Brighton vs Manchester United: Five things we learned as Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes link in style again

Brighton failed to build on their good form after the restart as Manchester United hit three without reply at the Amex Stadium.

United had already struck the post through Bruno Fernandes before Mason Greenwood waltzed his way through the defence and finished inside the near post after only 16 minutes.

Fernandes then doubled the lead on half an hour, before netting his brace shortly after the break.

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

United had other chances to add to the scoreline, but keep pace with Wolves for fifth with the win.

Here are five things we learned from a one-way procession in the Premier League.

The Bruno-Pogba linkup

United fans have been eagerly waiting for this: two high-calibre players, capable of controlling games, dominating opponents, winning points.

Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba are levels ahead of most Premier League players on a technical and creative basis and they certainly were far better than anything Brighton’s defence had to offer.

Just 12 minutes into the game, the French World Cup-winner teed up his recently arrived team-mate and Fernandes arrowed a shot onto the post.

On the half-hour mark, the exact same pattern occurred, Brighton failed to recognise the danger early enough and the match was essentially gone—Fernandes the scorer, Pogba the provider.

It was a toss-up between the two for the best player on the night, but more important to United is their constant ability to seek each other out.

Bright sparks

There weren’t too many exceptional moments for Brighton in truth, let alone stand-out players, but two who haven’t featured for most of the season did well.

Alexis Mac Allister only rejoined after his loan spell earlier this year and showed again a few examples of his class which is mixed with tenacity and intent.

Tariq Lamptey joined from Chelsea and has now featured both at right-back and on the wing and is quickly proving the wisdom of having left Stamford Bridge.

Getting game time is one thing, but showing he merits it is quite another. Aggressive running and no shortage of ability on the ball bodes well for his involvement next season.

Counter-attacking threat

How can teams catch Liverpool, has been the question in the week after the Reds were crowned Premier League champions.

It won’t be enough to close the gap by itself, but United did a fair impression of the champions with their third goal of the night: a devastating break from a Brighton attack which ended in Fernandes’ second.

A counter-attack down the left saw a good exchange of intelligent passes, the right execution at the right moment in the final cross from Mason Greenwood and an expert finish from the Portuguese attacking midfielder.

After a dominant first half led to chances inside a crowded final third, this was an impressive and very different way of killing off the match.

One more required

Brighton are almost there in terms of Premier League safety, but can’t quite afford to breathe easily yet.

Six points between themselves and the drop zone sounds comfortable, but if Brighton were to put in a similarly lax display next time out against a Norwich side who will surely give it everything, things could quickly look a little more panicky.

The Seagulls then face Liverpool and Manchester City back-to-back, after which only three games would remain and matters could be tense and tight at the bottom again.

Another win will probably see them safe, but they must improve on this showing, especially an inert and unambitious first half, to earn it.

Top-five fight

With Wolves winning yet again at the weekend, the pressure was very much on Manchester United to come up with three points here.

Fifth place, of course, carries a Champions League spot at present – with Manchester City facing a European ban and heading for second place themselves.

The knock-on effect of that means an unusual number of sides trying to ensure they go full-tilt at getting three points at every time of asking late this season, with United currently edging Wolves on goal difference.

Every slip up could effectively cost millions of pounds in revenue, not to mention the prestige of the competition, but so far Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are rising to the challenge.

Source: Read Full Article

Create Account

Log In Your Account