Manchester United take on Brighton on Tuesday and are in desperate need of three points after two draws in succession. – Sport Media News

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Results may not reflect it, but the switch to a 4-3-3 formation has been a positive one for Manchester United.

There remain glaring problems, of course there does, the biggest of which being that United have now gone three games without a victory and even finishing in the top four is becoming tougher and tougher but there are some slight signs of improvement.

For the opening 45 minutes of United’s last three games, they have played pretty well. They were up against a calibre of opposition where that should be the norm but against Middlesbrough and Burnley they absolutely dominated. Playing high-tempo, exciting football and created countless chances.

In both of those matches, Ralf Rangnick’s side should have had the game won by the break but failed to take their opportunities and allowed their opponents back into the match. The side’s continued frailty when met with any setback then ensured that wins were not forthcoming. But, those first-half displays were certainly promising.

The biggest beneficiary of the switch has been Jadon Sancho. Back into a formation, he’s more accustomed to from his time at Borussia Dortmund, the winger has finally started to come to life over the last fortnight and is beginning to show why United spent so many years courting his signature.

Paul Pogba has also slotted back into the side seamlessly following his return from injury and has put in some decent displays as he looks to end his time at United on a high.

One of the major problems though, as is well-documented, remains in defensive midfield. Scott McTominay has done an admirable job in the role but it’s clear he wants to burst forward from the shackles placed on him, with the discipline needed for the role not quite there, and he has often been swamped in the middle of the park.

A lack of options has meant that Rangnick has had to persevere with McTominay at the base of midfield but that could change for Tuesday’s meeting with Brighton, which is United’s final game in hand and a bit of a must-win in the race for a Champions League place.

Fred is now available again after he missed the last two matches and, any fitness concerns following his bout of Covid-19 aside, could come straight into the starting XI.

The Brazilian hasn’t played alongside Pogba in the new formation yet and he might just be the missing piece to get it working even better.

Fred is much more defensively minded than McTominay, is a more robust tackler and has better tactical acumen which could really suit him to the role. Rangnick has missed his energy and tenacity in the middle of the park and Fred holding the fort while Fernandes and Pogba play further up the pitch could be the catalyst in a turnaround in results.

That’s not to say Fred will be perfect in the position or that United don’t need to sign one in the summer because they desperately do. But it might just be enough to stop the rot and get United back to winning ways again.

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Manchester United welcome Brighton to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Tuesday night.

The fixture was originally scheduled to be played in December but it was postponed after a Covid-19 outbreak at United.

United head into the game after yet another draw at the weekend. Although the Reds looked strong in the first half against Southampton and Jadon Sancho scored the game’s opener, Che Adams brought his side level just after the interval.

That result means United have now drawn their last three games 1-1 across normal time (Middlesbrough, Burnley and Southampton).

Brighton have drawn more games (12) than any other Premier League side and that suggests the points could be shared again.

Regarding team news, Edinson Cavani, Nemanja Matic and Eric Bailly are unavailable through injury.

Manchester United have included midfielder Fred in the squad for this evening’s Premier League clash against Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford.

The Brazilian international, who turns 29 next month, has missed United’s last two matches after testing positive for Covid-19 in the days that followed the Reds’ shock FA Cup defeat to Championship side Middlesbrough earlier this month.

The midfielder stepped off the bench that evening late on, just days after arriving back in the UK following a spell with the Brazil squad on international duty. Therefore, the midfielder has only played for United five times in 2022 so far, missing three matches.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Monday, United interim manager Ralf Rangnick confirmed that the Brazilian would be available for the visit of the Seagulls.

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has revealed that those inside the Everton camp have been hugely impressed by the level of quality that Donny van de Beek has added to the squad.

The United midfielder, who joined the Reds from Ajax back in September 2020, joined Everton on loan for the remainder of the season on the final day of the January transfer window, in a bid to secure some much-needed first-team football.

Van de Beek had fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford and was desperate to secure a temporary move away from the club. Several clubs expressed an interest in his services but it was Everton that won the race for his signature.

Although he has so far only made two appearances for the Toffees, the second of which saw him earn his first start for the club against Leeds United on Saturday, he has already had a big impact on the squad.

