Brighton 0-Man United 3: Juan Mata shines as Dean Henderson continues to keep pressure on David de Gea

Brighton vs Man United

Wednesday’s marquee League Cup tie pitted Manchester United against fellow Premier League outfit, Brighton.

The pair have already faced off once in 2020/21, with that tie also taking place at the Amex this past weekend.

Man United would come out on top in that meeting thanks to an injury-time Bruno Fernandes penalty.

In truth though, when all was said and done on Saturday, Brighton probably deserved to come away with at least a point.

The Seagulls dominated United for large parts of that game, hitting the woodwork on a staggering five occasions.

As for Wednesday’s clash, both sides made a number of changes from the weekend, suggesting we were in for a very different affair.

But when all was said and done at the Amex on Wednesday, it would be Manchester United who once again came out on top.

A slow start

Saturday’s tie began in pretty lively fashion with the Seagulls testing United early on.

However, on Wednesday, proceedings began at a much calmer pace. This was to be expected, though, given just how many changes both managers had made.

It would be the visitors who dominated possession early on. But despite having the majority of the ball, Man United were unable to carve out any chances in the opening exchanges.

We would have to wait until the 17th minute for either side to have a real opportunity.

Said chance fellow to Odion Ighalo, who placed his effort wide after being played in by Juan Mata.

Van de Beek, who was handed just his second start for United on Wednesday, then nearly found himself in behind after playing a one-two with Ighalo but the latter’s pass was not great.

Brighton’s first shot on target came just after the 25-minute mark when Alexis Mac Allister’s curling effort from the edge of the box forced a save out of Dean Henderson.

Mac Allister then fired an effort just over the crossbar 36 minutes in, with the Argentine certainly looking Brighton’s most deadly asset in the first half.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh then smashed a chance over just a few minutes later, with Graham Potter’s men most certainly looking to end the first 45 on the front foot.

However, despite, in truth, looking fairly poor and slow across the first half, Manchester United would head in at the break with a 1-0 lead.

Juan Mata, who had just been brought down by Dan Burn, whipped a lovely free-kick into Scott McTominay who rose highest to head United into a probably undeserved lead.

Mata & Henderson impress

Neither side made any changes at the break, but Neil Maupay would be brought on for Brighton just five minutes into the second half.

Fred then had the first half-chance of the second 45 when his free-kick forced a decent save out of Jason Steele.

But with nearly 20 minutes gone in the second half, that was the only real opportunity for either side – though Brighton had looked the better of the two outfits with United sat pretty deep and causing the Seagulls very few problems.

This promoted the introduction of Leandro Trossard, the man who hit the woodwork three times on Saturday, 63 minutes in.

And the Belgian was once again causing United problems this time around, this time forcing a superb save out of Henderson.

Solskjaer responded to this with some changes of his own. Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford were both introduced with just over 20 minutes to go.

And it wouldn’t be long after these changes when United doubled their lead.

Van de Beek linked up well with Juan Mata who calmly slotted past Steele to make it 2-0.

Mata’s goal, combined with the double change, looked to breathe a new lease of life into the Red Devils, who came close to adding a 3rd just minutes later via Paul Pogba.

The Frenchman then put the result beyond doubt 79 minutes in, bending a sumptuous free-kick past Steele.

The final whistle blew with the score 3-0 and United through to the last eight

In truth though, the scoreline was probably somewhat harsh on Brighton, who dominated for large parts of the game.

Man United’s display, overall, was not great and quite similar to the one they produced at the Amex.

And baring a solid showing from Juan Mata and the odd bit of quality from van de Beek, the majority of Red Devil’s fringe stars once again failed to impress.

The likes of Daniel James, Odion Ighalo, Brandon Williams and Diogo Dalot were pretty subpar on Wednesday and if United do wish to continue to compete in cup competitions and fight for a place in the top-four, they probably need a few more additions before the end of the current window.

One man whose display will no doubt please OGS, however, was Dean Henderson.

The United youth is, of course, back in Manchester competing for the no.1 spot with David de Gea.

And though the Spaniard continues to be ahead of Henderson in that race, the Englishman once again proved on Wednesday that he can hack it in a United shirt.

Henderson had little to do vs Brighton, but when called up, he came up big, as showcased by his save from Trossard.

See also: Liverpool vs Arsenal betting tips: Carabao Cup preview, predictions & odds

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Brighton vs Man United Wednesday’s marquee League Cup tie pitted Manchester United against fellow Premier League outfit, Brighton. The pair have already faced off once in 2020/21, with that tie also taking place at the Amex this past weekend. Man United would come out on top in that meeting thanks to an injury-time Bruno FernandesFootball (soccer) greatest goals and highlights | 101 Great Goals – Feed

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