Manchester United face Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday night in the first of four remaining fixtures in the 2017/18 season. Here's everything you need to know ahead of the game...
Setting the scene: The Reds begin the final month of the season with our penultimate away league game against Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday night. A win for Jose Mourinho’s men would be a huge step towards securing second place in the Premier League, which would be our highest finish in five years. It’s also a huge game for the Seagulls, who could guarantee their top-flight status for next term by gaining all three points. United haven’t travelled to Brighton for a league game since 1982 and, in our first Friday league game of the season, it’s the first opportunity for the Reds faithful to visit the Amex Stadium.
How can I watch? Friday’s game kicks off at 20:00 BST and will be broadcast live in the UK on Sky Sports. MUTV subscribers on Sky or Virgin Media, the MUTV app, or online at MUTV.com can enjoy build-up to the match from 18:00 BST on the Match Day show and listen to radio commentary of the game, before watching it in full on Sunday from 18:00 BST. You can also keep up with all the action as it happens via ManUtd.com’s live match blog and our official Twitter account @ManUtd.
What’s the team news? It remains to be seen whether Romelu Lukaku will feature after our top scorer was forced off in the second half of last Sunday’s 2-1 home win over Arsenal with an injury. Goalkeeper Sergio Romero is the only other known concern for the Reds, but the boss could give an update on the squad in his pre-match press conference on Thursday. As for the Seagulls, Davy Propper is available following a three-match ban for his red card against Huddersfield last month. Seagulls boss Chris Hughton faces a dilemma whether to recall the Dutch midfielder or stick with Beram Kayal, who has done well in Propper’s absence.
How have we been doing? The Reds have won six of our last seven games in all competitions and have picked up 21 points from the previous eight league games. United have also won each of the last three Premier League games on the road – against Bournemouth, Manchester City and Crystal Palace. But, despite being in good form, the boss will be aware that his side have lost both away league games against the other two promoted teams this season – 2-1 at Huddersfield in October and 1-0 at Newcastle United in February.
What about Brighton? The Seagulls have drawn three of their previous four games in the league, but have failed to win any of their past seven in all competitions. However, Brighton have proved a tough nut to crack at home and have only lost one of their last seven Premier League games at the Amex. The home support on the south coast often acts as a 12th man and appears to have had a detrimental effect on other top-six teams. Hughton’s men beat Arsenal 2-1 at the start of March and were unlucky to only earn a point against Tottenham in a 1-1 draw a fortnight ago.
A new away day for our supporters... Friday’s clash will be United's first-ever visit to the Amex Stadium, Brighton's home since 2011. The club played six years of Championship football there before gaining promotion to the Premier League last season. The 30,000-seater venue is located four kilometres from Brighton’s main train station and is a sophisticated modern stadium.
Friday's match will be United's first visit to Brighton's Amex Stadium since the 30,750-capacity venue opened in 2011.
One to watch: After netting 23 times to help Brighton achieve automatic promotion from the Championship last term, Glenn Murray is the club’s leading scorer again with 14 goals so far this term, chipping in with several important strikes. His impressive form has also led to talk of an England call-up and, although the 34-year-old has only scored once in his last seven outings, the Reds defence will have to keep a close eye on the prolific frontman.
What’s our record like against them? The two clubs have met on 18 previous occasions, half of those coming in league games. United have emerged victorious against the Seagulls 12 times and have only lost once. This will be the third occasion that the teams have met this season, with the Reds winning both of the previous encounters.
What happened earlier in the season? Brighton have been a tough opposition for United this season and, in the reverse fixture in the league at Old Trafford, the Reds struggled to break down the Seagulls’ organised defence. It took an unfortunate own goal from Lewis Dunk, who deflected in Ashley Young’s shot, to secure all three points for Jose’s men in November. United also met Brighton at home en route to the Emirates FA Cup final, when goals from Lukaku and Nemanja Matic gave the Reds a 2-0 victory in the quarter-finals on a freezing Saturday evening in March.
Goals: United 2 Brighton 0Video
United 1 Brighton 0Video
Who’s the referee? Craig Pawson will be in the middle at the Amex on Friday. The Sheffield whistler has officiated United five times this season – most recently in the Reds’ 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford on 10 March. With Pawson in charge, Jose’s men have won three, lost one and drawn once this term. Stephen Child and Stuart Burt are the assistant referees, while Stuart Attwell will be the fourth official.
Craig Pawson will referee his sixth United game of the season against Brighton on Friday night.
Rivals Watch: There’s a crucial encounter in the battle to join United in securing a top-four finish on Sunday, as the Reds’ Emirates FA Cup final opponents Chelsea welcome UEFA Champions League finalists Liverpool to Stamford Bridge. Here’s the full fixture list:
Friday 4 May
Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United (20:00 BST)
Saturday 5 May (15:00 BST unless stated)
Stoke City v Crystal Palace (12:30 BST)
Bournemouth v Swansea City
Leicester City v West Ham United
Watford v Newcastle United
West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur
Everton v Southampton (17:30 BST)
Sunday 6 May
Manchester City v Huddersfield Town (13:30 BST)
Chelsea v Liverpool (16:30 BST)
Arsenal v Burnley (16:30 BST)