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Player Ratings: Manchester United 2-0 Brighton

Ratings in after the win…

Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Here are the player ratings from Manchester United’s win over Brighton.

David De Gea: 7/10

Made some huge saves when called upon. Distribution was questionable though.

Diogo Dalot: 6/10

Did his job. Takes up good positions which is massive for the midfield rotations when in possession.

Victor Lindelof: 7/10

Looked assertive on the ball and wasn’t afraid to step out and engage a bit higher. United’s centerbacks did well for themselves considering how often they were put into questionable decisions.

Harry Maguire: 7/10

Very solid performance out of United’s captain, which have been coming more frequently recently after a horrid start of the season. Cleaned up some messes in the first half when the midfield decided not to offer any protection. Seemed to be focusing more on the defensive part of his game as he didn’t do many Maguire things on the ball as we’re used to.

Luke Shaw: 6/10

Got up and down the left side nicely and did a good job snuffing out any Brighton attacks down that flank.

Scott McTominay: 4/10

I’ve never seen a midfielder have less awareness of space. Tethered the line tonight between being poor and just being irrelevant, which is really bad for a midfielder in the Manchester United setup.

Fred: 5/10

Looked very rusty in the first half after recovering from COVID and making his first start in two weeks. Worked off the rust to pick up his game in the second half.

Antony Elanga: 4/10

Unlike Marcus Rashford, Elanga seems to generally be struggling adapting his game to playing on the right. Looked like an academy graduate tonight but hey, can’t expect him to be great every night.

Bruno Fernandes: 5/10

Opening the game as a more withdrawn midfielder in a 4-3-3 neutered him a bit. The change to a 4-2-3-1 didn’t seem to wake him up either. Came alive in the last 15 minutes but still missed a sitter that could have killed the game. Got his goal with the final kick of the game.

Jadon Sancho: 6/10

Was United’s lone bright spot in the first half despite this easily being his worst match in quite some time.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 5/10

As he’s given multiple interviews this season where he’s stated “my job here is to score goals” he can go home this week feeling like he’s earned his £500k/week wages. Continues to be terrible on the ball and missed two chances that “a Cristiano Ronaldo would finish.”

Substitutes

Paul Pogba: 6/10

Came on for 20 minutes and just looked to be enjoying himself out there. Made some passes to remind us what good midfielders could do, and had good awareness to restart things quickly after getting fouled to earn him an assist.

Marcus Rashford: N/A

Yea let’s just forget about this one.

Alex Telles: N/A

A left back coming on to play left wing is the definition of a “just go out there and have fun kid” appearance.

Manager

Ralf Rangnick: 4/10

Shakeup of the starting XI made sense given Elanga’s form and Pogba’s fitness. What didn’t make sense was trying to start the match in a 4-3-3 with Scott McTominay as the deepest midfielder. Rangnick has tried this several times already this season and it’s horrifically failed each time as United fail to gain any sort of control in midfield. Took him less than 24 minutes to change to a 4-2-3-1.

The change helped United out defensively but didn’t add anything else as they lacked control and passing ability in midfield. Was odd that Rangnick didn’t make any changes at halftime, though I guess you can argue he had a plan for minutes for certain players that he really wanted to stick to. A 90 second span where Ronaldo scored and Brighton went down to 10 men changed the game state and certainly allowed him to stick to his plan a little bit longer.

It was only when Brighton went down to 10 men that the game started to look like an even 11v11, which itself is a bit of an indictment against United. In the end it wasn’t that different from the previous two matches. United flooded their opponents goal and missed some sitters. Meanwhile Brighton managed to create more than both Burnley and Southampton but just couldn’t put it in the net. That’s football.

Ultimately whatever your view of Ralf Rangnick is this match will serve to reaffirm it. If you’re a fan of what he’s building there’s enough on view to reaffirm your position that this team is heading in the right direction. If you’re still skeptical of Rangnick there was certainly enough on display to give you reasons to remain skeptical, especially as United get ready for a much more difficult run of games.