield attacker. Christian Eriksen could be introduced at a later stage, whereas young academy prodigy Anthony Elanga is the most suitable option down the left in the wake of Anthony Martial’s hamstring injury.
While the Frenchman is ruled out for the upcoming tie, rejuvenated Marcus Rashford might spearhead their attack as the outright ‘number 9’. Wantaway Cristiano Ronaldo is back in training, but he should not be risked in the starting XI with little preparation.