Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield United at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. It was another bad day for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, who had been knocked off the top spot in the Premier League table by Manchester City on Tuesday evening. Kean Bryan opened the scoring for the Blades in the 23rd minute of the match with Oliver Burke scoring the winner in the 74th minute of the match. Harry Maguire equalised in the 64th minute of the match but in terms of inspiration, United were not up for the challenge in a dreadful evening at the Theatre of Dreams. United will need to pick up the pieces before get face Arsenal on Saturday.
United started the game aiming to high press the Blades and looked to gain a lot of ground. However, in the first few minutes, Anthony Martial was brought to the ground, landing awkwardly and seemingly hurting his shoulder. After some treatment, the Frenchman was able to continue the match. United started to get some good possession, switching the ball form left to right and in the 12th minute of the match Marcus Rashford had a good shot on goal, beating the defence and the goalkeeper but just missing the target. It was some good play from United and they would need to continue pressing the Blades in the same manner.
Despite United doing well from the start of the match, it was the Blades that opened the scoring in the 23rd minute of the match. Kean Bryan scored for the Premier League strugglers, which at the time of scoring keeps his club right at the bottom of the Premier League. Billy Sharp seemed to be fouling David De Gea inn the lead up to the goal but the referee gave the goal and nothing for Sharp’s challenge. At the other end of the pitch a few minutes later, Martial had the ball in the back of the net but Harry Maguire was adjudged to have fouled Aaron Ramsdale with the commentary team suggesting that if the referee gives one foul, he should give both.
In the 42nd minute of the match, United got forward with Alex Telles playing the ball into Bruno Fernandes, whose control of the ball was top notch in the box, finding Martial, who could not finish, which would have put United level in the match. It could well be one of those days for United, who would need to find something get back into the match, then to win in order to avoid an embarrassment. United had a few opportunities towards the end of the first half but nothing was going in favour of United. Axel Tuanzebe was booked in the dying minute of the half for a challenge on John Fleck.
There were no changes at the start of the second half for either team. United lost the ball three times in the opening stages of the half. They did put something together though in the form of an attack with Mason Greenwood shooting to level the score but the ball was wide of the target from an odd angle. With Solskjaer having players warming up with a view of aiming to change the game, United found their equaliser through Harry Maguire in the 64th minute, assisted by Telles. United now needed to find the winner. In the 66th minute of the match, Solskjaer brought on Edinson Cavani for Greenwood.
As United had just equalised and were preparing to find the winner, United conceded another goal after some awful defending. Tuanzebe did not look like he was fully knowing what he needed to do with Maguire blocking a chance for his former club. Oliver Burke then launched a shot on goal, which seemed to deflect off Tuanzebe and into the back of United’s net. It was shocking for United, who needed to be so much better in matches like this. United had a slight opportunity in the 80th minute of the match with Cavani sniffing it out but was not able to get anything from it with United still chasing the game.
In the 82nd minute of the match, Paul Pogba played a diagonal ball into the box, trying to find Martial. The ball ended up being blocked with Cavani getting on the end of it, however, his strike on goal was still rising as it crossed the line. United needed to be a bit more threatening in their chances. In the 83rd minute of the match, Solskjaer made a double substitution with Donny van de Beek and Luke Shaw replacing Tuanzebe and Telles. United then concentrated on attacking with the Blades often recovering possession and launching an attack themselves. This was one of those matches for United and a poor result, which will be costly for them.
Sheffield United were statistically the worst team in Premier League history after 19 matches this season with five points earned with one win, one draw and 16 defeats, however, then beat United 2-1 in a dire night at Old Trafford. United’s attacking play was stagnant at times and easy for this Championship team to deal with, which is telling. United will need to find something to inspire them to drive forward as with Arsenal on the horizon, it may not bode all that well for them late on Saturday evening. United have failed to regain the top spot in the Premier League and will need to put something together to resume their title challenge this season.
Goals: Harry Maguire 64′; Kean Bryan 23′, Oliver Burke 74′
Assists: Alex Telles 64′; John Fleck 23′, John Lundstram 74′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe (Van de Beek 83′), Maguire, Telles (Shaw 82′); Matic, Pogba; Greenwood (Cavani 66′), Fernandes, Rashford; Martial
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Lindelof; Mata, Fred, James, McTominay
Bookings: Axel Tuanzebe 45+2′; John Lundstram 40′
Written by John Walker