Match preview: Brighton vs Manchester United - including key battles, xG and predicted scorers

Here's a look at some of the battles, numbers and thoughts going into the game vs United at Old Trafford today (Sunday)

Sunday, 4th April 2021, 1:31 am
Updated Sunday, 4th April 2021, 1:34 am
Brighton

Key battles

I think Yves Bissouma has the athleticism and intelligence to do a job on United's star man, Bruno Fernandes, and keep him out of the game.

We've seen before this season that Dan Burn can be tormented by pacey players, so it could be a tough afternoon for him against either Marcus Rashford or Daniel James.

Cavani's a clever and experienced forward but Lewis Dunk is looking unplayable at times, that will be a clash that could go either way.

The combination play of Lallana, Gross, Trossard and Welbeck also has the potential to turn United inside out.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw have been possibly the best full-back pairing in the league this season and I'd expect it to be a tricky afternoon for Brighton's wing-backs getting past these two.

Expected Goals and Expected Points

In the xG table, otherwise known as the Justice Table, this is a 4th vs 5th clash.

Albion are the ones in 5th with an Expect Points total of 48.87, while United are 4th on 49.48.

Expected Points measures the number of points a team could have expected to have taken from a game based on the scoring opportunities (xG) that they created and conceded in that match.

Brighton are the highest underperformers in the Expected Points table, they should have nearly 17 points more than they actually do at the moment (32).

Man United, on the other hand, are over-performing by 7.52 points.

Formation

It's hard to predict a Graham Potter line-up but I'd go for a 3-4-1-2 with Trossard in the hole. The Belgian has recently looked much like the player he's always threatened to be and I'd put that down to him playing more centrally and gaining some confidence.

United have used a 4-2-3-1 system for the majority of the season. They did look threatening last time these two side met in the controversial game at The Amex.

From what I remember from that game, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial looked a danger on-the-break, getting in behind Brighton's wing-backs.

However, they also conceded two that day and saw Leandro Trossard hit the woodwork multiple times.

I think both United and Brighton have played better this season without the ball and on the counter attack, so it will be interesting to see who plays the more possession based football and who plays on the break. Either way, I think it will be an open game.

Timing

Brighton score most of their goals (8) between the 46th minute and the 60th minute.

They concede most of the goals in that same time frame too (8).

United score most of their goals in the final 30 minutes of matches. And they concede most of their goals in the first 15 minutes.

Game State

When the score is level, Brighton have gone ahead 17 times and went a goal behind 20 times.

When Brighton are a goal up they have conceded 10 times, which indicates they can't hold a lead. When they are a goal behind, Albion have scored nine times, which indicates they can battle back into the game.

Man United have gone ahead 24 times and went a goal behind 13 times when the score is level.

Prediction: 2-2

Scorers: Welbeck, Dunk, Cavani, Rashford.