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THE Premier League season is back. And what does that normally bring?

False hope for Man United fans, that’s what.

9New Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag will be in charge of his first Premier League game on SundayCredit: Reuters 9Brighton boss Graham Potter takes his team to Old TraffordCredit: Jamie McPhilimey Get Man Utd at 25/1 OR Brighton at 100/1 - CLAIM HERE*

The new United coach Erik ten Hag has seen his preparations overshadowed by the behaviour of their star striker and talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese international has made it clear that he wants to leave the club in search of Champions League football.

As Ronaldo did not travel on the pre-season tours there are many questions around who will lead the attack for United at the start of the season.

While Manchester United have had a somewhat turbulent pre-season the same cannot be said of Brighton.

Yes, they have lost two of their stronger players with Yves Bissouma off to Tottenham and Marc Cucurella to Chelsea.

Read more on Man UtdBRIGHT AND EARLY How Man Utd could line up against Brighton with Cristiano Ronaldo dilemma

But they have gone about their business calmly and methodically as they always do. 

This all adds up to an interesting encounter this coming Sunday with a stable Brighton side visiting a United team around whom there are still a lot of questions.

Here are three key areas which will dictate Sunday’s outcome.

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In terms of their recruitment, Brighton are a side who work with one eye on the future.

Most read in SportSHOCK LOSS Wife of Arizona Diamondbacks general manager dies at 45 after rare cancer battleBASKETBALL WIFE What to know about Brittney Griner's marriage to her wife Cherelle GrinerBREAK A LEG Boxing fans all saying the same thing as after Wilder's return to the gymTIGER WOE Tiger Woods reveals his career as full-time golfer is OVER after his car crash 9We know that Brighton will play with a three at the back system this coming Sunday and Caicedo appears to be the favourite to take the ‘6’ role at the base of the midfield just in front of the defensive line

Last season we saw them add two players, Enock Mwepu from Red Bull Salzburg and Moises Caicedo from Independiente del Valle, with a view to adding security to their squad in the face of interest in their Malian international midfielder Yves Bissouma.

While Bissouma did not move until this summer both Mwepu and Caicedo had time to settle at the club before they had to step forward to take more responsibility this coming season.

We expect to see Brighton start the match in a 3-5-2 system and this will match up to a 4-2-3-1 from United.

The midfield battle will be key with Ten Hag likely to start with a double pivot at the base of the midfield - Fred and Scott McTominay - while Bruno Fernandes will operate as the ‘10’.

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This will mean that the midfield unit from Brighton will have to be ready to battle to control this key area of the pitch.

With Caicedo likely to play as the ‘6’ and Enock Mwepu ready to play as one of the two ‘8’s we have seen Brighton manager Graham Potter try out different options as the third midfielder across pre-season.

The smart money will be on the third midfielder being one of Alexis Mac Allister or Pascal Gross.

9Potter likes Brighton's central defenders take responsibility for progressing the ball. With Caicedo and MacAllister positioned in the midfield Mwepu takes up positions ahead of the ball.

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Brighton have different options in terms of the styles of midfielders that they can choose from.

Moses Caicedo is perhaps more comfortable in a deeper role where he can break up attacks before playing progressive passes that break the lines and move his team forward.

Enock Mwepu is more of a box-to-box threat while Alexis MacAllister carries a more attacking threat.

The key will be how the Brighton midfield combine to battle a United midfield with the same personnel as last season but a very different model of playing.

Utd will revolve around Fernandes

The appointment of Ten Hag and his coaching staff has re-energised both the playing staff and the fans of Manchester United.

On social media, we saw footage emerge showing some of the training drills that the United players were competing in under their new coach.

One of the biggest takeaways from these videos was that there was a new intensity amongst the United squad with players throwing themselves into challenges and the ball being moved at real speed.

While there are a number of United players who will benefit from a more robust and professional approach from the coaching staff it is perhaps Bruno Fernandes who stands to benefit the most.

The Portuguese international midfielder is an intense individual who is obsessed with football.

Often at times last season, he cut a disconsolate figure on the pitch as United struggled to play with any cohesion.

