Graham Potter’s team have won three consecutive home games at the Amex Stadium over Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Norwich City, but they have found it more difficult on the road, with their only away win coming on the opening day of the season against Watford.
Aside from that 3-0 victory, they have struggled to score on their travels, with just one goal in their other four away league matches.
United’s performances continue to fluctuate in the Premier League. A hard-fought 1-1 draw against Liverpool and a 3-1 win away at Norwich City was followed up with a 1-0 loss against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in their most recent outing.
However, a 3-0 UEFA Europa League win on Thursday over Partizan Belgrade will have settled some of the nerves at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to battle the inconsistencies that affected United at the end of last season—when they only won two of their last 10 games in all competitions—but the Red Devils are showing signs of growth.
Romelu Lukaku’s departure to Inter Milan left United without a recognised top-class No. 9, and with Alex Sanchez following the striker to the San Siro on loan, Anthony Martial was left to fill the void with Marcus Rashford.
However, injury has prevented Martial from a regular run in the side. The Frenchman’s return to the squad in late October has helped alleviate some of the scoring burden on Rashford, and both found the back of the net against Partizan after Mason Greenwood’s opener.
The Seagulls will be aware of the threat the pair carry, and Potter’s men are likely to play a low block against United’s favoured counter-attack.
The Red Devil’s defence has improved since the summer signings of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The pair have added intelligence and courage to the back four, and United’s record of 11 league goals conceded is the fifth-best total in the Premier League this season.
However, Maguire picked up a knock against Partizan on Thursday and is a doubt for Sunday’s clash.Speaking to MUTV (h/t Goal’s Dejan Kalinic) ahead of the match, Solskjaer said he expects Maguire to be fit, but he was unsure whether midfielder Scott McTominay would be ready:
“I think Harry will be OK. He finished the game anyway. Scott is more of a concern, so let’s see how he recovers in the next few days.
“He said he was going to be OK out on the pitch and he said ‘I’ll be fine.’ He’s tough, but he had to come off.“I hope he’ll recover for Sunday, but I don’t know. Inside of his ankle. I think he went over on his ankle.“
United’s tempo was much improved against Partizan, and this factor appears to be the key to success for the Manchester giants. When Solskjaer’s men have lost the natural pace in their game, they have lacked the technique to pick apart organised opponents.
Brighton will be happy to sit back at Old Trafford, but United will be pleased to face a team that will be cautious while the score is level.United have to beat sides traditionally from the bottom half, or their ambitions of a top-four finish will be extinguished before the new year.