CARDS specialist Chris Goodwin (@CGeorgeGamble) picks out his favourite fancies from Sunday night's showdown between Man Utd and Brighton.
Manchester United vs Brighton | Sunday 4th April 2021, 19:30 | Sky Sports
Graham Potter's men make the trip north to take on Manchester United and will be looking to cause a huge upset. You’d think that Brighton are safe from the drop as they sit six points clear at the time of writing. However, with just eight games to go, they need to ensure that they don’t get dragged into the relegation scrap going into the final few games of this season.
The Red Devils are currently occupying second spot by a single point, but a win for the hosts here will put four points between themselves and third-placed Leicester City.
They’ve scored a healthy seven goals in their last three home EPL games but can be somewhat inconsistent. One week they can be dismantling a top-half side but then lose to a lowly opposition. They did that earlier on in the season when they claimed victory over Aston Villa, only to then lose at Old Trafford to bottom side Sheffield United.
With the quality they have at their disposal, you’d expect them to contain this Brighton side.
● Commit on average 12 fouls per game when playing at home.
● Receive on average 8.8 fouls per game when playing at home.
● Have seen 2+ cards in 4/6 home games against sides in the top 10 of the away xg charts.
● In those games, the opposition has seen 2+ cards on just 1/6 occasions.
● Have scored in every home game since a 0-0 draw with Manchester City in December.
● Have won their last five matches against Brighton.
● Six of their last seven meetings with the Seagulls has seen over 2.5 goals.
● Commit on average 11.6 fouls per game when playing away.
● Receive on average nearly 10 fouls per game away from home.
● Have seen 2+ cards in just 1/4 away games against sides currently in the top six.
● In those games, the opposition has seen 2+ cards on 1/4 occasions. (Two of these were against Liverpool and Manchester City who are notorious for low card counts.)
● Have received 11+ fouls in 13/14 away games this season.
● Have failed to win in any of their previous 12 visits to Old Trafford (L10; D2).
Referee: Mike Dean
The man who needs no introduction when it comes to cards and fouls.
● Averages 23.11 fouls per game in the EPL this season.
● Averages 3.47 cards per game in the EPL this season.
● Has overseen three Manchester United games this season and is awarding them an average of 2.00 cards per game.
My first pick is for Manchester United to pick up Over 1 Card.
Quite simply, when they come up against sides who create chances they do have a tendency to make some cynical fouls. It’s well documented how Brighton have practically broken the xG model this season. Their expected points total has them fighting it out for a place in the Champions League next season, but reality paints a completely different picture.
Brighton play some great football under Graham Potter and I do think that they’ll have opportunities to test the United keeper and as such I’m expecting Mike Dean to continue his form when refereeing United games by handing them a couple of cards minimum.
In a somewhat similar vein, I also like United to commit 11 or more fouls in the game.
As previously mentioned, Brighton do play some good football and with Dunk always a threat from set-pieces, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them look to win a few to use that advantage. The Seagulls have been awarded 11 or more fouls in 13 of their 14 away games this season and I think they make that 14/15 this Sunday.