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Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of Manchester United's Premier League trip to Brighton & Hove Albion.
By , Senior Reporter | 10mo

Manchester United will aim to make it two Premier League wins from two when they travel south to face Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Devils kicked off their campaign with a slender 2-1 victory over Leicester City, while this weekend's opponents were soundly beaten by Watford in their opener.

Brighton & Hove Albion

There were very few positives for Chris Hughton to take away from the 2-0 loss at Vicarage Road, having seen his side fall to a couple of Roberto Pereyra strikes without offering anything in the attacking third.

Brighton failed to register a single shot on target in their opener, as their winless away run stretched to a 14th match since overcoming Swansea City in South Wales last November.

The Seagulls' home form was enough to keep them up in their maiden Premier League campaign, collecting a more-than-credible 29 points from their 19 fixtures at the Amex Stadium - a record that only Everton can better outside of the top-six elite.

The highlight of last season was the 1-0 win over Man United in early May, with that victory taking Albion up to 40 points for the campaign and guaranteeing their place in the top flight for another year.

That was their only victory in 10 matches, however, and things do not get any easier for Hughton as he prepares his side for games against United and Liverpool over the next week.

It took Brighton four attempts to get off the mark in 2017-18 and, judging by Hughton's comments post-Watford, it may take them a while to get going this time around, too.

Worryingly for the 59-year-old, only one of his numerous summer signings started the loss in Hertfordshire, so unfamiliarity could not be used as an excuse.

Yves Bissouma performed well from the bench, though, while club-record signing Alireza Jahanbakhsh was also given some minutes in the second half. Both men could join Bruno from the off on Sunday, and Hughton will be desperate to see the new recruits give his side a much-needed lift.

Recent form in Premier League: L
Recent form (including pre-season): DLDDWL

Manchester United

The season may only be one game old, but the importance of last week's home win against Leicester cannot be overstated. Coming off the back of a turbulent pre-season campaign both on and off the field, Jose Mourinho was clearly relieved when Luke Shaw temporarily put his side two goals in front.

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy may have given Mourinho a little scare with his late consolation, but in the end the Red Devils saw things through at Old Trafford to make it four opening-day wins in succession.

This weekend presents United with a chance to make it two wins from two at the start of a campaign for the fourth year in a row, so fast starts are certainly nothing new - especially not for Mourinho, who has had to spend this week batting away questions regarding Paul Pogba.

All is clearly not well behind the scenes if certain media outlets are to be believed, yet the Portuguese has insisted that he has no problems with Pogba - captain for the day against the Foxes - and claims that press reports of a big bust-up were wide of the mark.

Mourinho's relationship with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is on shaky ground, meanwhile, having dropped numerous thinly-veiled comments regarding his unhappiness at the club's failure to land one of his centre-back targets during the summer window.

The bottom line, though, is that United's squad looks stronger through the addition of Fred in central midfield, giving Mourinho a slightly different option in a key area, and last term's points haul of 81 would been enough to win the title in many previous seasons.

A favourable run of fixtures to start 2018-19 is also an advantage, with Tottenham Hotspur the only member of the top six United face before the end of October, so Mourinho will be hoping to keep pace with champions Man City as autumn turns into winter.

The Red Devils have failed to score in back-to-back away games, though, and a failure to net at the Amex this weekend - as was the case in May's fixture - will only strengthen suggestions that Mourinho will not make it past a third season at the club.

Recent form in Premier League: W
Recent form (including pre-season): DDLWLW

Team News

Mourinho has confirmed that Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Antonio Valencia are unlikely to be risked against Brighton, despite returning to training over the past week.

There is also still a question mark over the fitness of Romelu Lukaku, who was given a 23-minute runout from the bench last weekend following his exploits with Belgium at the World Cup.

Diogo Dalot, Ander Herrera and Sergio Romero are the visitors' other absentees, leaving Mourinho relying on a smaller group of players than he would have liked.

One player who is almost certain to start is Alexis Sanchez, but the Chilean forward has failed to net in an away league match since helping Arsenal to victory against Crystal Palace last December.

In terms of the home side, Glenn Murray is expected to retain his place in the forward line for his 200th league appearance in Brighton colours.

Bissouma and Jahanbakhsh may be promoted following their cameos from the bench last time out, meanwhile, though Pascal Gross should keep his spot in the starting lineup as he has played a direct part in six of Albion's last seven goals at this ground.

Experienced club captain Bruno limped off against Watford to join Florin Andone and Jose Izquierdo in the treatment room.

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bernardo; Jahanbakhsh, Stephens, Bissouma, March; Gross; Murray

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Young, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, Pereira, Pogba; Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez

Head To Head

Brighton have won their last two home league matches against United as they prevailed 1-0 in May's fixture, nearly 36 years on from a victory by the same scoreline at the bGround.

Gross netted the only goal of the game three months ago to give Albion the victory they needed to secure their place in the top flight.

United's last win away to Brighton was in April 1982 through a goal from the late Ray Wilkins, who would also play a big part in the Red Devils' FA Cup final victory over the same opposition a year later.

We say: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Manchester United

Brighton lost just four home matches last season, but their overall record since mid-March makes for bad reading. The Seagulls looked out of sorts against Watford and need to integrate their new players into the side, whereas United were a little more settled in their win against Leicester to take some momentum into this south coast trip.

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