- Manchester United climbed back to fourth in the League with a hard-fought 2-0 win against a Brighton side who had not lost in the League for seven consecutive games and showed what a good team they, with an excellent performance at Old Trafford. It had become a habit lately for United to dominate the first half of matches and go in front without justifying their dominance in goals, only to fade away in the second half and relinquish their lead and hence lose points. Against Brighton it was the other way round. United were second best at Old Trafford against Brighton in the opening half, with the latter imposing themselves on the game as United spent most of the first 45 minutes in their own half and tried to absorb the pressure from Graham Potter’s side. Despite enjoying territorial superiority, Brighton failed to create too many good chances. Perhaps the one which was really close was a header from Moder which required a fantastic save from De Gea to keep it out. United also had a gilt-edged chance in the first half, when a Ronaldo backheel found Sancho unmarked six metres from goal, who could not put the ball past Sanchez. After the break, things became different right away, as Ronaldo picked a loose pass just outside the Brighton area and after two steps forward, he unleashed a shot which flew past Sanchez and gave United the lead. Soon after, Elanga pressed Dunk on the edge of the penalty area, he dispossessed him and the latter brought him down, which meant a straight red. From then on, the pattern of the match became mostly United. Brighton tried to hold their own in some areas but with Pogba also joining the fray, United were now dominant and created several chances. They only took one at the death from Fernandes, which sealed by Bruno
- The match against Burnley had a number of positives, which might be overlooked in a world driven by results. Despite having to do without Varane at the last moment, United managed to keep it shut at the back, a clean sheet which has become rare in the last months. Ronaldo found the net again after more than six weeks and he also had a good all round performance against Brighton. This has huge significance for United when our two other central strikers – Cavani and Greenwood – are unavailable. We need him to start firing again, especially with the Champions League matches on the doorstep. Having played two whole matches in a week after returning from a long lay-off, it was critical to protect Pogba by not starting him. When he came on though, Paul continued in the same vein of form with which he had returned lately and he totally bossed the midfield. Fernandes also returned on the scoresheet, which will do a world of good to his confidence for the upcoming matches. And we hit fourth place in the Table once more, albeit having played more matches than the pack. They have the matches but we have the points.
- Special mention has to go to Ronaldo today. I criticised him in my last article and I stick by what I said in there. I read somewhere that he practised for 5 hours on Sunday. This is what pros do, they work hard. I still think that he should have scored at least another vs Brighton but his performance was much better.
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Article contributed by Contributor Roderick. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.