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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

21 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

Confirmed XI: Martial, Rashford, Fernandes and Greenwood tasked to beat Sheffield United – top of the league awaits

Manchester United return to Premier League action this evening as they host Sheffield United at Old Trafford. It will be the second time the two clubs have met this season, meeting at Bramall Lane on the 17 December 2020 winning 3-2. David McGoldrick scored a brace for the Blades, opening the scoring in the fifth minute with Marcus Rashford scoring an equaliser 21 minutes later. Anthony Martial then put United in the lead in the 33rd minute with Rashford completing his brace in the 51st minute, giving United a 3-1 lead. McGoldrick then pounced to complete his brace in the 87th minute of the match.

United are unbeaten in their last ten matches against the Blades, winning nine and drawing once. The last defeat came at Bramall Lane in the fifth round of the FA Cup back on the 14 February 1993, losing 2-1 with Ryan Giggs scoring United’s only goal. In the matches played against the Blades, in the history of both clubs, in all competitions, out of 96 matches being played, United have won 46, drawing 16 and losing 34 times. United will be the favourites but with teams in danger of relegation, at some point during the remainder of the season, they will need to fight for safety. This will be another cup final for the Blades.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Telles;

Matic, Pogba;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

Henderson; Lindelof, Shaw; Mata, Fred, James, Van de Beek, McTominay; Cavani

Sheffield United:

Ramsdale;

Basham, Jagielka, Ampadu;

Baldock, Lundstram, Fleck, Bryan;

Norwood;

Sharp, McGoldrick

Substitutes:

Foderingham; Lowe, Bogle; Burke; Mousset, Brewster

United and the Blades have met nine times in the history of the Premier League. United have won seven times, drawing once and losing once. United have scored a total of 22 goals, conceding nine with neither team winning a penalty when facing each other. United have kept four clean sheets with the Blades keeping none against United. United have received 14 yellow cards with the Blades receiving 19 yellow cards with neither side seeing a player sent off in these matches. United are in great form both against the Blades and at this current time which should see United continue to pile the pressure on the teams below them.

In this clash at Old Trafford last season which was played on the 24 June 2020, it was a 3-0 victory for United. Anthony Martial scored a hat-trick, scoring in the seventh, 44th and 74th minutes in the match with Marcus Rashford assisting twice (seventh and 74th minute goals) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka assisting the other (44th minute). Earlier this season, United faced the Blades at Bramall Lane, winning 3-2, which is a better result than the visit last season – a 3-3 draw. David McGoldrick scored a brace for the Blades with Rashford also scoring a brace and Martial getting the other goal for United. It was a thrilling encounter for United.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Fernandes, Greenwood and Cavani to keep United’s attack flowing, Pogba and Fred keeping the midfield strong against the Blades?

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Wednesday evening as they host Sheffield United at Old Trafford. It will be the second time the two clubs have met this season, meeting at Bramall Lane on the 17 December 2020 winning 3-2. David McGoldrick scored a brace for the Blades, opening the scoring in the fifth minute with Marcus Rashford scoring an equaliser 21 minutes later. Anthony Martial then put United in the lead in the 33rd minute with Rashford completing his brace in the 51st minute, giving United a 3-1 lead. McGoldrick then pounced to complete his brace in the 87th minute of the match.

United are unbeaten in their last ten matches against the Blades, winning nine and drawing once. The last defeat came at Bramall Lane in the fifth round of the FA Cup back on the 14 February 1993, losing 2-1 with Ryan Giggs scoring United’s only goal. In the matches played against the Blades, in the history of both clubs, in all competitions, out of 96 matches being played, United have won 46, drawing 16 and losing 34 times. United will be the favourites but with teams in danger of relegation, at some point during the remainder of the season, they will need to fight for safety. This will be another cup final for the Blades.

How United have faired against Sheffield United in the Premier League.

United and the Blades have met nine times in the history of the Premier League. United have won seven times, drawing once and losing once. United have scored a total of 22 goals, conceding nine with neither team winning a penalty when facing each other. United have kept four clean sheets with the Blades keeping none against United. United have received 14 yellow cards with the Blades receiving 19 yellow cards with neither side seeing a player sent off in these matches. United are in great form both against the Blades and at this current time which should see United continue to pile the pressure on the teams below them.

