Manchester United Eyes Rebound From UCL Ouster in FA Cup vs. Brighton

Manchester United has a chance to win one trophy this season, and its quest for the FA Cup continues vs. Brighton in the quarterfinals.
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After stinging disappointment in midweek with the Champions League last 16 loss to Sevilla, Manchester United will be looking to Saturday to bring the opportunity to steady the ship and push towards the FA Cup final.

The quarterfinal tie against Brighton will see the two sides matched up for the second time this campaign, the previous proving to be a close encounter in which an Ashley Young goal secured all three points for the Red Devils.

With three wins from three in domestic competition, Jose Mourinho's side were in a strong run of form which was capitalized with a big 2-1 win over rivals Liverpool last weekend.

Meanwhile Chris Hughton's Brighton had been on a seven game unbeaten run themselves before last weekend's 2-0 loss at Everton - a Gaetan Bong own goal and the suspension of Anthony Knockhaert proved match deciding.

But with two sides suffering from a blip within the last seven days both managers will be keen to get their sides back on track.

Things are looking comfortable in the league standings for the Seagulls, currently in 11th position with a seven point gap to 18th-placed Crystal Palace.

This means that the away side can take confidence from the fact they are close to safety with only eight league games left and no pressure on them going away to such a big side in the cup, which could make things interesting on Saturday evening.

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Classic Encounter

From these two sides previous 17 encounters in all competitions, United have come away victorious on 11 occasions with only five draws between the two sides since their first meeting in 1909.

The one match unaccounted for is the one win Brighton have ever managed over this legendary Manchester United side, looking back through 36 years of football will bring you to the last time Brighton beat United in the old First Division.

The 6th November 1982 was the historic day for the sea-siders and a goal from forward Peter Ward proving the difference on the day, as the hosts saw off a United side boasting the likes of Bryan Robson and Norman Whiteside at the old Goldstone Ground.

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Key Battle

Eric Bailly vs Glenn Murray

Something that will prove crucial for United is keeping Glenn Murray quiet, with the striker in the form of his life in front of goal.

With support from the creative talents of Pascal Gross it will prove crucial for the athletic center back Eric Bailly to be at his alert best to hush Murray out of the game, starving him of service and making sure not to give the 34-year-old the gift of a penalty.

But United have been strong at the back this campaign and with David de Gea between the sticks, they should have enough to quell the threat of the in form forward.

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Team News

The home side will be pleased with the news that a host of names could be set to make potential returns to Mourinho's side on Saturday.

Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial returned to the United bench on Tuesday night and could both see a place in the starting lineup, meanwhile defenders Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo could be close to a first team return.

Daley Blind (ankle), Ander Herrera (thigh strain) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be a few unlikely to appear at the weekend with a variety of issues plaguing their respective returns.

The big miss for the visitors will be the loss of Anthony Knockhaert to a suspension after picking up a red card late against Everton last week.

They will also miss the likes of Steve Sidwell (back), Isaiah Brown (knee) and Jiri Skalak (ankle) as they make their way back to full fitness.

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Despite a big loss in midweek for United and some of the wind blown out of their sails, Mourinho's team should be focussed enough to grasp this opportunity to forward their silverware ambitions with a crucial win this weekend.

This will by no means an easy game for the Red Devils and Hughton will be very aware of the massive pressure on the home side all of a sudden, if the tactics are correct on the day Brighton can pile the misery on United.

Should they pull off another close-to unthinkable result it would bring a great deal of criticism onto the Portuguese United boss.

But with three previous matches against Derby, Yeovil and Huddersfield bringing eight goals and none conceded United will be keen to keep yet another side out on their way to a record equaling 13th FA Cup - bringing them level with Arsenal.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Brighton