Football Features

“They’re not up to it” – Player rating as Brighton batter and beat Man Utd to spoil Ten Hag’s debut

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 16:24, 7 August 2022

In a dynamic afternoon of football, Brighton played Manchester United off the park to win their first-ever game at Old Trafford.

The Seagulls were giving as good as they got and then, after taking the lead half an hour in, they took control and dominated the whole game. Erik ten Hag couldn’t rouse his men and lost his first game in charge as Graham Potter’s men bagged their first-ever win over the Red Devils.

Here’s how the players rated at Old Trafford:

Manchester United

David de Gea – 3 – Should have done better on both Brighton goals. In the first he half-commited but never really dove onto Welbeck’s cross, leaving his goal open for Gross to score. And on the second goal his weak-wristed save was responsible for sustaining the attack.

Diogo Dalot – 4 – Soft defending on both Brighton goals, especially the second where he was way out of position and forced Fred to cover for him. His presence bothered Brighton for United’s goal, at least.

Harry Maguire – 4 – An immobile statue for the first Brighton goal, playing Welbeck onside then doing nothing to track the run of Welbeck, forcing Martinez to come across and do his job for him. He then also didn’t track Lallana, forcing Shaw to come across and do his job for him, leading to Gross being free at the back-post.

Wasn’t at fault for Brighton’s second goal, and his height panicked Robert Sanchez into a mistake which led to the United goal, which are the nicest things you could say about his day.

Lisandro Martinez – 7 – By far the best United defender he probably should have given away a penalty, which just about sums up how shockingly United defended as a whole. Were it not for Martinez’s interventions, this could have been even uglier than it was.

Luke Shaw – 4 – Such a slack bit of defending for Brighton’s second goal. Offered very little in attack and wasn’t great defensively. Proved why Tyrell Malacia should be Manchester United’s starting left-back as soon as next week.

Scott McTominay – 2 – Lucky to stay on the field after a shocking tackle on Caicedo. United would probably had been better off were he dismissed, such was the ineptitude on display whenever he was on the ball, or off it.

“The decision-making and football intelligence from midfield [was poor],” lamented Roy Keane after the match. “Fred and McTominay; not good enough. They won’t get Man Utd back competing at the top. We see it week in and week out, they’re not up to it.”

Fred – 3 – Didn’t protect his defence, didn’t advance the ball, completed just 80% of his passes as a central midfielder, lost Gross for Brighton’s second goal and was less than useless on the first as well. He’s a good player, is Fred, but he had a horrible day.

Bruno Fernandes – 4 – He tried, for sure, but nothing worked. He couldn’t seem to link up with any of his team-mates and he missed a very good chance in the first-half too.

Jadon Sancho – 4 – Looks devoid of the energy and verve he had been showing in pre-season. Probably not fit.

Marcus Rashford – 3 – What has happened to him? Missed two glorious chances, one of which was ruled out for offside

Christian Eriksen – 7 – Some lovely passes and runs, but in general looked out of sync where he was making smart passes while most of his team-mates were making dumb runs, or showing poor control upon reception of his passes.

Manchester United Substitutes:

Cristiano Ronaldo (for Fred 53′) – 5 – Occupied defenders but didn’t do much beyond that.

Donny van de Beek (for McTominay 78′) – 5 – Showed some gusto.

Alejandro Garnacho (for Fernandes 90′) – n/a – Came on late.

Anthony Elanga (for Sancho 90′) -n/a – Came on late.

Tyrell Malacia (for Shaw 90′) -n/a – Came on late.


Robert Sanchez – 4 – Had been solid until his amazing save from Marcus Rashford was cancelled by an offside, and he then messed up defending a corner and gifted United a route back into the game.

Joel Veltman – 8 – Defended really well for the most part.

Lewis Dunk – 8 – Held the fort in the middle of defence, combating United’s attacks with ease. Pulled off a superb block to stop Martinez’s potential equaliser late on.

Adam Webster – 8 – Looked very comfortable against whichever attacker United threw at him.

Alexis Mac Allister – 7 – Unlucky to score an own goal after Sanchez’s error.

Moises Caicedo – 9 – Absolutely sensational. Survived McTominay’s amputation attempt and formed a one-man brick wall in front of his defence with a game-high 3 interceptions and 4 tackles, plus he created 3 chances to really complete a dominant display.

Solly March – 7 – Worked hard up and down the sides of the pitch, ensuring United could never gain superiority out wide.

Adam Lallana – 8 – A vastly intelligent display dipping between the lines and crashing spaces with sharpness.

Pascal Gross – 8 – Continued his personal torture of Manchester United with a brilliant brace. Was superb up and down the flanks and appeared at the right moments to apply the finishing touches to two brilliant Brighton moves; once from the right, once from the left.

Leandro Trossard – 8 – A sublime performance from the Belgian, tormenting United out wide where the full-backs couldn’t live with him. His brilliant through-ball led to the first Brighton goal and his wicked shot caused the second. A decisive display.

Danny Welbeck – 9 – An outrageous display from the former United striker (who looked desperately like they could do with having Welbeck back in red). He ran the channels so smartly, linked with his team-mates excellently and ran the United defence ragged.

Harry Maguire in particular looked terrified whenever Welbeck got on the ball, and justifiably so as Welbeck was relentless. Bagged a huge assist for Brighton’s opener and should have won a penalty in the second-half.

“Brighton have taught Man Utd a lesson in every department in that first-half; shape, passion, desire, everything,” said Karen Carney at half-time. She was right, too; Brighton had been superb and the main reason for that was the selfless and smart play of Danny Welbeck.

Brighton Substitutes:

Tariq Lamptey (for Trossard 76′) – 6 – Ran nicely but couldn’t match the rhythm of the game.

Enock Mwepu (for Lallana 76′) – 6 – Did well.

Levi Colwill (for March 90′) – n/a – Came on late.

Deniz Undav (for Welbeck 90’+5) – n/a – Came on late.