In this clash at Old Trafford last season which was played on the 24 June 2020, it was a 3-0 victory for United. Anthony Martial scored a hat-trick, scoring in the seventh, 44th and 74th minutes in the match with Marcus Rashford assisting twice (seventh and 74th minute goals) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka assisting the other (44th minute). Earlier this season, United faced the Blades at Bramall Lane, winning 3-2, which is a better result than the visit last season – a 3-3 draw. David McGoldrick scored a brace for the Blades with Rashford also scoring a brace and Martial getting the other goal for United. It was a thrilling encounter for United.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Sheffield United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson kept his place in the FA Cup against Liverpool at the weekend, largely playing in the cup competitions this season, but also playing against his former loan club earlier in the season. I think he will keep his place for the second match in a row, giving David De Gea more time to rest ahead of an important match against Arsenal, in which United will be seeking revenge after their defeat at Old Trafford back in November. Henderson has a lot to learn and will get there when he plays. He has played ten times for United so far this season and will have more involvement between now and the end of the season.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United’s defence has been doing well recently, keeping three clean sheets to far this month. They conceded twice against Liverpool at the weekend, which was frustrating but the result was a good one for the Red Devils. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his place at right-back with Alex Telles giving Luke Shaw a rest at left-back as he will be needed against Arsenal on Saturday. Eric Bailly missed the Liverpool match but should be fit for this one, giving Victor Lindelof a break but should he not be available, Axel Tuanzebe will be available. Club captain Harry Maguire will keep his place in the starting XI against the Blades.

Midfield: Fred, Paul Pogba

United’s midfield has been doing well this season, despite having a number of players vying for few positions in the starting XI as Solskjaer mostly opts for a 4-2-3-1 formation with Bruno Fernandes occupying the number ten role, therefore only two other positions available in the XI. Paul Pogba is in some kind of form at this stage of the season, which is good to see and despite having talent, Donny van de Beek would not be a good partner for him based on a lack of defensive ability. Because of this, it leaves Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic to partner the Frenchman. At the moment, Fred seems to be in good form and should start.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial

This is the area where the majority of the goals have come from this season. Bruno Fernandes has scored 16 times, assisting a further nine. Mason Greenwood has bagged himself four goals with a further four assists and Anthony Martial has scored five goals and seven assists. Marcus Rashford, who came off injured against Liverpool has 15 goals to his name this season with nine more assists. With Fernandes, Greenwood and Rashford, that accounts for a total of 35 goals and 22 assists with Martial’s tally taking it to 40 goals and 27 assists, which is a great haul of goals and assists. If Rashford is fit, he should start on the left.

Forward: Edinson Cavani

At this moment in time, Edinson Cavani is a better striker than Anthony Martial. His positioning is better, his footballing brain is better and he manages to find space which either puts him in the zone to find a goal or he directs opposition defenders to him, freeing up space elsewhere, which can result in a goal. In his time at United, I don’t remember Martial being able to do this, despite many suggesting that he was a great striker. Granted, he’s scored many goals but last season looks like a fluke in comparison to this one. Cavani knows what he can do and still have the hunger and determination to prove many people wrong.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw; Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Facundo Pellistri, Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay; Marcus Rashford

With nine substitutes on the bench with the ability to use just three of them, Solskjaer will be able to add an array of talent should his side need more to take on the Blades. After being rested against Liverpool on Sunday, David De Gea could be on the bench again, resting ahead of the visit to the Emirates ons Saturday where United will face Arsenal. In defence, the duo of Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw could be available, should they be needed. In midfield, Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Facundo Pellistri, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay might be required. In attack, Marcus Rashford could come of the bench, if fit to play a part.

Written by John Walker

Preview: After their Liverpool heroics it is now time to return to the Premier League and holding the Blades to account

Manchester United -v- Sheffield United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 27 January 2021, KO 20:15 GMT

Referee: Peter Bankes Assistants: Neil Davies, Nick Hopton

Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson

VAR: David Coote Assistant VAR: Marc Perry

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Wednesday evening as they host Sheffield United at Old Trafford. It will be the second time the two clubs have met this season, meeting at Bramall Lane on the 17 December 2020 winning 3-2. David McGoldrick scored a brace for the Blades, opening the scoring in the fifth minute with Marcus Rashford scoring an equaliser 21 minutes later. Anthony Martial then put United in the lead in the 33rd minute with Rashford completing his brace in the 51st minute, giving United a 3-1 lead. McGoldrick then pounced to complete his brace in the 87th minute of the match.

United are unbeaten in their last ten matches against the Blades, winning nine and drawing once. The last defeat came at Bramall Lane in the fifth round of the FA Cup back on the 14 February 1993, losing 2-1 with Ryan Giggs scoring United’s only goal. In the matches played against the Blades, in the history of both clubs, in all competitions, out of 96 matches being played, United have won 46, drawing 16 and losing 34 times. United will be the favourites but with teams in danger of relegation, at some point during the remainder of the season, they will need to fight for safety. This will be another cup final for the Blades.

Manchester United: WWDWWL

Liverpool 3-2 W, Fulham 2-1 W, Liverpool 0-0 D, Burnley 1-0 W, Watford 1-0 W, Manchester City 2-0 L

Sheffield United: WLWWLL

Plymouth Argyle 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 L, Newcastle United 1-0 W, Bristol Rovers 3-2 W, Crystal Palace 2-0 L, Burnley 1-0 L

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes has scored one more goal than Sheffield United have this season. That is an embarrassing situation for the Premier League strugglers. After their last match, United will need to be defensively aware of the struggling club.

