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Ten Hag will not be able to turn Man United into title challengers once again overnight, but the Dutchman will be expected to lead a top-four charge this season, with the team potentially challenging the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal for the positions behind Manchester City and Liverpool.
The Red Devils only picked up 58 points last term, which left them 13 points off the top four, which is an indication of the ground that needs to be made up in the coming season, especially with both Tottenham and Arsenal improving their squads with some impressive signings.
Man United have only managed to make three signings this summer, bringing in Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez, while the speculation surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo‘s future has dominated the last four weeks, making it an uncomfortable start to his reign for Ten Hag.
The 20-time English champions played six pre-season games in total, beating Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace in their first three games, before drawing with Aston Villa, losing to Atletico Madrid and drawing with Rayo Vallecano in their final three.
The Red Devils will face Brentford (A), Liverpool (H) and Southampton (A) in their three fixtures after this one, and it will be fascinating to see where they are in the table heading into the clash with Leicester City at the start of September.
Man United boss Ten Hag revealed during Friday’s press conference that Anthony Martial is out of the contest due to a hamstring problem, which could open the door for Ronaldo to start through the middle.
A lack of minutes this summer are likely to count against the Portuguese, though, which could mean that Marcus Rashford moves central, with Anthony Elanga coming into the side in a wide position.
Much could depend on whether Jadon Sancho overcomes an illness in time, as the England international has not been pictured in training this week and was not referenced by Ten Hag during his discussion with the media.
There could be a debut at the heart of the defence for Lisandro Martinez, while Malacia could get the nod over Luke Shaw at left-back, with the Englishman absent last weekend through illness.
Facundo Pellistri (ankle) and Brandon Williams (unspecified) are likely to be absent, while Mason Greenwood remains suspended by the club.
As for Brighton, Potter revealed during his pre-match press conference that he has a fully-fit squad aside from Jakub Moder, who is a long-term absentee with a knee injury.
Cucurella’s departure could open the door for Solly March to play as the left-sided wing-back, while Alexis Mac Allister is set to start after shaking off a groin issue.
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Leandro Trossard scored three times against Espanyol last time out and will also feature in an attacking area, with Danny Welbeck potentially leading the line against his former club.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Dalot, Maguire, L Martinez, Malacia; Fred, McTominay; Sancho, Fernandes, Elanga; Rashford
Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Webster; Lamptey, Mwepu, Gross, March; MacAllister, Welbeck, Trossard