Manchester United’s season reached a new nadir losing 4-0 to Brighton at the Amex Stadium, in Ralf Rangnick’s penultimate game in charge of the club.
As bad as United were though, Brighton were terrific and full value for the comprehensive scoreline.
Moises Caicedo opened the scoring after 15 minutes when he drilled a low effort past David De Gea from 25 yards out.
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It appeared Graham Potter told his side to go for the jugular during the break and they did just that, doubling the lead in the 49th minute when Leandro Trossard pulled back for Marc Cucurella to blast into the roof of the net.
Eight minutes later there was another goal, the pick of the bundle, when Cucurella brought down a fantastic long pass from goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, then found Trossard in the box. He slid a ball through to Pascal Gross who calmly pushed the ball past the sliding Raphael Varane with his right foot, before sliding home with his left.
Unbelievably, the lead was four just before the hour mark when former Red Devil Danny Welbeck lofted a ball over De Gea and Diego Dalot’s goal-line clearance was deflected over the line by Trossard – whose performance certainly deserved a goal.
The result means United will end the season with their worst points tally ever in the Premier League, under the 64 accumulated in 2013-14. They currently have 58, and could yet slip to the seventh place they finished in under David Moyes.
Brighton rise to ninth and look set for the first top-half, top-flight finish in their history.
TALKING POINT – Time for a big gamble?
Brighton owner Tony Bloom made a lot of his fortune from gambling – be it poker or sports betting. His preference for Asian Handicap (where you get back a lesser amount if the preferred result does not eventuate) suggests a man who believes in stealthy accumulation rather than big moves. So it has been at Brighton with the team now set for their best finish in the club’s history. That said, there cannot have been an onlooker this season who pondered what the Seagulls might have achieved with a top striker. The team built by Potter has a central midfield which can mix it with the very best in the Premier league, a well-organised defence and a number of bought-in talented players capable of ensuring the ball spends a lot of time in dangerous areas. They will challenge for one of the two lesser European competitions next year anyway but could seriously contend for a Champions League berth if they can bring a top striker to the Amex Stadium. If the gamble is worth doing at all, surely it would be now.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Leandro Trossard (Brighton)
You could share this award around probably six Brighton players, but the Belgian player was at the hub of so much of their fantastic creative play. This included two assists for the goals, but there were many more fine passages of play where he helped forge opportunities for his team. As much talent as Belgium have he will not look out of place alongside them in the World Cup at the end of the year.
Brighton: Sanchez 8, Veltman 7, Dunk 7, Cucurella 8; March 8, Caicedo 8, Bissouma 7, Trossard 9*; Gross 8, Mac Allister 7; Welbeck 7.
Subs: Webster 6, Lampey 6, Maupay 6.
Man United: De Gea 6, Dalot 7, Lindelof 5, Varane 5, Telles 6; McTominay 5, Matic 6; Fernandes 6, Mata 6, Elanga 5; Ronaldo 5.
Subs: Fred 6, Cavani 7, Maguire 7.
15′ GOAL FOR BRIGHTON! Gross had a shot blocked on the edge of the box and it fell 25 yards out to Caicedo who drilled a low dart into the corner beating De Gea.
42′ BIG MISS FROM WELBECK! Varane lost a long kick from Sanchez in flight and mis-controlled feeding Welbeck just outside the area and only requiring him to lob De Gea to score but he shins the ball and it goes high and wide.
49′ GOAL FOR BRIGHTON! Trossard pulls back to Cucurella from the by-line and the defender slammed the ball high into the roof of the net giving De Gea little chance.
58′ GOAL FOR BRIGHTON! Brilliant football. Cucurella raced down the left and fed a ball into Trossard who then slid through to Gross who danced around Varane and slid a ball past De Gea to make it three.
59′ GOAL FOR BRIGHTON! It’s four! What a night for Brighton. The first home win of the year was worth the wait. Welbeck lifted the ball over the ‘keeper and though Dalot cleared the ball off the line it hit Trossard before going into the net. They are now checking for VAR.
65′ OFF THE POST! The United defence is ridiculously open. Mac Allister puts through Gross who returns a ball to create an open goal for the Argentine but Dalot gets back to clear the ball against the post and out.
- 120 – The number of years in which Brighton have failed to finish in the top half of the top-flight.
- 7 – The number of consecutive victories over Brighton United had enjoyed before this match.
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