Things got off to a solid, if unspectacular, start against Leicester City at Old Trafford, as they beat Claude Puel’s Foxes 2-1.
Whilst it was not the most free-flowing football from the Red Devils, they secured the all-important three points against Leicester City, thanks to Luke Shaw’s first senior goal and a Paul Pogba penalty.
There is something of a natural imbalance at Manchester United currently, with Alexis Sanchez, Antony Martial and Marcus Rashford all preferring roles on the left, cutting inside, rather than being natural right-sided players.
After losing on the opening day at Vicarage Road, Brighton & Hove Albion will provide a tough test for Manchester United on the South Coast. Mourinho will be well aware a win would set his Red Devils side off to a good start, with six points in six a good start, particularly considering pre-season was a tough period for the Old Trafford Outfit.
Mata’s dropping becomes even more likely if Jesse Lingard feels he is fit enough to be able to contribute. Mourinho explained following the Leicester City game that Lingard was not ready for ninety minutes against the Foxes.
After the World Cup, it may be possible Lingard was suffering fatigue after playing several minutes in England’s World Cup campaign in Russia.
If fit, he simply has to start. He was in-form throughout last season and in the World Cup, and has a fantastic eye for a long-range effort which could make all the difference against the Seagulls. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, he is the man who would likely lose his place to Lingard.
His move from Arsenal has simply not looked to work-out so far.
He is ineffectual in his position at Manchester United, and in a side blessed with good pace he can often seem to slow attacks down. Romelu Lukaku reportedly asked to start from the bench for the Leicester City game on Friday night.
The big Belgian gives United much more of a focal point up front, and his height makes him a major threat from set pieces.