12 mins: Bruno Fernandes hits the post! Maguireâs long ball from left to right starts the move, Pogbaâs pass infield finds the Portuguese, and his early, low shot from just outside the area thumps the near post.
11 mins: A few seconds later Mac Allister tries it again, and this time Connolly is on the move, but he uses an arm to control and thatâs the end of that.
11 mins: Mac Allister picks the ball up in midfield and plays it through for Connolly, who hadnât got the memo and was entirely flat-footed.
8 mins: United are hogging the ball, but not doing so much attacking. Bruno Fernandes nearly unlocked the home defence a couple of minutes back, but his Ryan ran out to booter his through-ball into touch as Rashford raced towards it.
5 mins: A breather for Brighton, as Maguire chests a long pass towards Lindelof, and Connolly nips in and goes down, winning a bonus cheap free kick.
3 mins: United have already put together two decent attacks down the left, but on both occasions the attack was snuffled out after they got into the box.
2 mins: Kick-off is preceded by a noisy countdown, on the stadiumâs big screens and loud speakers. 10 … 9 … 8 … 7 … it goes. 6 … 5 … 4 … 3 … it continues. 2 … 1, it concludes. And then, 10 further seconds of awkward silence while the referee completes his last-minute whatevers, noisy countdown completely ignored. The players take the knee for a few seconds after kick-off.
The players are making their way into the tunnel, with kick-off just a few minutes away.
âWhile Iâm cheered that the fans are practising some social distancing by sitting one seat apart, Iâm appalled theyâre not wearing masks,â complains Eric Schwab of Brightonâs Thank You NHS Stand (photo below). âThis seems like a very narrow, two-dimensional approach.â
I think weâve had a positive couple of games, but we have to start again. We play against a really good side, a side in good form, so all that weâve done is gone and we have to start again tonight and do our best. Itâs a chance to win three points, thatâs how we look at it. Theyâre a good team, and theyâre fighting for the Champions League, but tiâs a chance to win three points and thatâs what we have to focus on. Iâve reminded them that theyâre good players, they need to work hard to get a result. Historyâs fine but it doesnât count for anything tonight. We need a bit of luck against this quality of opposition, but we need to make sure we do our best.
He says the decision to play Aaron Connolly instead of Neal Maupay is âpurely tacticalâ, because he hopes the Irishmanâs pace could come in handy. âI think Neal can help us off the bench. Weâve got a big squad, everybodyâs ready to help and weâll need that going forward.â
This is the same team as played less than a week ago against Sheffield United and played really well, so hopefully we can see that again. Everything has to be right. Weâve been here the last two years, we havenât got any points. We know itâs going to be hard, we know we have to focus on one game at a time.
Brighton make three changes to the team that drew 0-0 at Leicester last Tuesday, bringing in Shane Duffy, Davy Propper and Martin Montoya. Manchester United make either no changes or eight of them, depending on whether you count the FA Cup game against Norwich or the last league game, against Sheffield United last Wednesday.
Brighton: Ryan, Duffy, Dunk, Burn, Lamptey, Propper, Stephens, Bissouma, Montoya, Mac Allister, Connolly. Subs: Maupay, Trossard, Gross, Murray, Mooy, March, Schelotto, Button, Bernardo.Man Utd: De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, Matic, Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Martial. Subs: Bailly, Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, James, Romero, Ighalo, McTominay, Williams.Referee: Andre Marriner.
ð¨ The team news is in!Hereâs how we take to the field to face @ManUtd tonight!ð² @SnickersUKCom ð²#BHAFC ðµâªï¸ pic.twitter.com/NNx6oASVeL
Before the restart I thought Brighton, winless in 2020 and with a pretty nasty fixture list, might end up in a hideous battle against relegation. Two games, two decent performances and four points later and given the miserable form of Bournemouth, West Ham, Aston Villa and Watford below them I make them a win away from safety. They are more likely to get that victory at Norwich on Saturday than against Manchester United tonight, with the visitors another side that has had a decent restart and motivated by the vicious scrap for European qualification in which they find themselves, but I wouldnât put it past them. They are, after all, unbeaten at home against Manchester United since April 1982 (with four wins and a draw since then).
In memory of which, hereâs the track that was No3 in that weekâs hit parade and indeed also the next, when it held off This Time (Weâll Get it Right) by the England World Cup squad – to my mind perhaps the great classic squad-actually-singing, no-fancy-pants-pop-stars football record – which rose to No4.
World news – GB – Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United: Premier League â live!