Manchester United suffered their fourth successive Premier League defeat on Saturday, succumbing to a resolute Brighton side 3-1 at Old Trafford.
Danny Welbeck, the former United striker, opened the scoring for Brighton in the 20th minute with a clinical finish. Pascal Gross doubled Brighton’s advantage in the 53rd minute, before Joao Pedro added salt to the wounds in the 71st minute. United substitute Hannibal salvaged some pride with a late goal, but it was too little too late.
The result leaves United in disarray, with their crisis deepening. The club has now picked up just three points from five league games, their worst start to a season since 1989-90.
Brighton, on the other hand, are in excellent form, having won four of their last five league games. They are now seventh in the table, just two points behind United.
The victory was all the more impressive given that Brighton were missing several key players, including Julio Enciso, Solly March, and Pervis Estupinan.
The game started brightly for United, with Marcus Rashford having an early goal disallowed for offside. However, Brighton took the lead in the 20th minute through Welbeck. The former United striker coolly finished after receiving a precise pass from Simon Adingra.
United thought they had clawed one back when Hojlund converted Rashford’s pull-back, but VAR intervened, ruling the ball had crossed the line before the assist.
Brighton’s second goal in the 53rd minute saw Gross extend his impressive record against United. The German midfielder capitalized on United’s defensive lapses to slot the ball into the bottom corner.
The final blow came from Pedro in the 71st minute. The Brazilian forward finished off a counter-attacking move with a clinical strike.
United substitute Hannibal pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 83rd minute, but it was too little too late. Brighton could have extended their lead in the closing stages, with Andre Onana making crucial saves from Evan Ferguson and Ansu Fati.
The result leaves Manchester United in a difficult position. They are now 13 points behind leaders Arsenal and will need to turn things around quickly if they want to challenge for the top four this season.
For Brighton, the victory is a further sign of their progress under manager Roberto De Zerbi. They are now a team to be reckoned with in the Premier League and will be hoping to continue their good form in the coming weeks.