Man United v Brighton
Saturday 19 January, 15:00

Gunning for seven

United are aiming for a magnificent seven under new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, having stretched their winning streak to six with last week's 1-0 victory at Tottenham.
That was Solskjaer's toughest task to date and he got the better of Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino even if David De Gea had to keep out a barrage of Tottenham shots in the second half.
Sixth-placed United have made up ground rapidly and are now behind Arsenal only on goal difference, although still six points off Chelsea in fourth.
Eric Bailly has finished a three-match ban but fellow defender Chris Smalling is still battling to recover from a sore foot. Alexis Sanchez, who missed the trip to Wembley with a hamstring strain, could be available.

Mid-table security

Brighton are coming off last week's 1-0 home defeat by leaders Liverpool, which ended an unbeaten four-match run against top-flight opposition in league and cup.
Chris Hughton's side lie 13th in the table on 26 points, a comfortable eight points clear of the relegation places. At the same stage of last season they were in a much more vulnerable position, just three points inside the safe zone.
Goalkeeper Mat Ryan and winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh are both away on Asian Cup duty. Forward Jose Izquierdo and midfielder Yves Bissouma look set to miss out with injury, but Bernardo could return from a hamstring strain.

Attacking verve

United have won all three home games under Solskjaer, although their form at Old Trafford was already solid enough with their sole home defeat in domestic competition being the 3-0 against Tottenham in August.
The difference under Solskjaer has been the attacking verve, in marked contrast to the often turgid displays of the Jose Mourinho era. United have scored nine goals in the new manager's three home games and the Tottenham match was the first in which they had scored fewer than two goals home or away.
Brighton continue to show a marked discrepancy between their home and away form - eighth best at home, fifth worst away - and since joining the Premier League last season they have lost all nine trips to big-six teams in league and cup (eight of them to nil).
The most common scoreline has been 2-0 (five times), which indicates Brighton can make things difficult but without threatening a big upset.
A United win to nil is a good shout at 2.04 but, given the respective scoring power of the two sides, the bet that appeals is United to win by a decent margin.
The advice is United off -1.5 on the Asian handicap at 1.90, which is a winner if the home side claim victory by two goals or more.
Given that United could win to nil and might be more inclined to press on under Solskjaer's leadership, there is the possibility of a convincing victory.

Old Trafford seeing plenty of goals

Solskjaer's first three matches were high-scoring with goals for both teams, but the last three have been more restrained with United winning to nil.
Overall United's matches have been on the higher-scoring side this season with 77% of their Premier League games going over 2.5 goals and a league-leading 55% over 3.5 goals.
That has much to do with their defensive frailties and it is a question of whether the last three matches under Solskjaer are a sign that he has the answer at both ends of the pitch.
Brighton tend to keep the score down and 55% of their Premier League matches this season have had under 2.5 goals.
Seven of their nine away games against big-six teams since the start of last season have had under 2.5 goals. The exceptions were when they conceded three at Manchester City and four at Liverpool late last season, and it would be a big statement if United could do something similar.

Opta Stat

Manchester United have never lost a home match against Brighton in all competition (W8 D2), winning the last four in a row without conceding. United are 2.04 to win to nil.
Back Man United -1.5 on the Asian handicap at 1.90

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