That is according to Ferdinand who has been in discussion with sources within the Everton inner circle, who have issued but nothing praise for the Netherlands international.

Ferdinand told Vibe with Five: “I’ve been speaking to a few people at the club and they’ve said that he’s gone in there and lifted the levels, training-wise.

“[He’s a] great lad, first and foremost, but you can see. A lot of them are going, ‘Wow, he’s this good, they must be unbelievable at Manchester United if he can’t get in’.”

Since joining United more than 16 months ago, Van de Beek has been restricted to just 50 appearances in all competitions, making it easy to understand why he was so keen to secure a temporary exit.

After making his home debut for his new employers on Saturday, the United loanee told the club’s TV channel: “I am really happy to play 90 minutes, but in the last 20 minutes I felt it was a long time ago that I played a full game and I was a little bit tired,” added the midfielder. “But now I can make steps.

“I think I can help the team but still there is space for improvement. I was sharp, took many balls and made some good decisions on the ball – but I am always critical and always can do better.

“I am happy to play my first game – but it is not about me, it is about winning games for the Club and the team and I am here to help.”

Manchester United are back in action on Tuesday evening as they take on Brighton at Old Trafford.

After successive 1-1 draws with Burnley and Southampton last week, a return to winning ways is paramount for Ralf Rangnick’s side in the top four race, especially as the match is United’s last game in hand.

Should United be victorious then they will leapfrog West Ham back into fourth after the Hammers were unable to capitalise on United’s dropped points when they could only draw with Leicester City on Sunday.

Fred is available again for the hosts after returning to training following a bout of Covid-19 and Eric Bailly is also back on the pitches at Carrington after an ankle injury though it’s not clear if the centre-back is fit to play.

Manchester United have included midfielder Fred in the squad for this evening’s Premier League clash against Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford.

The Brazilian international, who turns 29 next month, has missed United’s last two matches after testing positive for Covid-19 in the days that followed the Reds’ shock FA Cup defeat to Championship side Middlesbrough earlier this month.

The midfielder stepped off the bench that evening late on, just days after arriving back in the UK following a spell with the Brazil squad on international duty. Therefore, the midfielder has only played for United five times in 2022 so far, missing three matches.

Results may not reflect it, but the switch to a 4-3-3 formation has been a positive one for Manchester United.

There remain glaring problems, of course there does, the biggest of which being that United have now gone three games without a victory and even finishing in the top four is becoming tougher and tougher but there are some slight signs of improvement.

For the opening 45 minutes of United’s last three games, they have played pretty well. They were up against a calibre of opposition where that should be the norm but against Middlesbrough and Burnley they absolutely dominated. Playing high-tempo, exciting football and created countless chances.

Harry Maguire’s performance is set to be scrutinised closely tonight as Manchester United welcome Brighton to Old Trafford.

The Reds are without a win in three matches and have kept just one clean sheet across their last six, causing unrest amongst United fans.

A large portion of their frustrations have been aimed towards Maguire who has been accused of performing at a below-par level for much of the campaign so far.

This has led to calls for the defender to be dropped and stripped of the club captaincy by manager Ralf Rangnick, yet for now, the German seems unwilling to make such a drastic decision.

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has confirmed that summer signing Raphael Varane is now in a strong enough position to start a high volume of fixtures in a short space of time.

Following his arrival at Old Trafford from Real Madrid six months ago, Varane experienced a stop-start first few months at the club because of injury problems, derailing his progress and adaptation period.

However, the Frenchman, who will be looking to help his country defend their World Cup crown in Qatar later this year, has seemingly overcome his injury woes in recent weeks, starting all of United’s eight games in 2022 so far.

Manchester United have appointed Rick McGagh as their Head of Fan Engagement in chief executive Richard Arnold’s first addition since replacing Ed Woodward.

The appointment has come in a bid to strengthen relations with fans in order to ensure the interests of supporters remains paramount to the club’s decision-making.

McGagh arrives in the post as a member of the Fans’ Forum and Fans’ Advisory Board, and has followed the club home and away for a quarter of a century.

