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Preview: Pogba, Fernandes and Matic midfield trio to help Solskjaer’s Manchester United overcome the Blades?

Manchester United -v- Sheffield United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 24 June 2020, KO 18:00 BST

Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn Fourth Official: Jarred Gillett

VAR: Stuart Attwell Assistant VAR: Simon Beck

Replacement Official: Robert Merchant

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action five days after a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will welcome Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United to the Theatre of Dreams in what will be a must-win match for both teams. United will need to win to keep chase on Chelsea, who are now five points clear of United in fourth place in the Premier League. The Blades want to keep their chase in Europe too.

In the last match between these two teams, United came back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 with 11 minutes left after Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood, and Marcus Rashford overcame John Fleck and Lys Mousset’s first half goals. However, a late equaliser from Oli McBurnie led to both teams sharing the points. The Blades lost 3-0 against Newcastle United on Sunday so they will want to overcome United in this match.

Form: United are in better form at this stage of the season, undefeated in their last 12 matches, scoring 30 goals, conceding three and keeping nine sheets.

Manchester United: DWWWDW

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 D, LASK 5-0 W, Manchester City 2-0 W, Derby County 3-0 W, Everton 1-1 D, Club Brugge 5-0 W

Sheffield United: LDWWDW

Newcastle United 3-0 L, Aston Villa 0-0 D, Norwich City 1-0 W, Reading 2-1 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 D, Bournemouth 2-1 W

Top Scorers: Rashford, Martial and Greenwood have scored more goals than the Blades this season; the trio should be up for this showdown.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 16 – Anthony Martial, 12 – Mason Greenwood, 5 – Scott McTominay, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, Odion Ighalo, Daniel James, 3 – Juan Mata, 2 – Fred, Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire, Andreas Pereira, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United are unbeaten in 12 matches, scoring 30 goals, conceding three times, keeping nine clean sheets and driving forward in their bid to reach the top four of the Premier League. Solskjaer’s side will be up against it when they welcome the Blades on Wednesday and Solskjaer will be seeking three point from this match, keeping their fifth-placed position and their chances of a top four finish quite possible.

Sheffield United Goals: 5 – John Fleck, Lys Mousset, 4 – John Lundstram, Oliver McBurnie, Billy Sharp, 3 – Oliver Norwood, 2 – George Baldock, Callum Robinson, Enda Stevens, 1 – Muhamed Besic, Leon Clarke, David McGoldrick, Richard Stearman

The Blades have not been in great form in their last six matches this season, albeit that four of them were played three months ago and more. Three wins, two draws and one defeat is not the sort of form to break into the Champions League next season and even the Europa League could be a push – they should learn from Wolverhampton Wanderers, who started their season in July 2019.

Team News: Tuanzebe, Jones and Lindelof could be out of action for United; the Blades will miss Henderson and Egan and could be without McGoldrick, Jagielka and O’Connell.

Solskjaer could be without Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof for the visit of the Blades on Wednesday evening. Tuanzebe and Jones were missing from the 1-1 draw with Spurs and Lindelof received a knock in that match. It could well be that Eric Bailly is brought into the squad for this match, partnering with Harry Maguire. Teden Mengi, who has been training with the first team, could be on the bench, maybe?

The Blades could be without David McGoldrick, Phil Jagielka, and Jack O’Connell for the visit of Old Trafford with the trio all subject to late fitness tests. McGoldrick has a 75% chance of playing with the due having a 50% chance. Dean Henderson is not eligible to face United, his parent club and John Egan was sent off in the 3-0 defeat to Newcastle, so will be suspended for this important Premier League fixture.

Predicted Starting XI: Rashford, Martial and Greenwood to lead the line; Matic, Pogba and Fernandes in midfield with Maguire and Bailly forming a central defensive partnership?

This will be an important match for Solskjaer and United. I think Paul Pogba will need to be recalled into the starting XI, teamed with Nemanja Matic and Bruno Fernandes in a midfield three, initially with Fernandes playing further forward, swapping with Pogba, which could bring out the best of the team. In defence, Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire will be paired together, hopefully forming a partnership. Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood should be the three-pronged attack.

Match Prediction: United have five wins out of seven against the Blades in the Premier League. However, in the last meeting, a thrilling 3-3 draw, the Blades looked like the better team.

United and the Blades have played seven times in the Premier League with United winning five times, drawing once and losing once. In total, United have scored 16 goals conceding seven. United have kept three clean sheets with the Blades having none. Neither United or the Blades have been awarded a penalty. In total, United have received 10 yellow cards. The Blades have received 16 yellow cards.

United will need to win this match to keep the chase on Chelsea for a fourth placed finish in the Premier League this season, which should provide UEFA Champions League football next season. The Blades are seeking the same, just two points adrift of United. If United do not win this match, they could be overtaken by Wolverhampton Wanderers of even the Blades, making a top four finish much harder.

Manchester United 3-1 Sheffield United

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