Saturday afternoon was a depressing day as Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United lost 3-1 to Brighton in the Premier League.
Brighton scored a lovely second goal to secure their lead before substitute Pedro smacked in a third.
Despite a fantastic goal from youngster Hannibal Mejbri to pull the game back to 3-1, United fell to their third defeat of the season.
#1 – Ten Hag’s tactical change
Ten Hag set his players up in a midfield diamond formation, with Casemiro at the base. Eriksen and McTominay were in the middle, with Fernandes at the tip of the four, and Rashford and Højlund making up the front two.
The goal was to force Brighton to play out wide rather than through the middle, but it was from their right-hand side that De Zerbi’s men were able to play the ball into Welbeck from for him to score their opening goal.
The idea simply did not work. Ten Hag’s men were completely outplayed in what was an embarrassing result for the Red Devils.
#2 – Højlund’s first start
Højlund, all things considered, was a huge positive on his first start for the club and Old Trafford were not wrong to boo the decision to substitute him for Martial at 64 minutes.
He was unlucky to have a goal ruled out in the first half due to the ball being millimetres out of play just prior to his finish, but regardless, he completely changed the way United were able to play.
He was strong, quick, smart, and aggressive – all traits that an Old Trafford striker must possess in order to succeed.
#3 – VAR causes more drama
Rasmus Højlund’s disallowed goal was due to the ball being claimed as out of play moments before he scored – but this was only through VAR, which claims that the referee made an error by originally allowing the goal.
However, the one camera angle that shows it being out does not provide evidence beyond doubt that a mistake has been made, meaning… is it actually a clear and obvious error?
If it is not actually a clear and obvious error, then surely they cannot rule the original decision, so in theory, the goal should have counted.
#4 – Reguilón’s debut
Coming in as an emergency signing to replace the injured Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia, Reguilón had a great performance.
He worked hard, pressed well and progressed the ball whenever he could – an overall positive despite the embarrassing loss.
With games coming thick and fast over the next few weeks, he will no doubt be needed often by Erik ten Hag.
#5 – Life goes from bad to worse
Amid the sagas involving Mason Greenwood, Antony, and Jadon Sancho, Ten Hag’s life as United manager keeps getting worse.
Despite positive moments in several games, the club have lost three of their opening five fixtures in the Premier League, and are sitting well into the bottom half of the table.
Questions need to be asked, and answers need to be given – something has to change, and quickly.
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