Potter Casts Spell On Manchester United As Ten Hag's First Game Ends In Defeat

Brighton secured a 2-1 win, their first ever victory at Old Trafford
16:00, 07 Aug 2022

There was a tactical genius on the touchline. But in Erik ten Hag’s first game as Manchester United manager it was Graham Potter that stole the show as he unleashed a perfect gameplan that saw Brighton secure their first ever win at Old Trafford.

In the 2-1 win that saw Pascal Gross score a first half brace, all the attention may have been on the Dutch boss, but in the other dugout, Potter unleashed a spell. His side lined up in a 3-4-2-1, but it was the way they implemented the game plan that was so eye-catching. 

His wide players were wingers in the form of Solly March and Leandro Trossard and they played so far forward that the United defenders were flooded at times. Gross, who bagged the two crucial goals picked up pockets of space, and Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister were so energetic throughout the first half. 

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Then we come to the front man Danny Welbeck, who caused problems all afternoon with his runs in behind. He bullied Lisandro Martinez at times and he sprung the offside trap again for the opener as Trossard played him through. The former Manchester United man, one of only two Premier League title winners on the pitch, squared the ball across to Pascal Gross who had the simplest of finishes. 

The first goal was good, but the second was even better. Brighton broke in style and the ball came to Solly March who hit a shot towards goal. David de Gea could only parry the effort to Gross who finished into the roof of the net. Old Trafford was stunned. Silenced. Angered. 

The Red Devils were booed off at half-time after a tepid showing, but in truth they were just being beaten by the better team. The second half was a marked improvement and seven minutes in, Cristiano Ronaldo was introduced. 

Welbeck was denied a stonewall penalty as Martinez shoved him over in the box and VAR ignored it. Having already missed the McTominay red card, this was another shocking decision from the officials. 

United came to life in the second half and should have pulled one back when Ronaldo broke free and squared the ball to Rashford who was denied by a wonderful save from Robert Sanchez. Having missed that key chance, he squandered a difficult volley at the back post, before Eriksen had a long-range drive saved by the Spanish keeper. 

From the resulting corner however, United got the all-important first goal back. Sanchez floundered at the cross and then a combination of him, Mac Allister and Diego Dalot bundled the ball in. It was a complete mess of a goal, but it changed the complexion of the match. 

The crowd were suddenly right behind their team and the tide had turned. With Ronaldo on the goal presence was there. However, Brighton also posed a threat of their own as Potter looked to stem the onrushing tide that was coming their way. 

“Can Manchester United score? They always score" Clive Tyldesley famously said in 1999, but this time, they didn’t. Lewis Dunk threw his body on the line to deny a Martinez driven effort and that was that. 

Brighton managed the game beautifully as they secured their first win ever at Old Trafford, having lost 12 of their previous 14 visits. Potter, despite selling Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella in this window, has shown he is one of the finest managers in the league. 

For Ten Hag, the misery begins. It was a memorable occasions for all the wrong reasons for the red side of Manchester, as the Seagulls head back to the south coast with all three points. 

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