Get up to £50 cash back with Paddy Power - CLAIM HERE* 9With Tyrell Malacia in possession at left-back position, Bruno Fernandes drops off in the midfield to separate from his marker and take up a position in a large pocket of space.

This pre-season has seen Fernandes get back to approaching his best as he buzzes around the final third and creates danger consistently while United are in the attacking phase of the game.

He has the ability to find pockets of space to receive the ball in the final third as well as the intelligence to attack space around the penalty area.

In this match, the positioning and movement of Fernandes will be key for United as they look to find space to play into in the final third.

Brighton will press aggressively in order to disrupt the United build-up and as such the away team will need to play at tempo in order to break through to the final third.

This will mean that they will need players like Fernandes who will allow them to play quickly into dangerous areas.

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9Fernandes also provides threat when making runs from deep to attack the defensive line and break into the penalty area.

Fernandes is a creative and attacking threat who can affect the game at any point.

One of the keys in this match will surround how Brighton set up to deny him the space that he needs in the final third to be at his most effective.

New look to Utd's attack

With Cristiano Ronaldo increasingly unlikely to feature this coming Sunday, at least from the start of the match, we will see a new look to the United attack with Anthony Martial likely to be given an opportunity to reinvigorate his United career.

Last season we saw Ronaldo typically play as the central striker for United and the Portuguese international forward is explosive in the final third but he does not typically cause trouble with his movement or link-up play.

9Marcus Rashford attack, and Anthony Martial makes a dynamic diagonal run between opposition defenders. This run empties the central space and allows Rashford the opportunity to cut inside to attack towards the goal.

Martial has impressed this pre-season with his willingness to work relentlessly and to threaten space behind the defensive line with his pace and off-the-ball movement.

Last season, when facing a United that were spearheaded by Ronaldo, we would see opposition teams content to play higher defensive lines as they were less worried about the pace of Ronaldo.

Martial forces teams to play deeper with his movement and aggressive runs behind the line.

This movement from Martial will give United options in this game to play longer in order to stretch the play but it will also force Brighton to defend the threat in behind by playing slightly less aggressively with their defensive line. 

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9While Martial threatens to break the defensive line with runs in behind the opposition structure, Fernandes offers options to connect in front of the defensive line. This effectively gives United a high/low combination that is tough to defend. 9How Man Utd could line up against Brighton

The style of play from Martial in offering aggressive off-the-ball movements also plays into the strengths of Bruno Fernandes in the ‘10’ role.

Brighton will have to drop off to defend the space and prevent Martial from making free runs through and into space but in doing so they will give space for Fernandes that he can occupy in front of them to receive the ball.

Who will win?

Even if you add in the 50% pre-season tax (meaning, pre-season friendlies count for absolutely nothing) United already feel in better shape than at any point last season.

Granted, they’ve not had a chance to prove that wrong yet.

With that in mind, you’d fancy them to beat Brighton no matter how well-drilled and pleasing on the eye Potter has the Seagulls being.

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A win for United at Old Trafford will count way more than just three points to the club - equally, a defeat for Brighton won’t cause any major dramas at the Amex.

Flip that around however, and you can already imagine the outcry if Brighton get a win on Sunday.

The new Total Football Analysis Magazine is out now.

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News Source: the-sun.com

Tags: football premier league sport features international midfielder the defensive line this will mean with cristiano ronaldo with cristiano ronaldo brighton in the final third manchester united with his movement different options the start attacking threat anthony martial in terms this pre season bruno fernandes in the midfield this pre season opportunity premier league united players coaching staff fernandes get man utd beat brighton in this match graham potter to defend yves bissouma for united new customers in this match read at any point erik ten hag the midfield in free bets from martial last season in terms play new look attack new look in order the central will be key

Mesmerizing video shows car get its first wash in 10 years so it looks like a totally different vehicle

Next News:

Oregon State spoils Oregon’s season with rivalry upset: CFB media reacts

Oregon State beat Oregon in the Strife Aquatic in a most scrumtrulescent manner imaginable.

What is so civil about war anyway?

