Manchester United’s solid start to the season after a summer of strife is now under serious scrutiny.
City’s six one rout of Huddersfield meant that United’s trip to the Amex Stadium took on more significance, and though an away trip to Brighton is never an easy prospect, the Red Devils would have expected to prevail.
Though Alexis Sanchez missed out due to injury, Romelu Lukaku made it to the starting XI, along with a decision that excited fans upon announcement of the teamsheet – the return of Anthony Martial after his exile.
United were comfortable enough in the early going, though Lukaku missed a clear early chance, dragging it wide.
They were made to pay as their defence collapsed in a three minute period.
Glenn Murray got in between David De Gea and Victor Lindelof, finishing off Solomon March’s pass with a classy flick from the outside of the boot.
Then, Irishman Shane Duffy grabbed his first ever Premier League goal just minutes after. Anthony Knockaert’s brutal attempt at a strike found the defender, who finished into the far corner to put Chris Hughton’s side 2-0 up within 27 minutes.
Lukaku atoned for his earlier miss, heading in a deflected Luke Shaw cross eight minutes later, but United are still facing down the barrel of an early season shock defeat.
This fact was compounded just before half time, as Eric Bailly gave away a penalty with a poor tackle, allowing Pascal Groß to score from the spot for a 3-1 lead at the break.