French giants Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly planning to offer Manchester United midfielder a ‘lucrative salary’ in an attempt to lure him to the Parc des Princes, a report by Daily Mail claims.

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Pogba is out-of-contract at Old Trafford at the end of the season and he is not expected to put pen to paper on a new deal.

PSG have been identified as long-term admirers of the midfielder and are reportedly stepping up their plans to take Pogba back to his homeland.

French giants Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly planning to offer Manchester United midfielder a ‘lucrative salary’ in an attempt to lure him to the Parc des Princes, a report by Daily Mail claims.

Pogba is out-of-contract at Old Trafford at the end of the season and he is not expected to put pen to paper on a new deal.

PSG have been identified as long-term admirers of the midfielder and are reportedly stepping up their plans to take Pogba back to his homeland.

Manchester United will be looking to arrest their run of three games without a win in all competitions when they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Old Trafford this evening.

United, who have won their last six meetings with the Seagulls in league and cup, were forced to settle for a second consecutive 1-1 draw in the Premier League on Saturday against Southampton, despite taking a first half lead through Jadon Sancho.

Considering United had squandered a one-goal lead against Burnley a few days earlier, it piled even more pressure on the players and interim manager Ralf Rangnick to turn things around in their pursuit of a top-four finish.

Since Ralf Rangnick took charge at Old Trafford, Manchester United have been tipped to sign a number of top Bundesliga players including Denis Zakaria and Amadou Haidara to name but two.

The rEDS opted against chasing the pair in January – and saw Zakaria join Juventus on the cheap – but ahead of the summer transfer window, Christopher Nkunku’s name has emerged as the latest on the club’s radar.

Unlike Zakaria and Haidara, Nkunku is a forward rather than a midfielder, but he’s one of the most versatile players around and has showcased an ability to essentially play anywhere during his time in Germany.

Manchester City will become the first English club to experience a Champions League knockout stage without the away-goals rule when on Tuesday they face Sporting Lisbon in the first leg of their last-16 showdown.

City, who took another giant stride towards retaining their Premier League crown with a 4-0 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday evening, will travel to the Jose Alvalade Stadium looking to make an encouraging start to the knockout phase of the competition.

However, their showdown with the Portuguese outfit will feature a key difference to European knockout matches of the past, with away-goals rule no longer part of the tie-deciding criteria.

Back in June last year, UEFA confirmed that they had reached an agreement that would see the away-goals rule scrapped from the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League from this season onwards.

Making the decision to abolish the rule, UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin, speaking at the time, said: “The away goals rule has been an intrinsic part of UEFA competitions since it was introduced in 1965.

“However, the question of its abolition has been debated at various UEFA meetings over the last few years. Although there was no unanimity of views, many coaches, fans and other football stakeholders have questioned its fairness and have expressed a preference for the rule to be abolished.

“The impact of the rule now runs counter to its original purpose as, in fact, it now dissuades home teams – especially in first legs – from attacking, because they fear conceding a goal that would give their opponents a crucial advantage.

“There is also criticism of the unfairness, especially in extra time, of obliging the home team to score twice when the away team has scored.

“It is fair to say that home advantage is nowadays no longer as significant as it once was. Taking into consideration the consistency across Europe in terms of styles of play, and many different factors which have led to a decline in home advantage, the UEFA Executive Committee has taken the correct decision in adopting the view that it is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight than one scored at home.”

UEFA did consider scrapping the rule back in 2018 but it failed to receive such significant levels of support as it did last summer.

Whilst City will be the first English club to experience the Champions League knockout stages without the rule in place, Manchester United will also experience for the first time when they face Atletico Madrid in the first-leg of their last-16 showdown in the Spanish capital next week.

Meanwhile, both Liverpool, who face Inter Milan in Italy on Wednesday night, and Chelsea, who will lock horns with Lille next week, will also have to adjust to the rule change, which is reported to have gained support from former United manager Jose Mourinho and current Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel in recent years.

With the rule having been removed, ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs will not be decided on the number of away goals scored.

Instead, two 15-minute periods of extra time at the end of the second leg will be played to try and settle the contest. If the scoreline is to remain the same, a penalty shoot-out will determine the outcome of the tie and decide who progresses to the next stage of the competition.

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