In a game in dire need of a new nickname, the Oregon State ground attack ran through the Oregon defense like s**t through a tin horn to win … The Strife Aquatic? Despite half of Reser Stadium being empty (by design), a bevy of boastful Beavers bombarded the boundary between battlefield and bleachers before the clock struck zero. Oregon State improved to 9-3, while Oregon sank to it.

This was the best thing to happen to the Beavers football program since they introduced those celebratory chainsaws.

Oregon State rips victory out of the jaws of defeat to shockingly stun Oregon

The dream of the 90s may be alive in Portland, but the Pac-12 is alive and well in Corvallis. Not since Jonathan Smith was slinging the pill for Dennis Erickson to Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh have the Beavers this utterly ferocious on the football field. Although the Fiesta Bowl will evade them this season, Oregon State just went 9-3 during regular season play, people!

I love my Ducks… however this collapse is not excusable and embarrassing. We got punched in the mouth and had no answer. We have to get tougher as a program. We lost to both Washington and Oregon State. Not acceptable.

— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) November 27, 2022

Oregon State fans after defeating Oregon pic.twitter.com/LtBloW8KV2

— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 27, 2022

BEAVERS WIN ????

Oregon State completes the 21-point comeback vs. Oregon. pic.twitter.com/vUPEpDGUSR

— ESPN (@espn) November 27, 2022

For The Dam. pic.twitter.com/ZDOs3oG5BS

— Oregon State Football (@BeaverFootball) November 27, 2022

This is Smith’s alma mater, but what he is doing in Corvallis finally has the college football world’s attention. Oregon State is regularly one of the bottom-feeders in the Pac-12, yet the Beavers are showing they can more than hang with the emerging glamor program that is Oregon. Nike might be able to provide you with the cleanest of uniforms, but it cannot take the Bo Nix out of Bo Nix.

Oregon State is gonna run out the clock after an absolutely epic meltdown by the Ducks.

Utah will go to the Pac-12 title game now if Washington beats Wazzu.

Oregon will still go if Wazzu wins.

— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 27, 2022

Oregon State deserves all the credit in the world. But Oregon … I need a thesaurus to help me go stronger than collapse

— Heather Dinich (@CFBHeather) November 27, 2022

Oregon State will hold on against Oregon. Beavers have covered 12 straight at home – and have won 11 of last 12 at home

— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) November 27, 2022

FINAL: No. 21 Oregon State 38, No. 9 Oregon 34

The Beavers pull off an absolutely miraculous comeback, going from down 21 to winning by 4 in the span of one quarter.

Thats a rivalry win for the orange and black in Corvallis.

— Carter Bahns (@carterbahns) November 27, 2022

Nix devolved into the peak Auburn version of himself before our eyes. It was as if he was playing against Georgia for the fifth time. He may have wanted another shot at the Dawgs, but this loss might sting worse than the 49-3 defeat at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This loss potentially knocks the Ducks out of the Pac-12 championship game. They need a Washington State win badly now.

OREGON STATE COMPLETES THE COMEBACK!!!???? pic.twitter.com/lq4sglrLax

— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 27, 2022

Oregon State beats Oregon by completing 6 passes all game. Excellent work all a-ground

— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) November 27, 2022

oregon state has decided it can and will just run over the ducks pic.twitter.com/BeuoyvOgel

— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) November 26, 2022

Gotta give Oregon State lots of credit. Completely stolen momentum from the Ducks. Crazy swing. Like a different team physically. Lead 38-34. This is nuts.

— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) November 26, 2022

Ultimately, this was a complete and utter meltdown for Dan Lanning and his staff. This is only his first season as a head coach at any level, but you cannot lose like this to your little brother rival in-state. He will get this thing right in Eugene, but the coaching is too good in the Pac-12 to walk into a place like Reser Stadium and demand victory. The Beavers played the full 60 minutes to win this.

Congratulations to Coach Smith on what is the biggest victory he has had leading his alma mater!

Next: Red Flags: 5 CFB teams on upset alert in Rivalry Week

For more College Football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage by FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff rankings, be sure to bookmark these pages.

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