Manchester United vs Sheffield United Summary
Manchester United put out a shambolic performance as they suffered their first defeat since November against Sheffield United. A game most fans expected as a win turned into one of the horror stories of United’s season. The defeat keeps United in second regardless of the other clubs’ results. However, it means they remain a point behind Manchester City with the noisy neighbours able to extend this gap to four with their game in hand (against Everton). Two poor goals conceded by the home side and a clueless attacking performance has left a lot of fans furious and thoroughly embarrassed by last night’s match. While there were controversial (or downright wrong) decisions against United, the performance put out deserved nothing.
It was a truly disgraceful performance against Sheffield United and one that could demonstrate that this Manchester United team is not ready to win a title. The reason I say could is that you don’t win a title by being top by three points after 19 games. You also don’t lose one after 20 and second by a point.
Manchester United have to bounce back and step up against Arsenal as City may be at the top but have a tough set of games coming. If they drop points as they are bound to do at some point in this run, United must capitalise. It starts with Arsenal as United cannot afford back to back defeats. Ole must generate a reaction from his players because we will be torn apart if we play the same way at the Emirates.
Manchester United vs Sheffield United Player Ratings
David de Gea 5/10
Made a big save early on. Should be stronger in punching away the clearance but was clearly fouled. Could not save the second.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka 6/10
In the first half, he was the main attacking outlet but failed to make a real impact. He was defensively solid.
Axel Tuanzebe 5/10
I think he mistimes his leap for the opener and is truly unfortunate with the second. He was rash but his passing was good. The abuse he got was disgraceful regardless of the performance.
Harry Maguire 7/10
Got the team back in the game with a truly sumptuous header and his long passing was flawless. Cannot fault Maguire for the defeat.
Alex Telles 6.5/10
Felt like he was denied possession in the first half but his crosses were dangerous. Should have pressed Burke for the second but that is true for half the team. Good assist for Maguire.
Nemanja Matic 4/10
Sloppy passing all game. Tried to bypass Pogba and Bruno with passes into the front three and it didn’t work. Good defensively but he needs to be replaced at the end of the season.
Paul Pogba 5/10
Did the simple things right but failed to have an impact in the final third. Could have pressed Burke but I think he was shielding a cut-back so the benefit of the doubt for him there.
Bruno Fernandes 3/10
So many misplaced passes and yet created some big chances. Bad day at the office for Bruno.
Mason Greenwood 5/10
Offered good width but missed his big chance. Thought he deserved to stay on.
Marcus Rashford 3/10
He got it wrong today. Slowed the tempo at the wrong times but some decent footwork.
Anthony Martial 2/10
I have been defending Martial this season as the drop off from last season has been severe. I still believe it is due to a drop in confidence from his red card and injury but has to get going soon or he could lose his place. He was woeful last night and failed to track back with any energy, move around with any purpose or create anything of note. I believe he needs to be dropped for his own sake, get his confidence back gradually and return to the form we saw last season. A reminder he got firing at this point last season and I pray for his sake he can repeat it. For now, Cavani has to start.
Edinson Cavani 6/10
Should have come on much earlier but immediately offered more energy.
Donny van de Beek 6/10
Some sharp passing and good movement. Not a lot of time to make an impact.
Luke Shaw 6.5/10
Bright and energetic. Some decent crosses.
Man of the Match: Harry Maguire
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 5/10
I don’t think he made any errors with the selection. Cavani can’t be overused and neither can Lindelof. Where he should be criticised is in the substitutions. I do understand that he was giving faith to one of his strongest attacking lineups but Martial played awfully and deserved to come off whereas Greenwood played with some width and is more comfortable on the right. I also think Donny should have come on earlier (in fact, I thought he should have started) as Matic wasn’t shifting the ball quickly and we lost the midfield battle.
This is one of the few criticisms Ole does need to sort out and I do think he has to be stronger specifically with Martial. It worked with Shaw, it worked with Pogba, it can work with Martial. Ole just has to pull the trigger and drop him as he is not guaranteed a starting position with a squad as strong as ours.