Plenty has changed since Manchester United last faced Brighton

Manchester United host Brighton on Sunday, looking for a second home victory within four days.

Plenty has changed from a United perspective since their last meeting with the Seagulls, in January.

There may only be three players who played in that 2-1 victory who take to the field on Sunday.

That shows just how much evolution has taken place on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s watch in a relatively short space of time.

Who played back in January?

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David de Gea started between the sticks, with Diogo Dalot and Ashley Young deployed as full backs.

Victor Lindelof partnered Phil Jones at centre half, in a defence which was breached by Pascal Gross in the 72nd minute.

Nemanja Matic anchored midfield with Ander Herrera providing the energy which gave Paul Pogba the platform to go on and attack.

Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial lined up on either side of the 4-3-3 which brought Solskjaer so much success during his interim reign, alongside Marcus Rashford.

First half goals from Pogba – from the penalty spot – and Rashford sealed the win but the side which plays on Sunday could look very different.

Just how much has changed?


De Gea should again play in goal but he may be behind an entirely different back four.

Summer signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and academy graduate Brandon Williams should start at full back, with Harry Maguire also expected to play.

Solskjaer is hopeful Lindelof can round off the back four, but Marcos Rojo may be required to round off the new-look backline, and Young is suspended.

Scott McTominay has truly usurped Matic, while Pogba’s injury and Herrera’s departure has handed Fred a run of games alongside him.

The 4-3-3 has largely been replaced by a 4-2-3-1, in which Andreas Pereira looks the most likely candidate to play as the number ten.

Rashford and Martial should play but have switched positions since January; the Frenchman’s superior hold-up play has seen him moved into the central striker role.

Lingard could play on the right – ensuring four familiar faces from the January win – but Daniel James got a midweek rest and will expect to play ahead of him, with Mason Greenwood also a more viable option right now.

For a variety of reasons, Solskjaer’s options on Sunday will look very different to the ones he had under a year ago but he will hope for a similar result.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.