The Manchester United supporters have been drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern this week after their heroes were dumped out of the Champions League by Sevilla on Tuesday evening.
Manchester United were the firm favourites to progress to the quarter-final of the competition when they faced Sevilla at Old Trafford earlier this week, but they failed to demonstrate their supposed superiority all evening long and they were punished for their lacklustre performance by the Spaniards who could hardly contain their delight at the full-time whistle. The result has left Jose Mourinho with only one trophy remaining to potentially win this season, so the importance of United’s FA Cup clash against Brighton today simply cannot be underestimated.
Wissam Ben Yedder was the hero for Sevilla on Tuesday night as he came off the bench and scored a quick-fire brace to send his side into the quarter-finals. He offered a threat which had been lacking from both sides all night long, and the quality of his performance suggests that Brighton could enjoy some luck in behind United’s defence today.
United will be hurting from their midweek result, so it’s likely there will be weaknesses for the travelling Seagulls to exploit. One man who United will certainly have to keep a close eye on is Brighton’s top-goalscorer Glenn Murray (valued at £2.7 million by Transfermarkt), as he has the potential to end United’s quest for a trophy this season if he is not dealt with effectively by the defence.
At 34-years-old, the majority of fans and pundits had written Murray off at the beginning of the season, but so far he has firmly silenced his doubters by notching an impressive 13 goals from 30 appearances so far. Although Murray certainly lacks a yard or two of pace, he makes up for his physical shortcomings with his poacher’s instinct and intelligent positioning in the opponents’ penalty area.
Murray will not be the Brighton player to embark on dazzling runs and upset the defenders all afternoon, but he is an elusive player who has a habit of finding himself in the right place at the right time, and if United don’t ensure he is man-marked at all times today then they could be set to face their second exit from a major competition in the space of a week.