OLI SCARFF/Getty Images
Maintaining neighbours Manchester City in the Premier League title race will be Manchester United’s priority when they sponsor Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday.
United are eight points adrift of City but put their title challenge back on track last week after they drifted apart Newcastle United 4-1 in the home. The return from injury of midfield talisman Paul Pogba revealed the catalyst to the Red Devils’ impressive win.
Brighton might not be bowled over easily. The Seagulls are within an impressive streak in their own, having not lost in five, a sequence long by the 2-2 draw with Stoke City last time out.
Here are the program and viewing details in Front of a preview and look at the team news:
Date: Saturday, November 25
Time: 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET.
The balance of United’s midfield will prove key. Manager Jose Mourinho needs to encircle Pogba with the perfect players.
Against the Magpies, that meant having Nemanja Matic supporting the France worldwide as a holding player, while Juan Mata played farther forward. The latter’s inclusion came at the expense of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, also a pure No. 10 who wasn’t even included in the matchday squad against Newcastle despite having a solid start to the season.
Mourinho abandoned Mkhitaryan out entirely contrary to Newcastle. Alex Grimm/Getty Images
Mourinho said departing Mkhitaryan out was more about United’s other options in midfield, per Michael Kelleher of all Sky Sports: “within this second, we have Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay.”
Mkhitaryan could be overlooked again after also missing out on an area in the group to get United’s 1-0 loss to FC Basel from the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
1 creative midfielder sure to start is the Pascal Gross of Brighton. The German got on the scoresheet against Stoke to continue his remarkable beginning into life in England’s top flight.
Sky Sports Statto detailed how powerful Gross was in the last third:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
.@OfficialBHAFC’s Pascal Gross was engaged in 8 of Brighton’s 12 @premierleague targets this season (3 goals, 5 assists) #MNF https://t.co/r4JK4O39xa
Maintaining Gross quiet will require a lot from defensively aware Matic. United’s back four will need the Serbia global to maintain top shape before them if they are still addressing the absence of Phil Jones.
The England international suffered a thigh injury through an international friendly against Germany on November 10. Jones allegedly received as many as six painkilling shots before the match, an detail Mourinho stated he wasn’t informed about, per Sky Sports.
If Jones is inaccessible again, Chris Smalling might continue alongside summer signing Victor Lindelof at the core of defence. However, Marcos Rojo might be much more realistic alternative following his return from harm from Basel.
Mourinho was impressed with Rojo and speculated that the Argentina global could be a key figure moving forward, a Samuel Luckhurst of their Manchester Evening News:
Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst
Asked Mourinho about Rojo. ‘Very pleased’ with his comeback operation and says staff ‘needs’ him especially with Jones injured. #mufc
In terms of United’s attack, it is going to be interesting to determine if Mourinho hands-on beginning to veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Like Pogba, the 36-year-old created his return from harm from Newcastle, albeit at a late night and short cameo from the bench.
Ibrahimovic, who has returned ahead of schedule in the cruciate ligament injury, also came from the bench during the conquer at Basel.
Ibrahimovic is right match for the Red Devils. PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images
United are looking strong today they have their key players at midfield and up front back fit. Brighton have established stubborn opponents this season, but it could be too much to ask for them to get a result against Mourinho’s title-chasers at Old Trafford.