Edinson Cavani's worrying trend could help Brighton at Manchester United
Sam Cox: Brighton and Hove Albion shouldn’t be fearful of Manchester United ahead of their Premier League clash with the Red Devils on Sunday.
Graham Potter’s side have come into form at the perfect time in the season, which has allowed them to bridge a gap between them and the relegation places.
Prior to the international break, Albion made light work of relegation rivals, Newcastle United, by dispatching them 3-0 at home thanks to goals from Leandro Trossard, Danny Welbeck, and Neal Maupay.
The Seagull’s sit two places and six points ahead of Fulham who currently occupy the final space on the trapdoor to the Championship - alongside EFL bound Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion.
What’s seen Potter’s side record consecutive Premier League victories has been the emergence of his summer signings coinciding with his stalwarts returning to form.
Welbeck’s exceptional curling effort against the Magpies was only his third in Albion colours, while the England international provided an exquisite assist to Trossard who netted the winner a week prior against Southampton.
Adam Lallana has also proved why the club broke their wage structure to bring the former Liverpool midfielder to the AMEX. Lallana has managed to wriggle free from his injury troubles and has played three consecutive full-90 minutes for the first time this season, while it’s apparent that Albion are a classier and more threatening side with him in the starting XI.
An area on the pitch where Albion excel, and where Manchester United falter, is from set-pieces.
With towering and powerful defenders and attackers, such as Lewis Dunk, the Seagulls often look likely to score from corners and this proved to be true in the 2-1 victory at St Mary’s Stadium.
It was Albion’s captain fantastic who rose above Ryan Bertrand before planting a bullet header past a despairing Fraser Forster to give the visitors the lead.
In contrast, the Red Devils seem weak at defending set-plays. Southampton, Paris Saint-Germain (twice), Leeds United, Manchester City, West Ham United, and Sheffield United have all taken advantage of this vulnerability to score.
As a result, Potter will undoubtedly see a window of opportunity for his side from dead-ball situations.
It’s also fair to say that the 20 times top tier champions forward line has been somewhat blunted in the past few weeks. The Red Devils have only scored six goals in their past eight matches in all competitions.
Anthony Martial hasn’t found the net for the club across his past nine matches in all competitions while Edison Cavani is suffering a similar drought in front of goal.
The former PSG striker hasn’t netted in his past four appearances for the club, which shows a worrying trend for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Manchester United are still very much a developing side. Solskjaer’s side are still one or two transfer windows away from becoming a force much like their city neighbours, Manchester City, and a fully fit and firing Liverpool.
This has been proven as the league’s two basement clubs have managed to record impressive results against the team that are currently occupying second position in the league.
The Blades came away from Old Trafford 2-1 victors, while Sam Allardyce’s Baggies were unlucky not to secure all three points at home in a 1-1 draw.
An added incentive for Albion this weekend is that they can virtually secure their Premier League safety. It’s not going to be an easy task, however, but they can be buoyed by their recent form coinciding with their opponent’s tendencies to slip-up against the lower teams.