After back-to-back stalemates against both Burnley and Southampton, Manchester United could probably do without facing the Premier League’s draw specialists in Brighton & Hove Albion this evening.
The Seagulls, who have drawn more than half of their 23 league games so far this season, will present the latest challenge to United interim manager Ralf Rangnick, as the German looks to try and help his side avoid stretching their winless run to four matches in league and cup.
Brighton, who have lost just one of their 12 away games in the league so far this season, have, with respect, punched above their weight this term, so much so that a victory at Old Trafford would move them to within four points of United in the table.
To say that United will be in for a stern test is an understatement, especially when you take into account that the Seagulls have already taken points off Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal this season.
Much of Brighton’s success this term has been based off keeping things neat, tidy and structured, meaning it would not be too great a surprise to see the Seagulls approach this evening’s contest with a defensive mindset to frustrate United and make life difficult for them.
But when it comes to springing counter-attacks and looking to try and put the Reds on the back foot when they can, you can almost guarantee that right-sided wing-back Tariq Lamptey will be central to their efforts. The speedy, attack-minded wing-back has gone up through the gears at a rapid rate of knots since he swapping Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge for the Amex Stadium in January 2020 and is considered as one of the hottest, most exciting prospects that the Premier League have to shout about.
Never afraid to go forward, his pace on the right is a key trait in Brighton’s style of play. He rarely shows any sign of fear and loves nothing more than running at opposing full-backs with the ball at his feet from him.
Considering he is only 21, his potential is sky-high, making it easy to understand why so many big-name Premier League clubs have been linked with his signature, including United.
They were credited with interest in his signature back in mid-January by the Mail. The report claimed that United, who were keen on strengthening their right-back options with now-Newcastle United ace Kieran Tripper last summer, held a ‘strong interest’ in the youngster and were pursuing his signature.
As highlighted by their interest in Trippier, who was at Atletico Madrid at the time, last summer, United are keen to increase their attacking output from right-back, with doubts being cast over Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s capability to carry out the duties of a modern-day full-back.
Diogo Dalot has displaced Wan-Bissaka as United’s first choice right-back in recent weeks but he is not likely to be the club’s long-term answer for a right-sided full-back.
In Lamptey, although he is still young and the possibility of United signing him for big-money could be seen as a carbon copy in respect of their decision to sign Wan-Bissaka aged just 21, the club would be sourcing a right-back that has frequently proven that he has the characteristics and ability to get forward from full-back and create chances.
In 36 appearances in the Premier League, Lamptey has scored eleven and chipped in with six assists. Although it is not an earth-shattering record, it is a healthy return for such a young player still learning on the job.
In Brighton boss Graham Potter, Lamptey has been supplied with consistent guidance, plus an identifiable way of playing. United, of course, lack a permanent manager and a clear identity at the moment.
But if things change for the better in the summer, and United begin to rise from their recent ruins, although there is no guarantee of a quick fix, Lamptey could be the answer to their search for an attack-minded right-sided full-back .
Therefore, they could use this evening’s visit of the Seagulls to pay close attention to his qualities and capabilities, although the primary objective on this occasion is to keep him quiet.
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