Mason Greenwood completed Manchester United’s spirited second-half fightback as they came from behind to beat Brighton 2-1 at Old Trafford.
Danny Welbeck headed the Seagulls into a deserved lead against his former club (13) with a lacklustre United having failed to register a single shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.
But Marcus Rashford restored parity with his 19th goal of the season before Greenwood stooped to head in Paul Pogba’s mis-hit as Brighton’s resolve was broken.
The result comes as a relief for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose side stay second on 60 points – meaning Manchester City still require a further 11 to be confirmed as champions. Brighton stay 16th, six points clear of the relegation zone.
Man Utd: Henderson (6), Wan Bissaka (6), Lindelof (7), Maguire (7), Shaw (7), Fred (7), Pogba (7), Greenwood (7), Bruno Fernandes (8), Rashford (8), Cavani (6).
Subs: James (6), van de Beek (6), McTominay (n/a).
Brighton: Sanchez (7), White (7), Dunk (7), Veltman (6), Gross (7), Bissouma (6), Lallana (7), Moder (6), Trossard (7), Maupay (7), Welbeck (7).
Subs: Mac Allister (6), Jahanbakhsh (n/a), Zeqiri (n/a).
Man of the match: Bruno Fernandes.
Even during off days, Fernandes can be so lethal. He was subdued for large parts of the first half, but as Brighton faded, United’s talisman came to the fore. Fernandes provided four key passes, more than any other player while he also had the most number of shots (3).
He might have sulked and stropped after being clattered into by Veltman having provided the assist for Rashford’s equaliser, but instead he clicked into gear and was involved in the match-winner, setting up Pogba whose dragged shot fell kindly for Greenwood.
Fernandes has been directly involved in five goals in three Premier League appearances against Brighton (3 goals, 2 assists). Fernandes has been involved in more Premier League goals since his debut than anyone else (42 – 24 goals, 18 assists).
United consolidate second at start of big week
Brighton were seeking to win three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since October 2018, and Graham Potter stuck with the same team that dismantled Newcastle in their previous fixture before the international break.
United welcomed back Edinson Cavani, and they came close to breaking the deadlock inside nine minutes when Bruno Fernandes’ cross was headed out only as far as Mason Greenwood but his low shot struck Robert Sanchez’s left-hand post.
United had won five successive meetings with the Seagulls but that was as good as it got for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men in the first half as the visitors began to assert themselves – and they edged in front four minutes later.
Pogba’s slack pass inside to Fred was gobbled up by Pascal Gross as Neal Maupay was sent on his way down the right channel. Luke Shaw gave the forward too much time to shape a cross that was met by Welbeck, forcing a smart save with the legs from Henderson but the ball looped back up and was headed over the line at the second attempt.
In doing so, Welbeck became the first player to score as many as three Premier League goals against United after leaving the club.
If Solskjaer expected an immediate response, he didn’t receive it. Instead, Potter continued to encourage his players forward and Brighton were unfortunate not to double their lead when Henderson showed sharp reflexes to tip over Lewis Dunk’s header from a Gross free-kick.
The Seagulls sniped time and again in the opening period, with Pogba and Fernandes both guilty of giving the ball away regularly – and Henderson was fortunate when he spilled another Gross set-piece having collided with Harry Maguire.
“It seems ridiculous this Brighton team were involved in a relegation battle six-pointer last time out,” Sky Sports’ Peter Smith commented at the break. “They’ve gone toe-to-toe with the second-placed team in the league, away from home, and looked the better side so far tonight.
“The potential of this team is far beyond their current league standing.”
United had failed to have a shot on target in the first half of a Premier League game at Old Trafford for the first time since August 2019 against Crystal Palace – but they finally tested Sanchez when Rashford collected Maguire’s pass seven minutes into the re-start but the long-range effort was straight at the Brighton stopper.
There was more intent about Solskjaer’s side, with Scott McTominay intensifying his warm-up on the touchline appearing to have the desired effect. On the hour-mark, Sanchez came haring off his line to smother Fernandes’ shot from Pogba’s through-ball – but the reprieve for Brighton was short-lived.
Joel Veltman lost possession and clattered into Fernandes as he sought to atone for his error, but referee Mike Dean waved on the advantage as the Portuguese had found Rashford to his left and the forward swept home the equaliser with a precise, first-time finish.