Manchester United Goals: 16 – Bruno Fernandes, 15 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, 4 – Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, 2 – Daniel James, Juan Mata, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Own Goal, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United must now be respected for their improvement since Jose Mourinho was sacked by the club back in December 2018. Solskjaer has taken a lot of criticism from so-called supporters, wannabe pundits and pundits alike. He has been disrespect by many but seems to prove them wrong week after week whilst other manager’s were praised for doing a poor job and spending millions on players that have proven nothing so far. United are on the road to achieving something this season which will hurt the feelings of many ABU’s and so-called supporters of the biggest football club in the world.

Sheffield United Goals: 6 – David McGoldrick, 3 – Billy Sharp, 2 – Jayden Bogle, 1 – Chris Basham, Sander Berge, Oliver Burke, Oliver McBurnie

The Blades are a team struggling to fit into the Premier League this season. They have won once, drawn twice and lost 16 times in the league. Granted, they have beaten Newcastle United in the league and Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup this weekend, but all for all, it means nothing for them. United are a team in form right now and able to drive for the results they need to keep achieving something. Wilder will be worried of the threat of United and how much destruction another defeat could mean for the club who have just five points on the board as half the season has passed them by. This will be a worrying time for the Blades.

Team News: United sweating on the fitness of Rashford with three other players ruled out of the visit of the Blades. The Sheffield club will be missing up to six players, sweating on the fitness of Mousset.

Phil Jones (knee) and Marcos Rojo (calf) have all been ruled out of the clash with Liverpool. Brandon Williams and Facundo Pellistri who have both been out of actions recently have returned to training, giving United more strength in depth ahead of another important match for the club. Against Liverpool, Marcus Rashford came off with a knee injury and will require a scan to determine any damage. Because of this, he will have a 25% chance of being fit to face the Blades on Wednesday evening. Amad Diallo will have been training at the club for a week now, so might play a part, if fit.

John Egan (suspended), Ben Osborn (knock), Jack O’Connell (knee), Oliver McBurnie (knock), Sander Berge (thigh) and Jack Robinson (undisclosed) are all ruled out of the visit to Old Trafford to face United on Wednesday evening. Lys Mousset (knock) has a 50% chance of being available for the match. This is going to be an important match for the Blades, who still sit at the very bottom of the Premier League table, having earned just five points in the 19 matches they have played this season, winning once, drawing twice and losing 16 times. With United’s form this season, it could be a long 90 minutes for the South Yorkshire club.

Predicted Starting XI: Cavani, Martial, Fernandes and Greenwood to lead the line against the Blades. Could Diallo be fit enough to play a part in this match, which would be a good time to gain experience in the Premier League?

Solskjaer will be seeking to make some more changes ahead of a trip to London to face Arsenal on Saturday evening. I think Henderson will face his former club for the second time this season, which will help him raise his confidence after making his tenth appearance for United in their 3-2 victory over Liverpool in the FA Cup. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles will complete the defence. Fred and Paul Pogba could start in a two-man midfield with Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial playing behind Edinson Cavani. United should have enough talent on the pitch and on the bench to get the win.

Match Prediction: Nine matches played in the Premier League with United winning seven times, drawing once and losing once. United were last beaten by the Blades in the FA Cup back in 1993.

United and the Blades have met nine times in the history of the Premier League. United have won seven times, drawing once and losing once. United have scored a total of 22 goals, conceding nine with neither team winning a penalty when facing each other. United have kept four clean sheets with the Blades keeping none against United. United have received 14 yellow cards with the Blades receiving 19 yellow cards with neither side seeing a player sent off in these matches. United are in great form both against the Blades and at this current time which should see United continue to pile the pressure on the teams below them.

In this clash at Old Trafford last season which was played on the 24 June 2020, it was a 3-0 victory for United. Anthony Martial scored a hat-trick, scoring in the seventh, 44th and 74th minutes in the match with Marcus Rashford assisting twice (seventh and 74th minute goals) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka assisting the other (44th minute). Earlier this season, United faced the Blades at Bramall Lane, winning 3-2, which is a better result than the visit last season – a 3-3 draw. David McGoldrick scored a brace for the Blades with Rashford also scoring a brace and Martial getting the other goal for United. It was a thrilling encounter for United.

Manchester United 3-1 Sheffield United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Rashford, Martial, Pogba helped blunt the Blades; Rashford brace and Martial back on the scoresheet

Manchester United beat Sheffield United 3-2 in the Premier League at Bramall Lane on Thursday evening which saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side reach sixth place in the league table. A defensive error from a Harry Maguire back pass which saw Dean Henderson concede the first goal against his former loan club saw United start on the back foot once again. But a brace from Marcus Rashford and a goal from Anthony Martial saw United having a new leading goalscorer this season. The Red Devils will now focus on the home class with Leeds United on Sunday as the games come every three days at this Festive period. David McGoldrick completed his brace, scoring in the first and last five minutes of the match.

