7th August, 2022
Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag got his first baptism of the Premier League Sunday, with a 2-1 shock loss on Day One of the Premier League to Brighton at Old Trafford.
Pascal Gross scored the visitors two goals in the first half, within nine minutes, the first goal via an assist by Danny Welbeck, an old United and Arsenal player.
United got on the goal sheet in the 68th minute with an own goal by Alexis MacAllister.
Although United dominated possession 63-37 and had 11 shots towards goal, they were undone by the visitors’ goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, who blocked five shots.
Marcus Rashford will lament his loss, when his shot towards goal was deflected by the keeper.
United fans’ hopes that the off-season would mark a turning point have faded, with the club failing to make major moves yet in the transfer market and there was a grim familiarity to the club’s opening match.
The former Ajax coach witnessed a performance that was every bit as disjointed as those produced under his predecessors Ralf Rangnick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season.
The sense that this was a continuation of last year’s decline began before kick-off where there were yet more loud and angry protests against United’s owners, the American Glazer family, under the South Stand
If that felt familiar, then the sight of Scott McTominay and Fred in midfield as United laboured against Graham Potter’s superbly drilled side was verging on deja vu.
United had been shambolic in their 4-0 loss at Brighton in May and, even with debuts for defender Lisandro Martinez and midfielder Christian Eriksen, little felt new or changed about the performance.
Brighton took the lead on the half-hour with Leandro Trossard finding former United forward Danny Welbeck who squared the ball to the back post for Gross to slot home.
Nine minutes later, Gross doubled the lead, with his sixth career goal against United, after David De Gea had poorly pushed out a Solly March drive right into the path of the German who again made no mistake.
Ten Hag introduced Cristiano Ronaldo in the 53rd minute and the Portugal forward, who is reported to want to leave the club, provided the spark for United’s attempted comeback.
The home side gave themselves a foothold in the 68th minute when a goalmouth scramble ended with Alexis Mac Allister turning the ball into his own net but Brighton held on for a second straight win against United and their first ever at Old Trafford.