Brighton still posed a threat on the counter and there were penalty claims when Welbeck was unable to reach Maupay’s low cross, feeling a tug from Maguire but VAR Peter Bankes stuck with Dean’s on-field decision of a goal-kick.
Should Brighton have had a penalty?
United nearly took full advantage of the let-off. Sanchez’s save from Fernandes’ speculative drive fell straight to James, who squared for Greenwood, but the teenager’s shot on the stretch just cleared the crossbar.
The miss didn’t play on his mind, however, as with eight minutes remaining, Greenwood was in the right place to head in Pogba’s miscued shot despite Ben White’s best efforts on the goal line. It was cruel on Brighton but United had dug in.
What the managers said
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the BBC: “It’s always difficult to play Brighton. We have had good results and we’ve had to earn them the hard way. We managed to find a way in the second half.
“Danny [Welbeck] was in the reserves when I was the coach. He is a big talent. It’s great to see him back playing football with all the injuries he has had. We gave it away sloppily [for his goal]. Dean [Henderson] makes a good save first but then the rebound comes in. We had to come in at half time and compose ourselves as we didn’t create much after they scored.
“I thought we started well but when they scored, after that we couldn’t find our rhythm again and we needed half-time to compose ourselves and go again. Second half we played some good stuff. More runs in behind, more movement, better movement.
“Sometimes after international breaks it takes time – and then maybe the fireworks have to be lit at half-time. Mason Greenwood needs to add those goals to his tally because we know how wonderful a talent he is, and when he can add those goals we know he’ll be a good’un.”
Brighton boss Graham Potter told the BBC: “We contributed well in the game. We took the lead and were probably the team which carried the most threat in the first half. We just missed that final pass. Man Utd responded in the second half without creating too many chances. They scored from not too much. Maybe a penalty which Danny Welbeck didn’t get.
“When it was life I thought it was a penalty then I suppose it’s the clear and obvious debate. If Mike Dean had given it I don’t think VAR would have overruled it. There’s nothing we can do in the end. We’re disappointed to come away with nothing.
“I’m confident in terms of the team, the way we’re playing and the personality in the team but until you get the points you can never relax. Sometimes the opposition have some quality that you have to hold your hands up to and say ‘that’s good.’ We’ll keep going.”
United never die – Opta stats
- Manchester United have beaten Brighton twice in the Premier League this season despite conceding first in both games, only the second time they have done so against an opponent in a season, also achieving this against Southampton in 2012-13.
- Brighton remain winless away from home against Manchester United in 13 attempts in all competitions (D2 L11).
- Manchester United have won 25 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, nine more than any other side; Brighton meanwhile have dropped 20 points from winning positions, three more than anyone else.
- Manchester United have won eight Premier League games after conceding first this season – only Newcastle United in 2001-02 and Manchester United themselves in 2012-13 have won more such games in a single season (9 each).
- Brighton’s Danny Welbeck became the first player to score as many as three Premier League goals against Manchester United after having appeared for the club in the competition. His other two goals against them came for Arsenal in February 2016 and May 2017.
Manchester United travel to face Granada in the Europa League quarter-final first leg on Thursday; kick-off is at 8pm. Their next Premier League outing is away to Tottenham next Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event. Coverage starts at 4pm with kick-off at 4.30pm.
Brighton host Everton live on Monday Night Football on April 12; kick-off is at 8.15pm.
Video Highlights, Full Match Analysis: Chelsea 0 – 1 Arsenal
Emile Smith Rowe denied Chelsea the chance to cement their top-four status as he took advantage of Jorginho’s howler to give Arsenal a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues would have all but secured their Champions League qualification with a victory which would have taken them 10 points clear of Liverpool, who have four games left to play, but after making seven changes ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final, struggled to create clear-cut chances.
Kai Havertz should have put them ahead 10 minutes in when he intercepted Gabriel’s loose pass for Pablo Mari and raced clean through, but then fired over Bernd Leno’s bar with only his compatriot to beat. Moments later Jorginho’s equally poor back-pass was kept out by Kepa Arrizabalaga at full stretch, but Smith Rowe was on hand to bundle home after being teed up by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Chelsea were dominant for the large majority of the remaining 75 minutes without forcing Leno into any uncomfortable saves until the final minute. They did beat him through Pulisic’s close-range header from a corner, which was swiftly denied by a VAR review, before the German produced a stunning stop to tip Kurt Zouma’s header onto the crossbar, which was then rattled by Olivier Giroud’s shot on the rebound.