It was yet another poor start for United against the team at the bottom of the Premier League. The Blades opened the scoring in the fifth minute of the match after a defensive error from United. Victor Lindelof played the ball to Dean Henderson, who started against his former loan club, for the goalkeeper to pass out to Harry Maguire, who immediately passed back to Henderson with David McGoldrick on the advance and taking advantage of the error and scoring the first goal of the match. Many will blame Henderson for that but in my opinion, Maguire should not have passed the ball back to the goalkeeper, he should have played it out.

United soon got themselves back in the match with Marcus Rashford scoring his 11th goal of the season after a stunning assist from Victor Lindelof, who looped the ball over the top up field which the England forward received, took a touch and fired United level seconds later. Seven minutes later, United were in the lead for the first time in the match through Anthony Martial, who scored his third goal of the season. It was a precise pass from Paul Pogba in midfield, up top for the Frenchman, who just managed to gather the ball to slot home in the 33rd minute of the match.

United would rise to sixth in the Premier League with a victory in this match but winning by a four goal margin would put the Red Devils ahead of Everton into fifth place, which would be a complement to United, especially after conceding the opening goal once again. United scored again in the 51st minute of the match, seemingly meaning business to get a victory on the road once again. Rashford scored his second goal of the match, which was played forward by Pogba, but after a foul, was passed about with Bruno Fernandes getting a touch in creating it with Martial getting the assist for United’s third goal of the match.

Solskjaer made the first change in the 74th minute of the with Juan Mata replacing Mason Greenwood. Six minutes later, Donny van de Beek replaced Bruno Fernandes in the 80th minute of the match. United were 3-1 up at the time and seeming close to victory. However, in the 87th minute of the match, the Blades got themselves back into the match through McGoldrick with Lindelof making an error which saw the goal stand. It was an uneasy last few minutes, plus added time with United looking back at their last match at Bramall Lane, which saw them come from 2-0 down, leading 3-2 and drawing in the last minute of the match.

Alex Telles protested to the referee after the Blades’ second goal, which after the reply deemed the Brazilian left-back right to protest. However, the goal was given. Henderson was booked in added time for time wasting and made a good save to deny his former loan club once again. United, at 3-2 up, would have been feeling the pressure from the Blades, who were seeking to double their points tally in the league this season. United got the victory, despite conceding twice, which saw them rise to sixth in the league. Leeds United will head to Old Trafford for the first time in the Premier League since 2004, which will be a big match for United.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Conceded the first goal of the game inside five minutes after a defensive error by Maguire. Soon recovered and gained composure from the opening goal, soon doing this best to try and avert any further goals. Conceded a second goal late in the game and also made a good save to deny his former loan club.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Played well in the right-back position. Got forward a lot of the time and defended when he needed to. I would like to see him more clinical on the attack for United.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Got an assist for Rashford's equaliser. firing the ball over the top with Rashford taking a touch before finding the back of the net.

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5 Harry Maguire

Should not have passed the ball back to Henderson, which led to the opening goal of the match. An England international should understand his defensive duties much better than that.

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27 Alex Telles

Restored himself at the left-back position and played some good football in the victory for United. Having him and Shaw fit at this stage of the match will be a good thing for the freshness of the squad, at least in the left-back position.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Played a good game, at times. Not a starter regularly for me, but did his bit tonight. Will probably be rested at the weekend to play again next week.

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6 Paul Pogba

Played a great ball into Martial in the 33rd minute of the match, which turned into the goal which put United ahead for the first time in the match.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Played a good attacking game against the Blades, after United's initial set back. He did not score any goals or assists but played a part in the victory never the less. He was replaced by Mata in the 74th minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

It was not his best match for United and not his worst either. He played a part in United's third goal, which was partly a team goal. He was replaced by Van de Beek in the 80th minute of the match. I reckon the Dutchman could start against Leeds United on Sunday,

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10 Marcus Rashford

Scored the equaliser for United form a Lindelof assist over the top, taking a touch before beating the Blades' goalkeeper. It was a cracking finish for the England forward and hopefully we start to see more from him after scoring his 11th goal of the season. Scored his 12th goal of the season in the 51st minute of the match, assisted by Martial to put United 3-1 up against the Blades.

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9 Anthony Martial

Scored his third goal of the season, putting United ahead for the first time in the match. He and Pogba seem to link with with the midfielder searching for him a few time with the long passes into the box. Got himself his second assist of the season for Rashford's second goal of the match, which put United 3-1 up against the Blades.

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Substitutes

8 Juan Mata

Replaced Greenwood 74'. Came on with 16 minutes, plus added time, left to play. United conceded another goal, failing to keep the game in bed at 3-1 up. Not Mata's fault though.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Fernandes 80'. Came on for ten minutes, which will hopefully see him start against Leeds on Sunday. He needs more time on the pitch. That will probably come at tis busy period of the season.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Martial 90'. Came on at the death with United just conceding a second goal. Did not really have the time to get involved in the game but did what he needed to, as he usually does.

