Manchester United 3-1 Brighton: Marcus Rashford stars in dominant showing
Report and highlights as Marcus Rashford sparks United into life
Last Updated: 10/11/19 11:17pm
Manchester United put Brighton to the sword with a dominant attacking performance full of pace and quality to win 3-1.
In a one-sided game in which United had 21 shots to Brighton's six, Andreas Pereira's deflected effort put the hosts on their way (17) before Scott McTominay forced Davy Propper into an own goal (19) after a Harry Maguire knockdown.
Anxiety grew around Old Trafford when Lewis Dunk scored against the run of play (64) but the excellent Marcus Rashford restored the two-goal cushion (66).
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A 3-1 scoreline flattered woeful Brighton, who were opened up at will in the final quarter but Rashford and Anthony Martial let them off the hook with some poor finishing.
Man Utd: De Gea (7), Wan-Bissaka (9), Lindelof (7), Maguire (7), Williams (7), McTominay (7), Fred (7), James (8), Pereira (7), Rashford (9), Martial (7).
Subs: Lingard (7), Greenwood (N/A), Rojo (N/A)
Brighton: Ryan (6), Montoya (6), Duffy (6), Dunk (6), Burn (5), Trossard (6), Propper (6), Stephens (5), Alzate (6), Maupay (5), Connolly (6)
Subs: Murray (5), March (5), Gross (5)
Man of the match: Marcus Rashford
United sign off for the international break with five wins from their last six matches in all competitions.
Just one change from United’s 1-0 loss at Bournemouth last weekend as 19-year-old Manchester-born defender Brandon Williams made his first Premier League start in place of the suspended Ashley Young.
Graham Potter made two changes from Brighton’s 2-0 win over Norwich. Adam Webster was out through injury so Shane Duffy started while Leandro Trossard replaced Pascal Gross after making a big impact from the bench last weekend.
How free-flowing United ran hot…
United's haul of 13 points from 11 games was their lowest tally at this stage of a Premier League campaign and they came out of the traps keen to address that.
With Brighton struggling to get their passing game going, Pereira punished their slack start by netting the opening goal inside 16 minutes, although it was a tad fortunate. After picking the wrong pass after a snappy counter-attack, the ball came back to Pereira, whose effort took a wicked deflection off Dale Stephens and flew into the net.
United were especially dangerous down the right with 22-year-old birthday boy Daniel James causing Dan Burn huge issues. Good pressure on that flank saw Dunk foul James and from the set-piece, United doubled their lead. Maguire won the first ball and McTominay's pressure forced Propper into sending the ball into his own net from about a yard out.
The two goals were as scrappy as they come for United but the lead gave them a platform to showcase their prowess at playing on the counter-attack as Brighton had no real response.
The third goal evaded the hosts after the break with Mat Ryan pushing a Fred effort onto the crossbar and Brighton hit United with a sucker punch.
Pereira for some reason was marking Dunk from a left-wing corner and the centre-back rose highest to power a header home from no more than 10 yards out to put Brighton back in the game. That hope only lasted two minutes as Rashford got the goal his performance deserved, smacking an effort home from 12 yards after some nice approach play by Martial.
That ended the game as a contest as United revelled in the space afforded to them by Brighton's tiring defence in the final quarter.
Rashford managed to miss from three yards out, youngster Brandon Williams went close and Martial somehow didn't add his name to the scoresheet as Ryan came out on top in their battle.
At full-time, the United fans chanted "you've only come to see United" to the away faithful which epitomised their team's dominance.
Man of the match: Marcus Rashford
One moment of outstanding quality summed up Rashford's performance. On 74 minutes the striker lined up Propper on the by-line and produced an epic flip-flap that sent the ball through the bamboozled Brighton player's legs. If only he found a way past Ryan with his finish - if he did, we would have been talking about a goal of the season contender.
United's star man was a constant livewire playing on the shoulder of the Brighton defence in the first half before dropping deeper after the break and showing some serious quality when in possession. After a sticky start to the campaign, he's hitting top gear.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: "It was a great performance and we should have won by a bigger distance.
"We attacked superbly - it was exhilarating, attacking football. The boys were so quick and we created chances. We scored three but it should have been six or seven, especially in the second half.
"It's a young team and you can see they enjoyed themselves.
"When you have a young team you need to get into the game quickly.
"We know we're not in a position we want to be. And we're far away from where we want to be. We have to keep on improving and challenge for the top four."
- United are unbeaten in their last seven games at Old Trafford across all competitions (W4 D3 L0); their longest run under the same manager since March 2018, when they went eight without defeat under José Mourinho.
- Brighton haven't won any of their 15 Premier League away games against "big six" opposition (W0 D1 L14), scoring just four goals and conceding 33 in return.
- Rashford scored his 30th goal for Manchester United at Old Trafford, with six of those having come in 2019-20 - only in 2017-18 has he netted more home goals in a single season for the club (nine).
- United named the youngest starting line-up a Premier League game this season (23y 350d), and their youngest since a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace back in May 2017 (22y 284d).
Manchester United face a trip to Sheffield United after the international break - a game that is live on Super Sunday. Meanwhile, Brighton host high-flying Leicester on Saturday November 23.