Chelsea: Kepa (6), James (6), Azpilicueta (6), Silva (6), Zouma (6), Chilwell (5), Jorginho (4), Gilmour (5), Pulisic (5), Mount (6), Havertz (5).
Subs: Hudson-Odoi (6), Giroud (6), Ziyech (5).
Arsenal: Leno (7), Gabriel (6), Mari (7), Holding (6), Tierney (7), Partey (6), Elneny (8), Saka (5), Odegaard (6), Smith Rowe (7), Aubameyang (5).
Subs: Bellerin (6), Lacazette (5), Chambers (6).
Man of the match: Mohamed Elneny
What the managers said…
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel told Sky Sports: “We had three days, we are on a good run, we had a good mood. The choices were not so good today from my side for the line-up so that’s on me. We were unlucky, of course. But we did everything today to lose.
“I’m not happy with my line-up. It’s easy to say afterwards. But it was too many changes, I should not have done it like this. It’s something in particular – but I will not tell you!”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports: “I don’t know how they’re going to try from the outside but from the inside, nothing is broken.
“They’re going to put things on me that I never said, you can see the spirit of the team from the first minute. You can never doubt their efforts and how much they try.”
- Arsenal completed their first Premier League double over Chelsea since the 2003-04 season, while this was their first league win at Stamford Bridge since October 2011, ending an eight-game winless run there (D2 L6).
- Chelsea suffered only their third defeat in 26 matches in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel (W17 D6), with all three defeats coming at Stamford Bridge.
- Arsenal have won three consecutive away Premier League matches without conceding for the first time since May 2013 under Arsène Wenger.
- Arsenal have had a different player aged younger than 21 score in each of their last three Premier League matches against Chelsea – Gabriel Martinelli in January 2020, Bukayo Saka in December 2020 and Emile Smith Rowe tonight.
Chelsea are off to Wembley in the FA Cup final on Saturday, where they will face Leicester City; Kick-off at 5.15pm.
Arsenal’s penultimate game of the season is also in London, with a trip to Crystal Palace next Wednesday night; Kick-off at 7pm.
📽️ Watch The Video Highlights:
Video: Match Highlights, Opta Stats, Man City 1- 2 Chelsea
Chelsea tormented Manchester City once again by delaying their title-winning party and boosting their own top-four hopes with the help of an awful Panenka penalty miss by Sergio Aguero during their 2-1 comeback win at the Etihad on Saturday.
Hakim Ziyech, who had ended City’s Quadruple dreams in a FA Cup semi-final last month, was on target again to cancel out Raheem Sterling’s opener for the much-changed hosts, before Marcos Alonso (90+2) grabbed a deserved stoppage-time winner for the visitors against a side they will meet in the Champions League final on May 29.
A mis-control from Aguero – City’s most-famous title-clincher of all – had allowed Sterling to find the net for the first time in 13 games on 44 minutes but another error from the striker moments later proved far more costly, with his weak spot-kick easily saved.
Chelsea capitalised and had the upper hand throughout the second period, with Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi seeing efforts ruled out for offside after Ziyech’s leveller on 63 minutes, and they leapfrogged Leicester into third place in the Premier League with Alonso’s last-gasp finish from close range.
Chelsea are now six points clear of fifth-placed West Ham in the top-four race, while City – who were aggrieved not to be awarded a late penalty when Sterling was tumbled by Kurt Zouma – could still reclaim the crown this weekend if Manchester United lose at Aston Villa on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Man City: Ederson (6), Cancelo (6), Dias (6), Laporte (6), Ake (6), Mendy (5), Rodri (5), Torres (6), Sterling (7), Aguero (4), Jesus (7).
Subs: Gundogan (6), Foden (6), Zinchencko (6)
Chelsea: Mendy (7), Azpilicueta (7), Christensen (4), Rudiger (7), James (8), Kante (7), Gilmour (6), Alonso (8), Ziyech (8), Werner (7), Pulisic (6).
Subs: Zouma (7), Jorginho (6), Hudson-Odoi (7)
Man of the match: Reece James (Chelsea)
📺 Watch The Highlights:
Opta Stats – Chelsea leave it late
- Manchester City have dropped eight points from winning positions in home Premier League games this season, last dropping more at home in the competition in 2008-09 (12).