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Goals: David McGoldrick 5′, 87′; Marcus Rashford 26′, 51′, Anthony Martial 33′

Assists: Oliver Burke 5′; Victor Lindelof 26′, Anthony Martial 51′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Pogba; Greenwood (Mata 74′), Fernandes (Van de Beek 80′), Rashford; Martial (McTominay 90′)

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Shaw; Fred, James

Bookings: Phil Jagielka 51′, John Egan 70′, Jack Robinson 90+5′; Dean Henderson 90+1′, Paul Pogba 90+5′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Henderson, Telles, Matic, Pogba, Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford and Martial start against the Blades

Manchester United will enter a busy period of the Premier League season this evening as they travel to Bramall Lane to face Premier League strugglers Sheffield United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will play every three days until New Year’s Day when the face Aston Villa at Old Trafford. It is normally the busy end of the season. Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to find some form after a 0-0 draw against Manchester City at Old Trafford at the weekend with the Blades still searching for their first Premier League win of the season, which might be hard to get against United, who want to propel themselves up the Premier League table.

Chris Wilder’s side are in poor form, having only scored six goals in all competitions so far this season, five of those in the Premier League and one in the Carabao Cup. It is hoped that David De Gea will be rested ahead of the visit of Leeds United to Old Trafford on Sunday, which could see Dean Henderson in goal for United, against the team he spent the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons on loan with. The Blades seem to be missing the 23-year-old this season, which could be a massive blow if the young English goalkeeper starts on Thursday evening. Solskjaer will need to rotate his team to keep them fresh ahead of this busy Festive period.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles;

Matic, Pogba;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

De Gea; Shaw; Mata, Fred, McTominay, James, Van de Beek

Sheffield United:

Ramsdale;

Basham, Egan, Robinson;

Baldock, Berge, Ampadu, Fleck, Stevens;

McGoldrick, Burke

Substitutes:

Verrips; Jagielka; Norwood, Osborn; Sharp, Mousset, Brewster

United and the Blades have met a total of eight times in the history of the Premier League. United have won six times whereas the Blades have won once with one draw between the two clubs. United have scored a total of 19 goals, winning no penalties. The Blades have scored a total of seven goals, also winning no penalties. United have kept a total of four clean sheets with the Blades keeping just no clean sheets. In terms of discipline, United have been shown a total of 11 yellow cards and no red cards with the Blades being shown a total of 16 yellow cards and no red cards.

Last season, in the fixture at Bramall Lane, which was played on the 24 November 2019, it was a 3-3 draw between the two sides. The Blades opened the scoring through John Fleck in the 19th minute of the match, doubling the lead through Lys Mousset in the 52nd minute. United got a goal back through Brandon Williams in the 72nd minute, equalised through Mason Greenwood in the 77th minute, then scored what should have been the winner through Marcus Rashford in the 79th minute, but Oliver McBurnie scored a 90th minute equaliser. At Old Trafford, it was a 3-0 victory for United with Anthony Martial scoring a hat-trick.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Henderson, Tuanzebe, Pogba, Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford and Martial to start against the Blades?

Manchester United will enter a busy period of the Premier League season on Thursday evening as they travel to Bramall Lane to face Premier League strugglers Sheffield United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will play every three days until New Year’s Day when the face Aston Villa at Old Trafford. It is normally the busy end of the season. Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to find some form after a 0-0 draw against Manchester City at Old Trafford at the weekend with the Blades still searching for their first Premier League win of the season, which might be hard to get against United, who want to propel themselves up the Premier League table.

Chris Wilder’s side are in poor form, having only scored six goals in all competitions so far this season, five of those in the Premier League and one in the Carabao Cup. It is hoped that David De Gea will be rested ahead of the visit of Leeds United to Old Trafford on Sunday, which could see Dean Henderson in goal for United, against the team he spent the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons on loan with. The Blades seem to be missing the 23-year-old this season, which could be a massive blow if the young English goalkeeper starts on Thursday evening. Solskjaer will need to rotate his team to keep them fresh ahead of this busy Festive period.

How United have faired against Sheffield United in the Premier League.

United and the Blades have met a total of eight times in the history of the Premier League. United have won six times whereas the Blades have won once with one draw between the two clubs. United have scored a total of 19 goals, winning no penalties. The Blades have scored a total of seven goals, also winning no penalties. United have kept a total of four clean sheets with the Blades keeping just no clean sheets. In terms of discipline, United have been shown a total of 11 yellow cards and no red cards with the Blades being shown a total of 16 yellow cards and no red cards.

