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Monday, June 29, 2020

Brighton v Manchester United: Defences on top at the Amex

Brighton v Manchester United: Defences on top at the Amex

Two tight defences will be on show in Tuesday's Premier League game between Brighton and Manchester United and Andy Schooler is going low on goals.

Brighton v Manchester United
Tuesday June 30, 20:15
Live on Sky One, Sky Sports Main Event & SS Premier League

United on the up

After 31 games of a Premier League season, Manchester United have never had fewer points than their current tally of 49.
Yet rather than things being all doom and gloom (again) at Old Trafford, there have been plenty of reasons for optimism since the turn of the year.
The Red Devils head to Brighton on Tuesday unbeaten in 14 in all competitions, still in with a chance of winning two trophies, not to mention booking a place in next season's Champions League.
The latter is of immediate concern. United head to the south coast in sixth place, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea. A win would take them up to fifth, which may yet be good enough for the Champions League; it will depend on Manchester City's ban appeal.
Clearly there is still work to do but the fixture list looks soft indeed from here. Of their last seven games, only one is against a team in the top nine.
Form is strong - as Dan Fitch points out here, they're on the best unbeaten run in the top flight - streak and while it's also fair to say they've probably not clicked into top gear since the season's resumption, they did fight back well to earn a draw at Spurs (a game they could easily have ended up winning) and brushed aside Sheffield United on home soil.
At the weekend, they needed extra time to beat Norwich in the FA Cup which wasn't ideal, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made eight changes and notably he spoke about how happy he was to have given several players a rest. He added that even those who had played the full 120 minutes - Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes - were those he considered physically good enough to play again in this one.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial will surely return to the starting XI - the pair have linked up better and better as the season has progressed - while Maguire will likely to reunited with Victor Lindelof at the heart of defence.
Much has been said of Fernandes' impact since his January arrival but that centre-back partnership has been key to United's resurgence with Solskjaer's men having kept 10 clean sheets in their unbeaten 14-game run.

Case for the defence

In short, Brighton face a tough task to penetrate the visitors' backline, although they will be buoyed by two good results post-lockdown.
Last time out at the Amex Stadium, Arsenal were beaten 2-1, while the Seagulls then went to Leicester and held their hosts to a goalless draw, missing a penalty in the process.
Those four points have pulled them six clear of the drop zone, although they can't afford to rest on their laurels yet. The Arsenal game remains their only win in their last 11, although they've also only lost one of their last seven.
Graham Potter's appointment as manager last summer was supposed to usher in a more attacking era but as the campaign has worn on, Brighton have relied more and more on their defence - one which is statistically the best in the bottom half of the table.
They've scored more than one goal in a game only twice in 2020, yet they've only conceded more than once in the same number of matches.
Adam Webster tweaked a hamstring in that Leicester draw but even if he doesn't make it back in time, Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk showed again at the King Power Stadium that they have a strong understanding. They will not be cowed by Martial, Rashford and co.
Young right-back Tariq Lamptey was also an eyecatching debutant at Leicester, adding to Brighton's stability.

Odds-on United to edge home

The hosts should make things difficult for United and that well-drilled defensive unit seems unlikely to be over-run.
Yet you'd expect United's quality in attack, increased further by Paul Pogba's return to fitness, should still be good enough to break through at some stage.
However, the 1.76 about the away win in the match result market doesn't look packed with value, especially when you consider United have lost on both visits since Brighton's promotion.
The hosts can be backed at 5.80 to make it three in a row.

Go low on goals

The more sensible betting ploy looks to be to go low on goals given the defensive strength both sides have shown over a period of time.
Five of Brighton's last six in the league (and six of their last seven at home) have seen under 2.5 goals, while United's last seven league matches have all come in below that mark.
Across the whole Premier League season, 73% of Brighton's home games have landed the unders bet, as have 80% of United's away matches.
Such figures make 1.81 about under 2.5 goals in this contest look decent and that looks the route to profit here.
For those seeking something bigger, 1-0 to the visitors makes a lot of sense given what's been written - you can get 7.20 about that correct-score occurrence.