Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United meet on Sunday for the second of this season’s FA Cup semi-finals. United will hope victory can arrest the concerns raised during their midweek Europa League exit in Sevilla but have drawn a tough tie against a Seagulls side continuing to push the boundaries of what can be achieved with less money but good ownership and recruitment.
I’ve gone ahead and collated stats for both teams across this Premier League season to help you land a winning bet builder today. Using my Stats Pack Guide alongside the numbers below is a good way to make the most of the data as well.
Brighton won’t want to let this opportunity pass and will go with their strongest available XI to keep fans dreaming of what they never thought possible 15 years ago. They were already without Tariq Lamptey, Jason Steele and Adam Lallana before the 2-1 victory at Chelsea cost them wonderkid Evan Ferguson and Dutch international Joel Veltman.
Manchester United academy graduate Danny Welbeck and Paraguayan teenager Julio Enciso are most likely to replace them in the XI.
Erik Ten Hag rarely rests key personnel and with this being such a big fixture, it’s unlikely he will do so here despite their midweek trip to Spain. Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford played the whole second half on Thursday while Tyrell Malacia also returned to the squad and all three are likely to return to the starting XI here.
Shaw and Malacia should provide left-footed balance to the defence, with Rashford likely to replace Jadon Sancho, who was hooked at half-time. Wout Weghorst is expected to replace the injured Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes should return.
The biggest change at Brighton this season has been their ability to match their impressive xG numbers with actual goals, scoring and creating at 1.86 per game on average from 15.52 shots per game, 5.76 of which are on target. Further evidence of their impressive form this season comes with their defensive numbers, conceding 1.16xG per game from just 9.24 shots.
Their attacking approach means they accrue 6.41 corners per game and concede 3.52, numbers that aren’t too far behind that of Manchester City and they don’t need to be dirty to achieve their results either, obtaining 1.31 cards and drawing 2.34 from their opposition.
Manchester United may be higher in the league but they aren’t reaching the same numbers as Brighton. They are averaging 1.53 goals scored and 1.23 conceded across the season with 1.64xG created and 1.29xG against. Ten Hag has opted for an open style and his side are taking 14.63 attempts at goal but conceding 12.63 per game. They are at least more accurate than their opposition with 5.13 efforts on target in comparison to 3.7 punted in David De Gea’s direction.
The open nature of United’s game sees them concede more corners (5.53) than they create themselves (4.97) while they also fall foul of the referee more often than their opponents, accruing 2.17 cards in comparison to 1.3.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Brighton create a lot of opportunities at goal and it’s those in the forward areas that are unsurprisingly key to that, regulars Danny Welbeck, Solly March and Alexis Mac Allister averaging around 2.4 to 3 shots per game and around one shot on target per game.
Julio Enciso is one to watch, his early minutes in English football seeing him accrue 6.65 shots per 90 and 4.2 on target. Elsewhere, Pascal Gross is often trusted with set-pieces and averages 1.03 shots per game and Lewis Dunk has had two shots at goal in four of his last seven starts.
Unsurprisingly, it’s Marcus Rashford and Antony that stand out for Manchester United, given they are allowed to stay so high up the pitch. Elsewhere, United tend to rely upon their midfield with Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes and Casemiro not afraid to have a pop at goal either from open play or set-piece situations. They’re not the most accurate, mind.
Player Goals and Assists
For all their efforts this season, Brighton haven’t been able to rely upon an out and out goalscorer, reliant on a collection of players to find the net. Danny Welbeck has scored just four goals and Evan Ferguson is unavailable here but their midfield of Alexis Mac Allister, Solly March, Kaoru Mitoma and Pascal Gross have been able to support. March has chipped in with seven goals and seven assists while Gross has six goals and assists to his name.
Marcus Rashford has been the star for Manchester United this season and heavily relied upon, scoring 15 goals, at least ten more than his team-mates. Bruno Fernandes is next with five and also chipped in with six assists while team-mate for Christian Eriksen has seven assists to his name, helped by his delivery from set-pieces.
Brighton are a side that like to dominate the ball, averaging 59.8% of the ball and having more possession than their opposition in every game played since the World Cup break, including games against Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. Much of that possession comes from deep where Lewis Dunk averages over 80 passes per 90 minutes and partner Adam Webster makes over 70. Pascal Gross averages 55.8 over the season but will likely have more of the ball starting at right-back.
Manchester United would prefer to be a dominant side but may fall short against a Brighton side superior with the ball so we may see lower numbers than average here. Luke Shaw averages over 60 passes per 90 and if he starts at centre-back, he will see more of the ball than he would normally do at left-back. Casemiro and Christian Eriksen average just shy of 60 passes per 90 and may see more if United are chasing the game after an early setback.
Brighton Cards and Fouls
Moises Caicedo is the feistiest member of the Brighton and Hove Albion side, committing 1.99 fouls per 90 and receiving eight yellow cards. To fit the combative South American narrative, his midfield partner and World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister has picked up seven yellow cards and commits over a foul per 90. Pervis Estupinan and Solly March see less cards but do commit 1.36 and 1.51 fouls per 90.
Antony is the key match up here for Brighton, the tricky former Ajax man completing nearly four dribbles per 90 and being fouled 1.38 per 90, more than any other Manchester United player. Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes are intelligent enough to draw fouls in the middle of the park, being fouled more than once per 90, the former being fouled at least twice in three of his last four matches.
Matchups to watch
Pervis Estupinan vs Antony
Alexis Mac Allister vs Casemiro
Moises Caicedo vs Bruno Fernandes
Manchester United Cards and Fouls
Like Brighton, it’s a combative South American that is often in trouble with referees for Manchester United, Casemiro committing 2.26 fouls per 90 and receiving seven cards for his troubles – he will have his hands full against a fluid Brighton & Hove albion midfield too. Left-backs Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia enjoy a ticking off, with a high number of fouls per 90. Shaw has also received six yellow cards, the same number as Bruno Fernandes.
It’s Brighton’s combative midfield pair of Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister that draw the most fouls, both being on the end of over 1.5 per 90. Teenager Julio Enciso is a livewire, committing to 6.5 dribbles per 90 minutes played and being fouled 1.38 times per 90, ensuring their midfield opponents will have plenty to deal with this weekend. Solly March also likes to get at his opponent, committing to just shy of 3.5 dribbles per 90 and drawing 1.36 fouls.
Matchups to watch
Casemiro vs Julio Enciso
Tyrell Malacia and Luke Shaw vs Solly March
Bruno Fernandes vs Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
A huge game for both. Brighton have the chance at getting their hands on a major trophy, whilst United will be looking to do the cup double. Some tasty selections here, and you can find them below.
Brighton vs Manchester United
Antony averages 3.49 shots per 90 and 1.32 on target
The Brazilian has has at least two or more shots in his last six games
Antony has had a shot on target in five of his last seven matches
Brighton & Hove Albion average 6.41 corners per game
Manchester United concede an average of 5.53 corners
Craig Pawson averages 3.89 cards per game
Manchester United received 2.17 cards per game
Brighton & Hove Albion draw 2.34 cards from opposition
Picked up two or more yellow cards in four of last five games.
Casemiro commits 2.26 fouls per game
Committed 2 fouls on Thursday night
Up against central midfield that draw a combined 4.53 fouls per 90