Everything that you need to know ahead of Saturday’s match:© Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images
(1) Manchester United bounced back from last weekend’s disaster against Crystal Palace with a 3-0 win at Luton Town on Tuesday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made ten changes — only captain Harry Maguire kept his place — and also used the occasion to give much-needed minutes to regulars Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Donny van de Beek. The somewhat-forgotten Juan Mata scored from the penalty spot shortly before halftime, but it took late goals from Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood to put the match to bed.
(2) Of everyone, Eric Bailly made the strongest statement for more playing time. The 26-year-old Ivorian has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency over the past few seasons, but remains hugely talented. On Tuesday, Bailly pulled off a goal-line clearance to keep the clean sheet intact and certainly gave Ole something to think about — especially with Victor Lindelöf struggling against Crystal Palace.
Give me one full season of a fit and healthy Eric Bailly.— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) September 22, 2020
(3) With just ten days left in the transfer window, Manchester United continue to spin their wheels. Sure, the club ranks near the top in rumored signings and transfer scuttlebutt — but remain seemingly incapable of getting anything over the line. There’s still time to nail down some marquee signings (Alex Telles and Jadon Sancho spring to mind), but it’s hard to feel too hopeful considering the club’s recent history.
Just so we're clear - in this pandemic stricken window where clubs need to be careful - Manchester United have been outspent by;
Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Leeds, Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham & Wolves.
Every other PL side bar West Ham & Burnley have made more signings.— Michael (@TFWriter) September 24, 2020
(4) On the flip side, Ed Woodward and company aren’t having any better luck raising funds by offloading unwanted players. Just consider what the wage bill and transfer kitty might look like if Sergio Romero, Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones, and Chris Smalling were successfully moved on. If Manchester United really do need to sell first before making any new signings — and that is an insane thought for a club of United’s size and stature — then Woodward’s inability to shift these players takes on even more significance.
(5) Back in June, Manchester United throttled Brighton 3-0 and Graham Potter remembers that day only too well:
I would say they were the best [team we played]. I can’t think of any better. Manchester United were on a really good run, full of confidence off the back of some good results. They played >Sheffield United the week before and Chris Wilder said it was the best team they had played — and we would probably agree at that point. They were a really confident and powerful team, so it was a tough game.
(6) After an opening day defeat to Chelsea, Brighton got into the win column with a 3-0 win at Newcastle last weekend. Neal Maupay scored twice in the first seven minutes and Aaron Connolly put an exclamation point on the rout with a goal near the end. Even more impressively, the Seagulls held Newcastle without a shot on goal.
(7) But Brighton did not escape the Newcastle match completely unscathed. Late on, an ill-advised flick attempt by Yves Bissouma instead resulted in Newcastle’s Jamal Lewis being kicked in the face, for which Bissouma deservedly saw red. The influential midfielder will now miss both Manchester United matches through suspension.
Yves Bissouma's 'challenge' that resulted in a straight red card. pic.twitter.com/gZGIBUSSgT— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) September 20, 2020
(8) Compounding Brighton’s midfield problem, Dale Stephens left the club for Burnley this week. That, along with Bissouma’s recklessness, leaves Graham Potter a bit shorthanded in the middle of the park. 21-year-old Jayson Molumby, who excelled on loan at Millwall last season, might be Potter’s choice to fill in for Bissouma this weekend.
(9) The Brighton player really making waves this season is Tariq Lamptey. The 19-year-old right back, who Brighton signed from Chelsea in January, might not look the part at just 5’5”, but he’s strong in defense and a real handful going forward. This kid’s gonna be a star.
Remember the name. Tariq Lamptey. Serious talent. pic.twitter.com/YoCpP0GfpJ— FootballFunnys (@FootballFunnnys) September 20, 2020
(10) On Wednesday, Brighton defeated Preston North End 2-0 in the Carabao Cup. Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Alexis Mac Allister both scored second-half goals to seal the win at Deepdale. Like Solskjaer, Graham Potter made a ton of changes for the midweek cup tie, leaving both Manchester United and Brighton well-rested for Saturday.
(11) Saturday’s lunchtime kickoff at the Amex Stadium will be the first of two visits for Manchester United in a matter of days, with both sides set to reprise this matchup next week in the Carabao Cup. Graham Potter on the prospect of playing Manchester United twice in a row:
It’s a big week for us with those two matches and then >Everton before the international break. That’s what we wanted because we wanted to go through in this competition. Players always want to play and the best thing for them is to be out on the field on nights like tonight to keep everyone in the group ready for when they’re needed. You saw that [against Preston] — there was a willingness to run and fight for the team and get the result and that’s why I’m very happy.