Manchester United looking to finish the season strong against Brighton ahead of Wembley
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Manchester United looking to finish the season strong against Brighton ahead of Wembley

19/05/24 03:51

Erik ten Hag’s men take a trip down to the South Coast to face Brighton and Hove Albion on the final day of the 2023-24 Premier League season. With an inferior goal difference to their competitors for the final European spots, United may be focusing on their path to the Europa League via the FA Cup final, however a win in the league is still ever so important. On the other side, Brighton will look to pick up three points and hope Bournmouth lose against Chelsea to secure their place in the top 10 after a difficult season.

How can Manchester United qualify for Europe?

Outside of the Champions League spots which have already been confirmed to be Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa, we will not know who from the Premier League will be playing in Europe until after the FA Cup final, as the winners are awarded a place in the Europa League.

As always, fifth place in the Premier League will qualify for the Europa League, which as it stands is Tottenham. Should Manchester City win at Wembley, as they have secured Champions League football their place will go to the team that finishes sixth. This would be either Chelsea or Newcastle depending on the final day results, due to United’s goal difference they cannot qualify this way regardless of a win at Brighton. In this case, should United win and Newcastle lose they would receive a place in the Conference League by finishing seventh in the league.

If United can beat their city rivals at Wembley, they will qualify for the Europa League and in this case the team that finishes sixth in the Premier League will take the Conference League spot, with seventh missing out on Europe altogether.

Head to head

Manchester United Sunday following what has felt like a long awaited win, beating Newcastle 3-2 at Old Trafford. Facing a struggling Brighton team they will look to build some confidence ahead of next week’s trip to Wembley with a win.

Brighton are in struggling form, with just one win in their last five games, a run that has included 4-0 and 3-0 thrashings to Manchester City and Bournemouth respectively as well as Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss to Chelsea.

The hosts have given United some tough games in recent times though, including a 3-1 victory in the reverse fixture earlier this season and they will be hoping for a repeat performance.

Team News

Not much has changed on United’s front. Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw may be close to a return for England’s Euro campaign, with the former potentially in line to return in the FA Cup final, however both will miss Sunday’s match at Brighton. Lisandro Martinez and Marcus Rashford could feature more heavily after featuring as late substitutes against Newcastle. Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof returned to the training pitch alongside Maguire, though it is unclear how much, if at all, they will feature in Sunday’s lineup.

Brighton will likely be without captain Lewis Dunk who picked up a knee injury midweek against Chelsea. Joel Veltman and Jan Paul van Hecke also missed the loss to Chelsea, with van Hecke already ruled out for Sunday and Veltman doubtful. Pervis Estupinan, Evan Ferguson, Jack Hinshelwood, Solly March, James Milner and Kaoru Mitoma all remain injured, whilst Joao Pedro and Valentin Barco will likely play after returning to the lineup midweek.

Sunday will also be Adam Lallana’s final game for Brighton after announcing he will be departing the club this summer.

Player to watch

It feels rare that I pick a Manchester United player for my player to watch, however Amad Diallo has earned the pick for this match. Having made the most of his chances in the past couple of weeks, including a wonderful strike against Newcastle for United’s second goal, he’s likely in line to start again Sunday and should have plenty of chances to do damage against a weakened Brighton back line.

Match officials

Referee: Craig Pawson. Assistants: Marc Perry and Steve Meredith. Fourth official: Oliver Langford. VAR: Darren England. Assistant VAR: Neil Davies.

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