Last season, in the fixture at Bramall Lane, which was played on the 24 November 2019, it was a 3-3 draw between the two sides. The Blades opened the scoring through John Fleck in the 19th minute of the match, doubling the lead through Lys Mousset in the 52nd minute. United got a goal back through Brandon Williams in the 72nd minute, equalised through Mason Greenwood in the 77th minute, then scored what should have been the winner through Marcus Rashford in the 79th minute, but Oliver McBurnie scored a 90th minute equaliser. At Old Trafford, it was a 3-0 victory for United with Anthony Martial scoring a hat-trick.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Sheffield United in the Premier League at Bramall Lane on Thursday evening…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

David De Gea kept a clean sheet against Manchester City at the weekend, but with the matches starting to come thick and fast this month, with United playing every three days until New Year’s Day, rotation will need to happen to keep the players fresh. I would rater see De Gea face Leeds United at Old Trafford at the weekend, which would leave Dean Henderson in a position to head pack to familiar ground starting against his former loan club, which he spent the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons at. It could be a good game for the 23-year-old to show his worth to his manager in his bid to dethrone De Gea from the number one spot at United.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

This is a major problem area for United. They will, however, be boosted by the fact they did not concede any goals against Manchester City at the weekend, which will be seen, not by everyone, as a good result. United need to find consistency in this area and it is speculated that a central defender could be on the cards during the January transfer window, which was really needed in the summer. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw will keep their places in the fullback positions with Axel Tuanzebe partnering Harry Maguire in the central defensive position, which could be a chance for the duo to forge a partnership this season.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

Solskjaer needs to find balance in the midfield this season as there are is many changes recently, a partnership in a 4-2-3-1 formation has not been able to be found. I think Paul Pogba will start in this match, which will be an opportunity for the Frenchman to show what he’s made of amid the speculation regarding his future, which seems to be touted for the summer transfer window. If the player is not performing well, there is a chance that there may not be much, if any, interest in the player. Scott McTominay should partner the Frenchman. What he offers the club is sheer grit and determination and plenty of passion to succeed.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

All three players have found the back of the net multiple times this season with Mason Greenwood scoring three goals, Bruno Fernandes scoring 11 and Marcus Rashford scoring 10 – that is an impressive 24 goals in all competitions so far, which could be furthered with a good performance against the Blades, who are struggling in the Premier League this season. United should get the three points on offer easy and then get on track to face Leeds United at Old Trafford for the first time in the Premier League since 2004, which was a 1-1 draw between the fierce rivals. If this trio are on form, this could be a good match for United.

Forwards: Anthony Martial

The Frenchman has scored just two goals in all competitions so far this season and is behind both Fernandes (11), Rashford (10), Edinson Cavani (three) and Greenwood (three) in the goalscoring ranks. Martial missed the RB Leipzig match, which was a blow, coming off the bench against City, but unable to be the difference between the two sides drawing. Martial will need to find some form or the fact that Cavani is at the club could see him being resigned to the bench or back on the left-wing, should Rashford not play, or play in another position. Martial should be finding some form about now and failure to do that could be devastating for him.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles; Juan Mata, Daniel James, Donny van de Beek; Edinson Cavani

Three substitutes will be available in domestic competitions now that European football is out of the way until February. With matches coming every three days until New Year’s Day, Solskjaer will need to keep his squad fresh for the onslaught of matches which will be tough for United. David De Gea could be on the bench should Henderson start against the Blades. In defence, Eric Bailly and Alex Telles could be options, should they be required. In midfield, Juan Mata, Daniel James and Donny van de Beek could come on to change the game with Edinson Cavani the only forward on the bench, should be not be fit enough to start the match.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Sheffield United -v- Manchester United – Premier League – United ready to destroy the Blades?

Sheffield United -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Bramall Lane, Sheffield

Thursday 17 December 2020, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett

Fourth Official: Robert Jones

VAR: Paul Tierney Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard

Manchester United will enter a busy period of the Premier League season on Thursday evening as they travel to Bramall Lane to face Premier League strugglers Sheffield United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will play every three days until New Year’s Day when the face Aston Villa at Old Trafford. It is normally the busy end of the season. Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to find some form after a 0-0 draw against Manchester City at Old Trafford at the weekend with the Blades still searching for their first Premier League win of the season, which might be hard to get against United, who want to propel themselves up the Premier League table.

Chris Wilder’s side are in poor form, having only scored six goals in all competitions so far this season, five of those in the Premier League and one in the Carabao Cup. It is hoped that David De Gea will be rested ahead of the visit of Leeds United to Old Trafford on Sunday, which could see Dean Henderson in goal for United, against the team he spent the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons on loan with. The Blades seem to be missing the 23-year-old this season, which could be a massive blow if the young English goalkeeper starts on Thursday evening. Solskjaer will need to rotate his team to keep them fresh ahead of this busy Festive period.

Manchester United: DLWLWW

Manchester City 0-0 D, RB Leipzig 3-2 L, West Ham United 3-1 W, Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 L, Southampton 3-2 W, Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 W

Sheffield United: WWDWWL

Olympique de Marseille 3-0 W, Fulham 2-0 W, FC Porto 0-0 D, Burnley 5-0 W, Olympiacos FC 1-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L

Top Scorers: Sheffield United have scored six goals in all competitions this season. Bruno Fernandes has 11 goals himself in all competitions. The Blades are in dire form in front of goal.

