Manchester United earned a second consecutive Premier League win on Saturday, defeating Sheffield United at Bramall Lane 2-1. The did so despite having failed to play effectively through the 20th place team in the Premier League, a team with no wins coming into Saturday, something which will keep the alarms sounding for the time being.
Not great, but three points is three points!
The lineup had a bit of a “mid” aura about it, and it wasn’t just because of the midfield. The back four was a mix of players yet again due to the injuries at fullback, and Victor Lindelof had to slot in at left back. It understandably looked a bit more like a back three without a left wing back at times, and the build up on the left suffered sorely because of it.
United somehow struck first however, with Scott McTominay continuing his good form by chesting a Bruno Fernandes pass down and firing it through a defender and into the far corner of the goal.
Unfortunately, moments later McTominay stretched out his arm and blocked a cross to give away a penalty, which Olli McBurnie converted to equalize for the Blades.
United tried to respond quickly, and nearly pulled ahead again with Marcus Rashford hitting a nice one touch pass back across goal for Rasmus Hojlund, but the Danish striker couldn’t stretch out and make contact.
Bruno Fernandes had an opportunity from a free kick his well, taking his chances with a powerful shot that whacked off of the crossbar.
The second half saw Rashford set up Hojlund again early with the keeper scrambling. Had a chance to try his luck from distance but opted to set up his teammate, who had a better view of goal to be fair. Shot in the end was too easy to save. Pass from Rashford could have been better too, even if the pass was probably the correct decision.
Rashford was set up for a left footed shot moments after by Bruno Fernandes, dragging it just wide of the target from the angle, and Sofyan Amrabat launched one from distance only to see yet another cracker bounce back off the frame of the goal. Twice the Blades were saved by the crossbar.
Substitutions from Erik ten Hag did little to change United’s fortunes, and understandably because they weren’t very good substitutions. But Diogo Dalot’s right boot did well to help the situation, curling in and absolute banger into the top corner of the Sheffield United goal with a little under 15 minutes to play.
Surprisingly, United did not immediately concede again, and even had a couple looks at doubling their lead. Alejandro Garnacho had a decent effort blocked and another skip just past the post into the side netting. He also missed a chance in stoppage time clear through on goal, but thankfully United’s defense and midfield did fairly well keeping the ball away from their goal and avoided costly mistakes. It was one positive from a game where there were few, and United held on to get a second straight victory in the Premier League.
Up next is a return to UEFA Champions League action at Old Trafford against FC Kobenhavn, who United simply must beat if they have any hope of qualifying for the knockout stages of any European competition.