THE FA Cup continues this weekend and Adam Goodwin (@agjournalism) shares his best bets for Manchester United v Brighton.
Manchester United v Brighton | Saturday 17th March 2018, 19:45 | BT Sport
After elimination from the Champions League on Tuesday, Manchester United are now pinning their hopes of a trophy on the FA Cup.
Brighton’s resurgence of late has lifted them clear of the relegation zone and success in this competition would top off a solid debut Premier League campaign.
The Red Devils
Jose Mourinho was crucified by the media and Manchester United fans after their 2-1 defeat to Sevilla on Tuesday, thus knocking them out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage. Going into the match, United were heavy favourites but a performance that lacked any real intent or ambition means that the FA Cup is their only opportunity for silverware this season.
A season without a trophy for Manchester United would be disastrous, especially when you consider how much money has been spent on the likes of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. A tie against Brighton is a great opportunity to progress to the semi-finals and Mourinho will ensure that his side won’t slip-up for the second time in a week.
The match on Saturday evening is at Old Trafford and United’s form at home is incredible. They’ve only lost two games at home over the last 12 months (Manchester City and Sevilla) and consistently dispatch of bottom half teams when playing at the “Theatre of Dreams”.
Before their 2-0 defeat to Everton last weekend, Brighton were on a seven match unbeaten run and it’s lifted them up to 11th – seven points clear of the drop zone. Chris Hughton’s main priority will obviously be to remain in the Premier League but with the threat of relegation seemingly decreasing, he’d undoubtedly like to give this competition a shot.
The Seagulls’ away form isn’t great, with their last win on the road coming in this competition when they beat Middlesbrough at the Riverside. They did smash West Ham 3-0 at the London Stadium in October but that looks to be an anomaly when you look at the fact that they’ve lost nine games away from the AMEX this season. It’s certainly going to be a tough test for the south coast side.
You’d be brave to back against Manchester United on Saturday, despite the fact they did suffer defeat during midweek. Their home form is superb and with success in this competition a necessity, you’d fancy them to progress to the semi-finals.
United have scored exactly two goals in eight games at home this season and Brighton have lost 2-0 seven times when playing away from home this campaign. So I fancy this correct score at 11/2.
Manchester United v Brighton – Manchester United 2-0 Brighton (11/2 WilliamHill)