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Ratings: Maguire’s equaliser the best part of the match for United as they fell to defeat by the worst team in Premier League history

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.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Conceded twice for United, which was a shame. It will keep Arsenal up with good thoughts ahead fo Saturday's match. Had little chance for the first goal and the second seemed to deflect off Tuanzebe.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Provided some attacking support against the Blades, spending a lot of time out of his position supporting attacking on the right. It did not give United much advantage though and the same could not be said for the left side.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Made his first start in the Premier League for United. Booked in added time at the end of the first half. His defending seemed to cost United after Maguire scored the equaliser, minutes later, his lack of decision-making saw another Blades goal, possible a deflection off him. He was replaced by Van de Beek in the 83rd minute.

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5 Harry Maguire

Score the equaliser against his former club, before United conceded again minutes later. Led hims team well with them pushing for goals which were not coming.

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27 Alex Telles

His attacking output in the left was not as good as it could be. He got another assist for Maguire's equaliser. He was replaced by Shaw in the 83rd minute of the match.

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31 Nemanja Matic

His lack of pace is telling but his experience and defensive ability was good to see. Perhaps the weak link in the team regarding pace but offers something going forward.

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6 Paul Pogba

Started the match in good form and looked to be raring to go. However, after the first goal, Pogba seemed to drop off. United got an equaliser and conceded a second goal and the Frenchman seemed to drop off completely.

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11 Mason Greenwood

He played a good attacking game at times but could not find anything to put United ahead of the Blades. Had a shot on goal, which was off target. United looked out of pace and options. He was replaced by Cavani in the 66th minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Not the best game of his United career. He provided some good balls and a free-kick on goal was wasted. He said he does not need a rest but he might benefit from one. I am sure this will just be blip and he will be annoyed with this defeat, which should cause a reaction against Arsenal.

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10 Marcus Rashford

In terms of output, Rashford was poor against the Blades. He covered a lot of ground and did a lot of work but with a team lacking inspiration, Rashford did not really stand up and drag his team forward. It only takes one player to stand up for the rest to follow.

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9 Anthony Martial

Not impressed with the Frenchman. Some say he's the best striker United have and personally, in this form, he's not even worth having on the pitch. His ability is questionable at this stage of the season and in terms of what he offers, there is little to write home about. When in form he's worth having but if he's out of form, it's always someone else's fault.

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Substitutes

7 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Greenwood 66'. His positioning was good at times but the finishing was not the best. He tried to get United back into the game but one man cannot do it by himself.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Tuanzebe 83'. Came on late in the game to add something in the attack. It did not work for United.

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23 Luke Shaw

Replaced Telles 82'. Provided some attacking width on the left but it was too late for United as they lost their fourth match of the Premier League season.

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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

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