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

Sports Mole previews Tuesday night's Premier League clash between Brighton and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Manchester United switch their focus back to a top-four chase in the Premier League on Tuesday night when they take on Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.

The Red Devils go into the game fresh off the back of reaching a record 30th FA Cup semi-final, but face a Brighton side in encouraging form themselves since the restart.

Match preview

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire celebrates with teammates after scoring the winner against Norwich on June 27, 2020© Reuters

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was quick to stress the importance of winning trophies in the wake of his side's FA Cup victory over Norwich City on Saturday, when Harry Maguire's last-gasp extra-time winner sent them through to the semi-finals.

However, securing a return to the Champions League next season is arguably an even greater priority for the remainder of the campaign, and by the time they had kicked off against Carrow Road they had already lost ground in that particular race.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' win over Aston Villa earlier in the day on Saturday saw them move up to fifth in the table, which as things stand would be enough to qualify for the Champions League next season, putting the pressure back on United for this trip to Brighton.

Only victory would see them move back above Nuno Espirito Santo's side and temporarily close the gap on Chelsea to two points, but they will be favourites to come away with a maximum haul from the Amex.

The Red Devils have drawn with Tottenham Hotspur and cruised past Sheffield United - both fellow European hopefuls - in their two Premier League games since the restart and are now looking to win back-to-back top-flight games for only the second time this calendar year.

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial celebrates scoring his hat-trick against Sheffield United on June 24, 2020© Reuters

United's unbeaten run now stretches back 14 games to January 22 - the longest streak of Solskjaer's time in charge - but their inconsistency in the league has always kept them slightly adrift of Chelsea in fourth.

Most of those problems have come away from home; United have won four in a row and have not conceded in five games at Old Trafford, whereas on the road they have only won three of their last six.

Nine of their 14 games unbeaten have been away from home, but they are in a position now where draws are almost as costly as defeats and they know that only a victory will be good enough on Tuesday night.

Fortunately for the 20-time champions of England, they do have a kind fixture list coming up, with their next four matches all coming against teams currently in the bottom seven of the table.

Not that Brighton will be expected to give United an easy ride, particularly having already upset the odds on two occasions since returning from lockdown.

Neal Maupay celebrates scoring for Brighton against Arsenal on June 20, 2020© Reuters

The Seagulls have beaten Arsenal and then drawn away to third-placed Leicester City so far, although things do not get any easier for them with Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City to come in three of the next four.

A record of only one win in 12 matches this calendar year is certainly nothing to brag about, but they will no doubt take confidence from their recent record against teams in the top half of the table.

Indeed, Brighton have avoided defeat in each of their last five meetings with teams currently sitting in the top nine and, while draws may not be good enough for a United side chasing Europe, they are likely to have a much bigger impact at the bottom of the table.

The two results since lockdown so far have edged Graham Potter's side six points from danger and, considering they have already taken points off Tottenham, Wolves, Everton, Chelsea and Arsenal at home this term, they will be optimistic of getting something from Tuesday's game too.

The victory over Arsenal in their last home game was their 100th at the Amex in all competitions since moving to the ground in 2011, and claiming the scalp of Manchester United would be an ideal way to get started on the next century.

Brighton have won their last three home league games against United, including both in the Premier League era.

Brighton Premier League form: DDLDWD

Man Utd Premier League form: WWDWDW
Man Utd form (all competitions): WWWDWW

Team News

Manchester United pair Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes bump fists on June 19, 2020© Reuters

As expected, Solskjaer made a number of changes to his starting lineup for the FA Cup match and most of the big names omitted are expected to return.

Among those will be Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, the latter of whom scored the club's first hat-trick since 2013 last time out.

David de Gea will also return in goal, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and Daniel James will be hopeful of retaining their places.

Solskjaer did not ring the changes entirely, though, and both Bruno Fernandes and Maguire played the full 120 minutes so may be considered for a rest with such a quick turnaround in games.

Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are the only lingering injury doubts for the Red Devils.

Brighton named their youngest-ever Premier League starting XI against Leicester, but Potter could be forced into some changes for this match.

Adam Webster lasted only 24 minutes before limping off with a hamstring injury, while Tariq Lamptey played the full game despite then needing stitches for a "big hole on the side of his face".

Jose Izquierdo is also still sidelined with a knee problem, but Steven Alzate could be back in contention.

Brighton possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Burn; Stephens, Bissouma; Connolly, Mac Allister, Mooy; Maupay

Man Utd possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Matic, Pogba; James, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial

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We say: Brighton 0-2 Man Utd

Brighton have not made it easy for two other European hopefuls since the restart here and United have not won an away league game against the Seagulls since 1982, so this will not be a walk in the park for the visitors.

However, they approach the game in good form and, while they went through 120 minutes against Norwich just three days before this match, we are still expecting them to have enough to come away with another win.

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2Manchester CityMan City64111211113
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