Manchester United Goals: 11 – Bruno Fernandes, 10 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, 2 – Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, 1 – Own Goal, Daniel James, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United’s exit from the Champions League last week, which saw them fall back into the Europa League, will have hurt the players, who were top of their group in the Champions League going into the final match against RB Leipzig, needing just a draw; losing 3-2 with a late comeback from United, which was not enough. After some good form in the Premier League, this has left the club falling short. A 0-0 draw against Manchester City at Old Trafford at the weekend will have been a good result for some, but United should be taking advantage of their position against teams like the Blades, who are struggling this season.

Sheffield United Goals: 3 – David McGoldrick, 1 – Sander Berge, Oliver McBurnie, Billy Sharp

The Blades have started poorly in the Premier League this season and after 12 matches, still only have one point on the board and are still seeking their first victory of the season. It is early days to suggest anything, but the Blades could match Derby County’s record in the Premier League, or even beat it if things do not improve this season. The Championship could beckon once again for the club who looked to achieve a place in European competition last season. It seems to be a dramatic fall from grace with the player’s having a lot of soul searching to do in order to get back on track in the top flight of English football.

Team News: Three players could be out of action for the Blades with two possible absences for United but I think Edinson Cavani will be fit to face the Blades on Thursday evening.

Phil Jones (knee) has been ruled out until 2021, not that he was named in the Premier League squad this season anyway, which would stop him form playing if he was indeed fit. Edinson Cavani has returned to training but has a 75% chance of being fit to ply against the Blades on Thursday evening. Solskjaer suggested that he would not make it for the Manchester City match, which was the case but there would seem to be a large chance that he could feature against the Blades, with United’s attacking line a little short against City, not that creativity in the match led to many great chances in front of goal.

Kean Bryan (calf strain) and Jack O’Connell (knee) have both been ruled out of the clash with United at Bramall Lane on Thursday evening. Oliver McBurnie (shoulder) has a 25% chance of being available for the match, which suggests it is unlikely that he would play – but that said, there are still two more days until the match, so he might recover in time. This will be an important match for the bottom of the table club, which could see them fall further behind with another defeat this season. Chris Wilder will be hoping that his Blades side rediscover their form against United keeping an eye on the result at home last season.

Predicted Starting XI: Anthony Martial to lead the line supported by Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood but with changes expected throughout the match to keep the players fresh for a busy month?

Anthony Martial could lead the line against the Blades on Thursday evening with United looking to get another three points in the bag. This may or may not be ideal but the Frenchman will be seeking to score some goal this season to catch up with Bruno Fernandes, who has eleven goals and Marcus Rashford, who has ten. Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Fernandes should play in the three behind the striker. In midfield, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay could do a job with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw in a four-man defence. Dean Henderson could face his former club, starting in place if David De Gea.

Match Prediction: Eight matches played between United and the Blades with United winning six, losing once and drawing once.

United and the Blades have met a total of eight times in the history of the Premier League. United have won six times whereas the Blades have won once with one draw between the two clubs. United have scored a total of 19 goals, winning no penalties. The Blades have scored a total of seven goals, also winning no penalties. United have kept a total of four clean sheets with the Blades keeping just no clean sheets. In terms of discipline, United have been shown a total of 11 yellow cards and no red cards with the Blades being shown a total of 16 yellow cards and no red cards.

Last season, in the fixture at Bramall Lane, which was played on the 24 November 2019, it was a 3-3 draw between the two sides. The Blades opened the scoring through John Fleck in the 19th minute of the match, doubling the lead through Lys Mousset in the 52nd minute. United got a goal back through Brandon Williams in the 72nd minute, equalised through Mason Greenwood in the 77th minute, then scored what should have been the winner through Marcus Rashford in the 79th minute, but Oliver McBurnie scored a 90th minute equaliser. At Old Trafford, it was a 3-0 victory for United with Anthony Martial scoring a hat-trick.

Sheffield United 0-4 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Ravel Morrison: From world at his feet to no more chances remaining – talent only takes you so far

Ravel Morrison was once described as Manchester United’s best talent since George Best, which with his age at the time was a flattering thing to be said about the player. Sir Alex Ferguson had a god eye for talent and Morrison was going to go a long way in the game, or so it was thought at the time. It never worked for him at United for a number of reasons. Going into the slightest detail in his book, Leading, Ferguson said:

“Sadly, there are examples of players who have similar backgrounds to Ryan Giggs or Cristiano Ronaldo who, despite enormous natural talent, just aren’t emotionally or mentally strong enough to overcome the hurts of their childhood and their inner demons.”

Morrison left United in January 2012, signing for West Ham United. It was not going to work at United because of the off the field activity he had got himself involved in – Manchester’s gang culture. It is not the best thing for a footballer to do, especially one as talented as Morrison was. He had a chance to get his career back on track, away from Manchester. At the time he signed for Sam Allardyce’s Hammers, Ferguson also said:

“A brilliant footballer. Brilliant ability. Top class ability. Needs to get away from Manchester and start a new life.”

