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United on the rise

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Manchester United are back into the top half of the Premier League table after beating Brighton 3-1.

Brighton's goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, left, makes a save in front of Manchester United's Anthony Martial during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion, at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England. Picture: AP Photo/Rui Vieira

Manchester United climbed back into the top half of the Premier League table yesterday, as goals from Andreas Pereira and Marcus Rashford and an own-goal from Davy Propper gave the side a 3-1 home win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

United climbed to seventh place on 16 points from 12 games after stretching their unbeaten home run against the Seagulls to 12 matches in all competitions. Brighton slipped to 11th place on 15 points.

The home side benefited from a fine individual display by Anthony Martial, who set up two goals and ran tirelessly at Brighton’s defenders. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised the Frenchman alongside 19-year-old left-back Brandon Williams.

“Martial did not get a goal but he was outstanding,” Solskjaer said.

“Williams was excellent too, he has had some good games already and he seems he wants to be out there and enjoy himself. We should have scored many more goals. It was an excellent performance from the lads, when you see them going forward it is a joy to watch.”

Pereira fired United ahead in the 17th minute with a fortuitous goal, as his shot from inside the penalty area took a heavy deflection off Dale Stephens and left Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan stranded.

Pereira initially lost control of the ball as he raced forward before Martial unselfishly teed up the rebound for the Brazilian to hit a left-foot shot. 

Propper then bundled the ball into his own net two minutes later as an inswinging free-kick from Fred caused havoc in Brighton’s six-yard box. The goal was awarded after a VAR check.

Lewis Dunk pulled one back for Brighton in the 64th minute with a close-range header, but Rashford restored United’s two-goal advantage two minutes later when he blasted in a shot from 12 metres off the underside of the bar. 

Again the goal resulted from good work by Martial, who beat a defender and Ryan to the ball before squaring it back for Rashford from a tight angle.
Meanwhile, Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Aston Villa 2-1 in yesterday’s Midlands derby with goals from Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez taking them into the top eight in the Premier League.

It was a difficult afternoon for Villa from the moment they lost goalkeeper Jed Steer to injury after only five minutes. Wolves dominated and the only surprise was it took them until nearly half-time to go ahead, Neves giving replacement keeper Orjan Nyland no chance with a thumping drive.

Another injury for Villa led to left-back Matt Targett being replaced before the interval but the visitors showed plenty of endeavour after the break to stay in the game.

Villa even threatened to equalise on the odd occasions but Wolves effectively sealed the points when Jimenez, guilty of wasting some earlier chances, fired into the corner after good work by the dangerous Adama Traore.

There was some consolation for Villa when Trezeguet halved the deficit in stoppage time but it was too late.