Manchester United player ratings vs Brighton: 4s for 'statuesque' defensive players as rare bright sparks overshadowed in miserable Old Trafford defeat
Goals from United’s former striker Danny Welbeck, familiar foe Pascal Gross and Joao Pedro secured the three points for Albion – who are the Premier League’s top scorers with 15 goals so far this season.
Despite fielding a team worth £17m – with a number of key players missing – Albion outclassed a team full of expensive talent, who are desperately out of form and numerous off-field issues to contend with.
United actually made a confident start to the game, flying out of the blocks but fell behind in the 20th minute. Danny Welbeck played the ball wide to Simon Adingra and ran into the box, with Adingra’s low cross cleverly dummied by Adam Lallana before the United academy graduate struck.
Lively Marcus Rashford saw a shot deflected on to the woodwork as United sought a leveller that they thought had found in the 40th minute. Rashford cut the ball back for full debutant Rasmus Hojlund to steer home what would have been his first for the club – only for the VAR to rule the ball had gone out of play after a long delay.
United looked suspect defensively, with little midfield protection – despite having both Casemiro and Scott McTominay on the pitch.
Gross took advantage of some statuesque defending to dance into the box and double their hosts lead. It was the first time Man United have conceded more than one in four successive league games for the first time since 1979.
The misery was compounded when substitute Joao Pedro made it 3-0, sending dozens of home fans out the exit door. They would have missed a small consolation – when youngster Hannibal Mejbri marked a rare appearance with a superb goal from distance as Albion switched off.
They were unable to mount a miraculous come-back, with a second consecutive defeat leaving them 12th in the table. Here’s how we rated the players:
Erik ten Hag will make the decision in the next day over whether to recall Jadon Sancho for the EFL Cup on Tuesday, in a significant indicator on where he stands in the Manchester United manager’s thoughts.