At West Ham, Morrison made 24 appearances scoring five goals in three seasons. He was loaned to Birmingham City (30 appearances, three goals), Queens Park Rangers (17 appearances, six goals) and Cardiff City (seven appearances, no goals) before the player signed a pre-contract agreement with Lazio in January 2015 this his contract was terminated with the Hammers the following month. He made eight appearances scoring no goals for Lazio before becoming unsettled and was loaned out again.

This time, Morrison headed back to QPR (five appearances, no goals). He then spent the 2017/18 season on loan with Atlas in Mexico, making 25 appearances and scoring four goals. He returned to Lazio where his contract expired. He then signed for Östersund in Sweden, signing a six month contract, making nine appearances, scoring one goal. It just seemed like it was not going to work for him. It was not his fault though!

That will be according to the player, it was never his fault. There is an age old saying, ‘talent can only take you so far, hard work will take you to the top’, or words to that effect. I am sure you understand what I mean. Morrison had plenty of talent but the lack of hard work was the problem. Players who fail never seem to blame themselves. There is always an excuse. For Morrison, he needed to have many. Failure seemed to be everywhere.

In July 2019, Morrison was given another opportunity to find his feet by Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder. It was a chance for the player to right all his wrongs, and there were many of them. However, fast forward six months into his one-year deal and the player, after making four appearances scoring no goals, Morrison was loaned out to Middlesbrough where he made three appearances. He was send back to the Blades with one match remaining – clearly another failure.

Who do you blame when what seemed like a last chance resulted in even more failure? Well, you take to Twitter and tell people that they ‘could never walk in the shoes he has walked in’. It would seem the feel sorry for me mentality is now coming out and it will not work, almost like all the chances he has had during his career so far. How many chances can someone get and then not pay them back with hard work and determination? Morrison, on his Twitter account, said:

“Don’t compare me to your average, there’s different levels…

“There’s no next Ravel Morrison [or] he’s the same as Ravel Morrison because they have hiccups. I’ve had life struggles, the amount of obstacles I have had to climb in my life use will never understand.

“You could never walk in the shoes I’ve walked in, never and will NEVER come across scenes of what my eyes have seen, sometimes in life things plan out perfect and sometimes things are just not ment to be!

“Life can be difficult sometimes. BUT I’m born to [lose], Built to win amen. Just don’t judge me before you no me [sic].”

It is a shame that it happened this way. The lad had a massive amount go talent in his locker and if he had applied that correctly and put in the work, instead of getting involved in gang culture, it might have been so much different for him. The best thing the 27-year-old can do now is look at his list of failings, take ownership of them, deal with his inner demons and try to find a way to make it all right. In football though, he might not get another opportunity to create a career for himself and that is only down to him.

Written by John Walker

Dean Henderson tells Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make him number one or sell him

Manchester United academy goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who has been on loan with Sheffield United for the past two season, rising from the Championship and playing well in his first season in the Premier League has reportedly told Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to either make him the number one goalkeeper at the club or sell him. The 23-year-old is a good talent but doubts still remain in his ability to become the first choice goalkeeper at the club, possibly done to the pressure rather than ability.

The Sun has reported that the goalkeeper does not want to return to the Old Trafford club this summer to play second fiddle to David De Gea at the club with the Spaniard making some high profile errors which had cost United during the past season and beyond. It is either something that will get better or worse and United will not want to make too hasty a decision. Henderson is the heir to De Gea in terms of becoming the number one goalkeeper at the Theatre of Dreams.

However, this is not something that will happen on his terms. In my mind, if you have done well at another club, which is what Henderson has done on each load spell from Stockport County to Grimsby Town, to Shrewsbury Town to the Blades, the player has risen in stature at each club, rising a division with each spell before reaching the Championship and ultimately the Premier League with the same club. This shows that he has what it takes to succeed.

That said, the player surely cannot expect Solskjaer to permanently drop De Gea, something he did not do after high profile errors which cost the club, and certainly to something that he will do after being told by a 23-year-old to do it. I mean no disrespect there but Henderson is not the manager of the club. What he should be doing is coming back to United as the number two goalkeeper, if Sergio Romero wants to leave the club, them aiming to prove himself at United, rather that being handed the permanent position.

I believe that this will show his drive and determination more, chasing down De Gea to earn the number one shirt himself, which would surely mean more to the player, rather than demanding something and being handed it on a plate. Where is the lesson there. If Solskjaer did this, he would not have the authority to drop the player when he made errors, as they will come, eventually, which would see the manager in a position whereby he has been trumped by a player, weakening his own position.

De Gea signed a new contract last year which sees him as one of the high earners left at the club, leaving Solskjaer in a position whereby his second-choice goalkeeper could be earning more than the number one, which will not be a good position to be in. Chelsea have been known to hold interest in Henderson, seeking a replacement for Kepa Arrizabalaga, which has been in poor form this season too, similar to De Gea. It is a choice that Solskjaer will find tough, especially if Henderson is sold and does well at another club. However, if he drops De Gea and Henderson falters big time, he will suffer too. He can’t win either way.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW