Brighton and Hove Albion

At first glance, an opener at Old Trafford is the dream of any team.

But there’s already some bite in our first game of the new season, which is shown live on Sky Sports.

The match has its own narrative; Albion have had some terrific wins over United since promotion to the Premier League and none more so than the 4-0 win over them at the Amex in May. But then, of course, the Red Devils have a new head coach in Erik ten Hag – will they be a renewed force under the Dutchman? Can Albion start the new campaign the same way she finished the last one?

This win from last month is considered our best in the top tier, not only in terms of performance, but also in terms of scoring, our biggest league win since promotion in 2017.

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Albion was playing his best football under Graham Potter and Manchester United’s season was unfolding. But of course there is the story.

Albion secured Premier League status for a second consecutive season thanks to Pascal Gross’ header in the 1-0 win over United in May 2018, before the duo faced off again the following August.

It was another thrilling affair as first-half goals from Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy and Gross left United with too much to do in the second half as Albion ran out 3-2 winners.

Albion then suffered a seven-game losing streak at the hands of United. A few humiliations and a few close calls, including Bruno Fernandes’ penalty after the full-time whistle in September 2020.

But in the two years since that strange occasion in an empty Amex, things have changed for both clubs.

Potter’s side have become one of the most attractive to watch in the Premier League, which culminated in a record ninth place finish last season.

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United were led by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when Neal Maupay’s handball saw the Red Devils awarded a penalty after the final whistle of the 2020 brawl, and they had Ralf Rangnick in the dugout before ten Hags were nominated for the upcoming campaign.

Albion’s squad have at this stage the same composition as last season, while United’s are set to change, notably with the departure of Paul Pogba at the end of June when his contract expires.

All of this makes Sunday August 7 more than an interesting opener.

A first-ever victory at Manchester United would immediately allow Albion’s suitors to do even better than last season, when you can already predict the headlines that await ten Hag if they lose.

A win for United would, however, provide the perfect take-off for the former Ajax boss, while Potter is unlikely to face much criticism given the financial chasm between the two sides.

Considering all that buildup, it will likely end in a 0-0 draw, which wouldn’t be the worst result for Albion.