Facundo Pellistri

Is Pellistri in the frame to face Brighton?

Wednesday 13 September 2023 07:00

Manchester United fans are already looking ahead to Saturday, when the Reds host Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford in the Premier League.

We’re all still smarting from the heartbreaking late defeat at Arsenal in our last outing and the perfect tonic for that would be another three points at home – Erik ten Hag’s side are bidding to win a ninth straight league game in M16.

The Dutchman’s starting XI – revealed an hour before the 15:00 BST kick-off – will be hotly anticipated, particularly considering the numerous injury absences United are having to contend with, plus the new names that were added to the squad at the end of the summer transfer window.

Sergio Reguilon and Sofyan Amrabat will be among those hoping for a club debut at the Theatre of Dreams, while Rasmus Hojlund is in contention for a starting berth after a promising cameo at the Emirates Stadium earlier this month.

The Debate: Who makes the XI to face Brighton? Video

The Debate: Who makes the XI to face Brighton?

The Debate: Full episode | A home debut for Hojlund? Who starts at left-back and right-wing? We look at the big topics…

ESPN journalist Rob Dawson joined Associated Press colleague James Robson and former United defenders Chris Casper and David May on this week’s episode of our topical discussion show, The Debate, and the panel feels the question of who fills the right-wing spot – with Antony delaying his return to Carrington – is most interesting.

Facundo Pellistri has played from the start in just one of his 12 United appearances, but this could be the ideal time for the Uruguay international to show what he can do from the off, according to Dawson.

“I would quite like to see Pellistri given a shot. Every time he’s come on, he’s looked sharp,” he said.

“I know it’s different coming on and doing it for 10 minutes [compared] to starting a game in the Premier League. It’s completely different, but how do you know he can’t do it if you don’t give him a shot?

“You’ve got a lad there playing regularly for Uruguay and he’s obviously got something about him because you can see that when he comes on for these little 10- or 15-minute spells at the end of games.

“You’re only going to find out how good he is when you start him and it seems a perfect opportunity for him now with selection issues on that right-hand side.

“Whether he gets that chance or not, I’m not sure. Maybe the manager thinks he’s not quite ready but I think he certainly deserves a go in that position to start a game sooner, rather than later.”

Have Brighton improved this season? Video

Have Brighton improved this season?

The Debate: Hot topic | What can United expect from the Seagulls on Saturday? Our panel have differing opinions…

As far as Robson is concerned, Pellistri’s presence in the starting XI could also be good news for Hojlund.

“He [Pellistri] does look like someone who makes things happen,” added Robson. “When I saw Hojlund the other week against Arsenal, I really liked the look of him. He looked fast, strong, really wanted to get involved and get about players.

“He looks like the type of player who probably needs service from wide areas and I think that’s probably a weakness United have got.

“Pellistri probably is that type of player who will feed him, and they need more of that.”