Sheffield United 2-3 Manchester United: David McGoldrick’s two goals ensured a fluent attack performance by the visitors
Manchester United may continue to move from the ridiculous to the sublime, but how sublime they can be. Three of the best goals Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will score of the entire season brought another Premier League win from behind on the road and denied Sheffield United their first win of their relentlessly miserable season.
A mistake by Dean Henderson, just handing his second start in the Premier League for the club and so impressively loaned out at Bramall Lane last season, allowed David McGoldrick to pounce and Chris Wilder’s side short of hope to give that they have to wait a long time for three points can finally come to an end.
But like all six United away days this season, they have teamed up to turn the competition around. Two goals from Marcus Rashford on either side of a long overdue goal from Anthony Martial and a virtuoso performance by Paul Pogba have stolen the hosts’ game in style.
McGoldrick added consolation in the closing stages and – like in the 3-3 draw in the corresponding game last season, Sheffield United briefly threatened a comeback of their own – but there would be no equalization. The gap between the high-flyers last season and their relegation colleagues continues to grow. Wilder is starting to get worried, just like those above him.
Solskjaer meanwhile looks up and climbs to sixth place with this victory. His site was excellent at times. Rashford’s goal for the first game and Pogba’s pass for the second game warrant repeated sightseeing, but the nicest goal was the third – a smooth transition from defense to offense, starting with a Pogba roulette with four more players added and finished by Rashford were.
But again, they made things look harsh before they made things look easy. Solskjaer’s side fell back for the 11th time in their 18 league and European games this season and Henderson, who faced his former club ahead of David de Gea, made a mistake that will likely bring him back to the bench over Christmas.
Henderson spent much of last season kicking long Bramall Lane, more than any other top division goalkeeper. This could be the reason why the error occurred while trying to play from behind. He hesitated too long when he received a ball from Harry Maguire near his goal line for Oliver Burke to close.
Burke blocked Henderson’s kick and the Manchester United goalkeeper failed to choke the loose ball. It broke for McGoldrick, who was left with a simple tap-in. Henderson briefly thought he might be resuscitated by VAR, but after a brief delay while officials checked that Burke had handled the ball in the goal maw fight, the goal was scored.
John Fleck should have added another one. Chris Basham, of all people, twisted and twisted her in a quick counterattack that ended with John Fleck found unmarked on the edge of the penalty area. He pulled his shot far. Wilder’s winless side flew. But their wings would soon be cut off.
Phil Jagielka presented a thigh injury from Sander Berge. Using a 38-year-old center-back against the speed of Manchester United’s attack was a risk. Doing so while playing a high line was willingly self-destructive. With several hectares of space, the compensation was easily possible. And yet it was still exquisite.
Victor Lindelof’s peach ball over the defensive point from his own half pushed Jagielka against Rashford. It was exactly the match Manchester United wanted. Rashford raced away from his marker and a flawless first touch made for a beautiful finish that he wrenched off his feet and ripped past Aaron Ramsdale.
Even so, Wilder insisted on the high line and ignored some warning signs as Manchester United strikers were marginally sidelined. A carefully measured pass behind it would break it. Pogba found it and cut a first-time ball over the top, around John Egan, and right into Martial’s feet.
Martial controlled like a striker without a league goal this season, but Ramsdale tried to collect the ball like a goalkeeper who went five clean sheets in top 50 games. The ball bounced against him and then behind him, allowing Martial to sit down and lead him into an empty net.
Pogba began to dictate as if realizing that he was way above the standard of the opposition. Those struggling to name a good performance from Manchester United’s record signing should remember this game well. His death assumed greater scope and ambition. His contribution to the team’s third goal was great.
When Pogba intercepted a Sheffield United throw deep in his own half, he turned away from one device and pirouetted around another. Intricate patterns of one- and two-touch passing between Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Rashford and Martial brought them to the court until Rashford had to score a low, hard finish. It was a majestic destination.
That should have been. McGoldrick had other ideas and steered the ball past Henderson on a corner after Lindelof knocked it against him. But Solskjaer’s side would hold on, and Henderson would even get a chance to atone for his early mistake. Substitute Lys Moussett may have stolen a point late, if not the goalkeeper’s fine, to prolong his former club’s sad start.
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Manchester United F. . C.. . , Sheffield United F. . C.. . , Premier League, Manchester, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Dean Henderson
World news – GB – Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial jointly sink Sheffield United
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