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GARY NEVILLE has predicted Manchester United to finish sixth in this season's Premier League.

The Red Devils kick off their campaign at home to Brighton on Sunday in what will be Erik ten Hag's first game in charge.

2Neville does not think Man Utd will finish in the top four this seasonCredit: Rex 2Man Utd begin their Premier League season on Sunday against BrightonCredit: Getty

But Neville, who won eight Prem titles with Man Utd, is not of the belief that his former side will make the top four this season.

Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: "I don’t think United with their current squad will finish fourth," before he then predicted a sixth place finish.

He then added the caveat: "But if they bring [Frenkie] De Jong and a striker in it’s a different story."

Barcelona midfielder De Jong has been linked with a move to Old Trafford all summer but a deal is still yet to materialise.

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United have looked an improved side in pre-season with just one defeat from six friendly matches.

However, it remains to be seen whether they can hit the ground running in competitive action.

And Neville is well aware how tough a home clash with Brighton will be.

"I don’t know what will happen Sunday," the former England right-back said.

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"I liked what I saw pre-season, but Brighton at Old Trafford will be tough."

Brighton thumped United 4-0 at the Amex Stadium towards the end of the 2021/22 campaign as interim boss Ralf Rangnick's stint at the club continued to unravel.

But since then the Seagulls have lost midfielder Yves Bissouma to Tottenham and more recently left-back Marc Cucurella to Chelsea.

READ MORE ON MAN UTDIN THE RON Neville 'disappointed' in Ronaldo as legend slams 'unpalatable' transfer saga'thinks he's 18!' Richards hails Prem return by mocking Man Utd icon Gary Neville's CLOTHES

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Cristiano Ronaldo will start the match.

The Portuguese superstar has made it clear his desire to leave the club this summer and has taken part in very little of Ten Hag's pre-season preparations.

However, Anthony Martial has been ruled out of the season opener through injury and that could mean United are forced into bringing Ronaldo back despite the ongoing speculation surrounding his future.

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Tags: football premier league ten hag’s premier league gary neville finish sixth old trafford

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College Sports | Pac-12 football preview: The top-10 trap games for 2022

Trap games are difficult to project — they require specific circumstances — but fairly easy to define.

This explanation comes courtesy of Football Outsiders: “Team X has a ‘trap game’ when it plays team Y but it’s looking forward to playing team Z the following week. If team X falls into the trap, they underperform against team Y, possibly losing a game that they would be expected to win easily.”

We examined the 2022 Pac-12 schedule and pegged the following 10 games as likely instances of underperformance by the favored team based on what lies ahead, behind or both.

Admittedly, the dynamics will shift as the season progresses, eliminating some traps and creating new ones.

Listed in chronological order. Trap victims in italics.

North Dakota State at Arizona (Sept. 17): An easy call given that the Wildcats open with San Diego State on the road and Mississippi State at home, then must get revved up to face NDSU in Week Three. The Bison are an elite FCS program that has produced two current NFL quarterbacks (Trey Lance and Carson Wentz) and poses a steep challenge under any circumstances.

Fresno State at USC (Sept. 17): If you watched the Bulldogs take down UCLA last September, this stands as trap game of the highest order for the Trojans, who will be between conference road games against teams that slapped them around last year (Stanford and Oregon State).

Cal at Washington State (Oct. 1): Straight out of the Trap Games 101 manual. We expect the Cougars to have their minds on the recent past (a home date with hated Oregon), their eyes on the immediate future (a visit to USC) and their focus on everything but the task at hand against an opponent they dispatched handily last season.

Oregon at Arizona (Oct. 8): Longtime Oregon fans are well aware of the program’s history in the desert, and someone will undoubtedly brief Dan Lanning. But will players who were in kindergarten when Dennis Dixon’s knee buckled take seriously this seemingly innocuous Week Six task, which immediately follows a home game against the Ducks’ chief nemesis (Stanford) and precedes a needed bye week? We’re skeptical.

Washington State at USC (Oct. 8): Combine an easy win last year in Pullman with the season-defining challenge awaiting USC one week later — a trip to Utah — and we have the ultimate Trojans trap. If nothing else, it should offer a  peek inside Lincoln Riley’s ongoing attempt to change the culture and create accountability.

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Colorado at Cal (Oct. 15): Mediocre teams can encounter trap games, too — and that’s precisely the expectation here. The Bears blitzed CU last season in Berkeley, will be fresh off a bye and casting an eye ahead to their triple-whammy stretch against Washington, Oregon and USC.

Stanford at UCLA (Oct. 29): The Bruins will either be flying high or completely deflated a week after facing Oregon in Eugene in what could be a matchup of ranked teams. Along comes Stanford, ready for its 13th victory over UCLA in the past 15 years.

Oregon State at Washington (Nov. 4): This shouldn’t remotely resemble a trap for Washington after its loss in Corvallis last season. (For that matter, no game should be a trap for UW.) And yet, we suspect that’s exactly how it will play out as the Huskies emerge from a bye and have their sights set on Oregon the following week.

Stanford at Utah (Nov. 12): On the short list of easily-identified trap situations. We expect the Utes to be in the playoff race at this point, with next-level buzz about their upcoming trip to Oregon. After they played name-our-score against the Cardinal last season, urgency will be sorely lacking.

Arizona at UCLA (Nov. 12): The final trap of the conference season is set in the Rose Bowl, with the Bruins gearing up for USC the following week and the Wildcats staggering into town with a sub-.500 record. But Arizona has been known to conjure a next-level performance in Southern California. This feels like the perfect spot.

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