In an effort to fulfill their European aspirations, both Manchester United and Brighton faced a challenging trip on Thursday night.
In the 99th minute, Brighton shocked Manchester United with a penalty to exact revenge for their FA Cup semifinal loss at Wembley last month. With the Red Devils still reeling from their agonizing 1-0 loss, Alexis Mac Allister’s last-second penalty kick brutally decided the game for them.
At the Amex Stadium, the United manager was animated right away. During the first half, two players felt his wrath in rapid succession. Erik ten Hag, a Dutchman, reacted by repeatedly waving his finger and yelling “One!” when goalkeeper David de Gea ‘annoyed’ him by missing his long goal-kick.
The Red Devils manager criticized Anthony Martial for not pressing from the front shortly after he had a largely ineffective game. In what turned out to be a very frustrating evening for the 53-year-old, Ten Hag allegedly ‘slapped his thighs in anger’ before delivering a stinging rebuke to the Frenchman.
Wan-Bissaka runs into trouble
Although the former Crystal Palace right-back’s weaknesses are now well known, he has maintained a spotless reputation as a reliable one-on-one defender who is very challenging to beat. But on Thursday, Kaoru Mitoma of Brighton put that to the test.
After repeatedly beating Wan-Bissaka early on, the Japanese winger was treated with respect and frequently allowed to choose his passes in the final third as the United star refrained from getting too close.
While the 25-year-old’s finishing was occasionally subpar, Mitoma’s performance was lacking only one thing: a goal. After once more dribbling past Wan-Bissaka, the Japanese player nearly earned a penalty, but the referee waved his protests away.
Marcus Rashford’s performance on the left side was far from his worst, but when it was revealed that Moises Caicedo, a central midfielder, would be filling in at right-back, he might have expected a good night.
Fans were concerned about how the 21-year-old would fare against a rival like Rashford in an unfamiliar environment despite his already stellar reputation. The England forward was crucially kept off the scoresheet as Caicedo successfully completed his task as he gradually became more involved in the match.
An evening to forget for Antony
After a record-breaking £84 million transfer from Ajax last summer, the Brazilian is still not a foregone conclusion as a starter under Ten Hag and still has a lot to prove. There will therefore be many people who were disappointed by his performance against the Seagulls.
While many were surprised to see Antony stay on the field in the second half, he risked reducing the Red Devils to 10 men by kicking out at Mac Allister and squaring up to Lewis Dunk, taking the sting out of a promising attack that had been launched by Rashford’s superb skill.