Manchester United vs Brighton and Hove Albion: Potential XI without Alexis Sanchez

by Leo Nieboer

No player personified the sheer frustration and discord that seeped into Manchester United’s performance against Sevilla more than Alexis Sanchez.

The Chilean certainly did not hide from the ball, nor was he reluctant to take players on, but it felt as if he was going down blind alleys each time – playing alongside ten red shirts but very much alone on the pitch.

He has made ten appearances for Man United since arriving in January and, while he has hardly disappointed, something clearly is not quite right with him.

With that in mind, here is a potential XI for Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final with Brighton and Hove Albion featuring Anthony Martial playing on the left instead.

Sanchez’s persistent desire to cut inside on the left flank against Sevilla gave United very little width and, by extension, no discernible attacking shape.

And with Marcus Rashford giving everything on the other flank but ultimately lacking control in the final, everything fell apart. Such discord should make Mourinho’s next team selection easy.

For a start, introducing Anthony Martial on the left would immediately give United more width and space for the likes of Paul Pogba to roam forward. United desperately missed the former’s cutthroat prowess on the ball during the first half and Mourinho will need a sharp knife to cut through Brighton’s solid backline on Saturday.

On the other side comes Juan Mata, who changed the game against Crystal Palace last week and whose composure in possession would have been pivotal on Tuesday had Mourinho not waited until going behind to throw him on. Against a rigid defence, the Spaniard’s probing influence in attack will open up gaps as the game goes on.

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