Emotions ranged from anger, joyful shock and disappointment in the end as Ole’s Man Utd fought back from two goals down only to give it away in the last minute, leaving us with one point rather than three to take home from South Yorkshire.
Forwards change games
It looked as if Man Utd were drifting towards another defeat, with one of the worst performances you ever had the displeasure of sitting through. It took a goal out of nothing, the ball finally sticking with Martial, playing it out to James, who delivered a ball into the box that found its way to Williams, finishing with aplomb. From then on, the introduction of Greenwood only aiding it, United somehow found a way to click after being marshalled out of the game by the Blades backline. The second was another bit of quality from Rashford’s delicious cross, who found Greenwood for his first goal in the Premier League. The first two goals were individual quality but the third was a great team goal. James, Martial and Rashford all combining beautifully to put Red Devils ahead for the first time in the game. They were out of it for much of the game, partially down to the fact the service into them was dire beyond belief but also in part to the fact, their own movement was not pulling apart Sheffield United enough and not giving options to the midfield to find them
If anything you could say that United’s goals came from the fact that the individual quality on the front end of the pitch came together to provide it. Yet it was lack of quality at the back and the whole shape in general that were at fault for the goals we conceded. The decision to start Jones in a back three backfired as it was his mistake, which allowed Mousset through for the first goal, eventually ending in the Fleck goal. Loss of possession in the middle by Pereira was the first mistake in the second where, Maguire overcompensated in his covering and Williams did not go to cover even further because of that fact. The third came from poor defensive play from James and United not clearing the ball in the box before McBurnie was able to stick it in the back of the net. The decision to go with a back five, emptying the midfield, was a shocking one from Solskjaer. It was rectified in the second but by then it was too late. One of the Sheffield United’s front two going off put the game into a sleepy lull that United capitalised on. Once the game had been turned on its head, Ole taking off an attacker for a defender when it was obvious that attack was our best form of defence only allowed the opposition to come onto us and put us on the back foot. We have been victims of the Norwegian’s poor in game decisions before but throughout the game, not only in simple personnel choices, a lot was left to be desired. Out-thought, out-fought and out-manoeuvred for much of the game, coming away with a point would be seen as a very good result given the ebbs and flows of those 90 minutes.
As much as the shape and tactics did not help them in the slightest, Pereira and Fred’s ball retention is beyond pathetic. Simple passes either did not connect or were veered too far from the feet of the receiving player that it would end up in a poor touch for them. If there were better options in the middle, they would be lucky to see the bench of our Europa League squad, let alone starting away in tough grounds of the Premier League
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