Man United 1-3 Brighton: Talking points from an abysmal showing

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag reacts in his first Premier League outing.

Man United’s Brighton nightmare continued this season with a streak-ending defeat at Old Trafford REUTERS/Toby Melville.

The erstwhile gloomy and ever-raining clouds of Manchester were clear on this Saturday night, but despair rained on the pitch nevertheless. The Red Devils were deftly defeated 1-3 by Brighton and Hove Albion, with little love in the air for Erik ten Hag and his men.

Goals from Danny Welbeck, Pascal Grob, and Joao Pedro broke the home side’s empathic 21-game win streak at home as a year-long record was smashed to pieces by a confident away side. Hannibal Mejbri’s late goal was a thing of beauty but it was too little too late in the end of things.

Here are the key takeaways from the game:

1. Lovely Net-Play from Brighton

The away side were adept at playing net-to-net football, deftly countering United’s dominant attack in the first half and strongly defending their heroic lead in the second.

Credit is due to a side who have only just entered European frontiers and is now looking to be a regular thorn in Manchester United’s backyard. Conservative football sprinkled with determination and now Brighton are placed confidently at 4th.

2. Angelic Debut Performances

New faces were in show and probably gave the best glimmer of hope for things going forward. Rasmus Hojlund’s promising display nearly ended in a neat equalizer if not for VAR accurately spotting that the ball was out of play in the build-up.

Likewise, Sergio Reguilon showed promise but appeared to attract too much attention as evidenced by all the fouls he found himself at the receiving end.

All in all, Mejbri’s start shows better hope for things to come but there is plenty of work to be done with patience running thin.

3. Pin-pointed Tactics Failed Ten Hag

The formation itself appeared doomed and it was evident that the gaffer was trying to make the best out of a situation where non-football reasons had practically dented his flank options. However, this seemed to fail spectacularly as the orientation gave the club neither a staunch presence at the back nor an inlet from which to build a steady attack.

Add to this Onana’s inability to stop goals and even his sweeper-keeper techniques seem to add little quality to the overall play.

While not all personnel problems can be controlled by the manager, strong steps need to be taken to ensure such embarrassment doesn’t bleed into a tough UEFA Champions League group next.