- After losing his first three managerial meetings with Pep Guardiola in all competitions, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is unbeaten in his last four encounters with the Spaniard (W2 D2).
- Man City’s Pep Guardiola has lost four home league games this season, twice as many as he’d lost in any other campaign in his managerial career.
- Manchester City have lost consecutive Premier League home games thanks to a goal scored in the 90th minute – as many as they had in their previous 235 Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium.
- At 91 minutes and 54 seconds, Marcos Alonso’s winner was the latest winning goal scored in an away Premier League game against Manchester City since Paul Scholes for Man Utd in April 2010 (92:41).
Manchester City go to Newcastle at 8pm on Friday, live on Sky Sports, while Chelsea are next in action at home to Arsenal on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports at 8.15pm.
Match Highlights, Opta Stats, Player Ratings Chelsea vs Real Madrid
Chelsea set up an all-English Champions League final with Manchester City after beating Real Madrid 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the semi-final second leg, going through 3-1 on aggregate.
Timo Werner put Chelsea ahead (28), nodding into the empty net from under the crossbar after Kai Havertz’s chip had hit the woodwork, before Real rode their luck as the hosts missed four big chances to double their lead in the opening 20 minutes of the second period.
The hosts finally got their second to kill off the tie with five minutes remaining as Mason Mount stuck home substitute Christian Pulisic’s centre at close range, capping off a fine display and marking an extraordinary turnaround at the club since Thomas Tuchel joined in January.
Chelsea will now play in their third Champions League final (2008 and 2012) in Istanbul on Saturday May 29, and have set up just the third all-English Champions League final after 2008 (Man Utd-Chelsea) and 2019 (Liverpool-Tottenham) as Manchester City look to complete a treble.
Chelsea: Mendy (8); Christensen (7), Thiago Silva (7), Rudiger (8), Azpilicueta (7), Kante (8), Jorginho (7), Chilwell (7), Mount (7), Havertz (7), Werner (7)
Subs: Pulisic (7), James (NA), Ziyech (NA), Giroud (NA)
Real Madrid: Courtois (7); Nacho (5), Militao (4), Ramos (6), Mendy (5), Kroos (6), Modric (6), Casemiro (5), Hazard (4), Vinicius Junior (5), Benzema (6)
Subs: Valverde (5), Asensio (5), Rodrygo (NA), Mariano (NA)
Man of the match: N’Golo Kante
Full English: When is the Champions League final?
This year’s final between Chelsea and Manchester City will take place in Istanbul on Saturday May 29.
The Ataturk Olympic Stadium famously staged the 2005 Champions League showdown, when Liverpool came from 3-0 down at half-time to beat AC Milan on penalties.
UEFA has not yet confirmed the kick-off time, but says detailed information regarding the capacity for the match, travel and ticketing details will be communicated publicly by the end of the week.
Opta stats – Watertight Chelsea
- Chelsea have kept 18 clean sheets in 24 matches under Thomas Tuchel in all competitions (75 per cent), compared with 26 in 84 games under his predecessor Frank Lampard (31 per cent).
- Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has kept eight Champions League clean sheets this season, the most ever by a goalkeeper for an English club in a single season.
- Having also led PSG to the 2019/20 Champions League final, Chelsea manager Tuchel is the first manager to reach the European Cup/Champions League final in consecutive seasons with different clubs.
- It’s only the eighth time two teams from the same nation will be contesting the final, with Spanish teams also doing so a joint-record three times – 2000 (Real Madrid vs Valencia) and 2014 & 2016 (Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid).
- This was only the second time Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has lost a two-legged UEFA Champions League tie in 13 attempts, also losing in the last 16 in 2019-20 against Manchester City.
📺Watch The Extended Highlights:
What’s next for Chelsea in bid for top four?
Chelsea now go to Man City on Saturday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 5.30pm, knowing a City victory will wrap up the Premier League title for Pep Guardiola’s side.
They then host Arsenal in the Premier League on Wednesday evening, also live on Sky Sports Premier League at 8.15pm.
And what’s next for Real in La Liga title race?
Real Madrid host Sevilla in La Liga on Sunday night at 8pm, currently sitting two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with four games of the season remaining.
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