… as Brighton challenge for title this season

Erik ten Hag’s side slump to nightmare defeat as impressive Seagulls heap more misery on struggling hosts at Old Trafford, with the result piling yet more pressure on manager Erik ten Hag.

Erik Ten Hag side were aiming for a response to their bruising 3-1 defeat away to Arsenal a fortnight ago, with an array of problems off the pitch dampening the mood at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils have now lost three of their opening five matches and only narrowly edged out Wolves and Nottingham Forest in their other two fixtures.

Manchester United’s woes continued as they were comprehensively beaten 3-1 by Brighton at Old Trafford. Danny Welbeck, Pascal Gross and Joao Pedro all found the target for the stunning Seagulls and despite Hannibal Mejbri’s consolation goal for the home side, were able to see out a comfortable win against Erik ten Hag’s side, who also saw their 31-match unbeaten home run in all competitions ended.

Danny Welbeck returned to haunt Manchester United by scoring his first goal of the season in Brighton’s assured 3-1 victory against his old club.

Roberto De Zerbi’s accomplished men move up to fourth in the Premier League table, three points behind leaders Manchester City, after producing another slick performance in claiming an almost flawless fourth win of the campaign.

Welbeck converted an inviting cross from Simon Adingra on 20 minutes after a delightful dummy by Adam Lallana to enable the incoming former England forward to finish expertly from seven yards.

United thought they had equalised via Rasmus Hojlund’s finish on 40 minutes, but VAR deemed Marcus Rashford had failed to keep the ball in play from the cutback.

Pascal Gross added the second with another fine low finish on 53 minutes from Tariq Lamptey’s pass before the creative Lamptey picked out substitute Joao Pedro to rifle a superb third for the visitors on 71 minutes.

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United substitute Hannibal Mejbri drilled home a consolation from distance for Erik ten Hag’s outclassed side two minutes later.

Brighton have won their last four league games against United as they also brutally ended their 31-match unbeaten home run in all competitions.

Meanwhile, much of the talk before Saturday’s match focussed on United coach Erik ten Hag and his issues with dropped winger Jadon Sancho, who criticised his manager following the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal a fortnight ago.

While it is easy to berate United for their tactics in defeat, a lot of the credit should go to the display of Brighton, a slick, composed and clinical side who continue to impress with their strategic excellence in the Premier League.

They made six changes from the side that filleted Newcastle 3-1 at the Amex a fortnight ago. Yet still collected the three points with plenty to spare.

Brighton finished sixth last season to qualify for the UEFA Europa League, but they have improved under their erudite coach De Zerbi this year.

They are up to fourth in the table, only three points behind leaders Manchester City and one off second-placed Tottenham and Liverpool. Indeed, Brighton is challenging for the title this season.

Leicester City showed what can be achieved with genuine momentum in 2016, and this expressive, energised Brighton side are playing as well as any team among England’s elite at the moment.

While Brighton turned a drama into a crisis at Old Trafford, in other matches, Spurs, Man City, Liverpool and Aston Villa all came from behind to win.

It was tumultuous stuff, with four come-from-behind victories in six Premier League games.