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Can Injury-Ravaged Clubs End Premier League Campaign on a High?

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Brighton & Hove Albion vs Manchester United

When fans of both these sides reflect on their respective Premier League campaigns, the synergy will be obvious.

Overall disappointment punctuated by memorable moments of joy – in both league and cup competitions.

Yet the similarities don’t end there and, at the crux of it all, is one common denominator which had undermined the jobs Roberto De Zerbi and Erik Ten Hag are trying to achieve.

For there is no doubt both clubs have been ravaged by injuries – the Seagulls even more impacted due to their squad depth.

So, as they prepare to bring the league season to a close – United have a big date at Wembley next weekend – can either side finish on a high?

 

Talking Points

With a few weeks of the season remaining, the question was asked by my colleague whether Brighton had already mentally checked out.

I certainly don’t think they have and they will want to send their supporters home for the summer on the back of some Premier League highlights.

In an era of over-spending, Brighton are certainly viewed by many as the gold standard for how to run a club properly.

On the playing side the philosophy appears theoretically simple: scour the world for talent, which is recruited, honed and sold on for a vast profit.

Think Moises Caicedo, signed as an 18 year-old from Ecuador for £4.5million, loaned to Belgian club Beerschot, then sold to Chelsea for £115m two years after his arrival.

Their hopes of reaching Europe again may have long since faded but is it any surprise.

Against Chelsea in midweek, when they fell to a seventh defeat in nine matches, they came up against the likes of Caicedo and Marc Cucurella – just two of 11 (yes, ELEVEN!) players or staff members to have left the south coast for Stamford Bridge in the last couple of years alone, culminating in the head of recruitment Sam Jewell’s departure in February.

They may have lost their midfield engine room last summer – Alexis Macalister also went – but they remain in 10th place which is further testament to what the club has achieved.

Brighton are determined to hold onto their 10th-place position as they face Manchester United in the Premier League
Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Pascal Gross celebrates on the pitch after their win over Aston Villa

A word also for Pascal Gross who has an impressive record against United.

Only Ollie Watkins (13) has registered more assists than Gross (10) in the Premier League this season and only Bruno Fernandes (108) has made more key passes than the Germany midfielder (97).

An unsung hero if ever there was one.

Despite speculation to the contrary, Brighton should do all they can to keep De Zerbi, as should United with Ten Hag who received a rousing reception following United’s 3-2 victory over Newcastle on Wednesday, further evidence that the Old Trafford-going supporter, at least, remains behind him despite a troubled campaign.

Given the two defenders he signed, Lisandro Martínez and Tyrell Malacia, have barely played this term (Malacia not at all), likewise Luke Shaw and Mason Mount, while Kobbie Mainoo, Raphaël Varane, Casemiro and Rasmus Højlund have missed months rather than weeks, and Marcus Rashford and Fernandes have been absent, it seems harsh to blame the manager for the regression from last season.

The similarities in 2023-24 for Brighton and United are uncanny.

 

History

Although United have unsurprisingly had the upper hand for the majority of their 32 contests, all bar one of the South Coast club’s seven victories have come since they were promoted to the Premier League in 2018.

That includes the last four league meetings between the teams.

Earlier this season, the Seagulls ran amok at Old Trafford with a 3-1 win, courtesy of goals from Danny Welbeck, Gross and Joao Pedro before young substitute Hannibal Mejri pulled one back.

They also won this corresponding fixture last season with a Macallister penalty deep into stoppage time.

That gained revenge for 11 days earlier when United had devastated their opponents to win a tense penalty shoot-out in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

Overall United have 20 victories with a further fie draws.

Their inaugural meeting came in the FA Cup in 1909 when a Harold Halse goal separated the sides before a crowd of 8,300 at Bank Street, Clayton in the first round.

United went onto win the trophy.

 

Betting Tip

The SBOTOP Premier League betting odds make Brighton slight favourites to defeat United for what would be the fifth league game in a row.

They can be backed 1X2 @ 2.17 and Asian Handicap -0.50, also @ 2.17.

That contrasts with United who are priced 1X2 @ 2.72 and Asian Handicap +0.25 @ 2.01.

The draw has really caught my attention @ 3.65.

If you fancy goals aplenty, then look at total goal 4-6 @ 2.07 and over 3.75 goals @ 2.03.

Meanwhile if you fancy another 1-0 home win, then Correct Score will pay out @ 17.00.

I am going to go for a *** tip to end the league season at total goal 2-3 @ 2.33 in an entertaining game.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT))

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

   

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