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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 23 January, 2020
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Liveblog

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Good afternoon and welcome to our liveblog for what should be a fascinating encounter,

Sheffield United currently sit eighth, one point and two places above Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. A win would put them fifth.

You could even argue they are favourites for this game, having now gone five top-flight games unbeaten and been unlucky not to defeat Spurs in their most recent match.

While United haven’t had a good start to the campaign by their standards, a win would also put them in the relatively respectable position of fifth.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could certainly do with that boost. Mauricio Pochettino’s departure from Tottenham has led to renewed speculation that the Argentine could be in line to take over the Red Devils in the near future.

Yet the Old Trafford outfit have historically had a good record against the Blades, winning the last five Premier League encounters between the teams and the previous seven in all competitions.

Indeed, the Sheffield club’s last victory against Man United was in the opening day of the inaugural Premier League season, as their striker Brian Deane scored the first-ever Premier League goal.

Confirmation of today’s teams. Ireland international John Egan misses out through injury.

Who do you think will win?


Poll Results:

Man United (398)
Sheffield United (330)
Draw (257)



sheffield-united-v-manchester-united-premier-league-bramall-lane Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrives for the Premier League match at Bramall Lane. Source: Danny Lawson

We’re under way…

Looks like Man United are matching the hosts by going with a 3-5-2 formation.

Jones, Lindelof and Maguire are the centre halves, with Wan-Bissaka and Williams in the wing-back roles.

It’s been a decent start by Man United.

They have enjoyed plenty of possession and controlled the play.

Rashford gets the ball in a promising position, but is quickly crowded out by a couple of Sheffield United defenders.

The young striker thrives when afforded space, but this is the type of game where he arguably still has to prove himself — where the opposition sit back and don’t allow him territory to run into.

Out of nothing, De Gea is forced into a brilliant double save.

Initially, Fleck’s cross finds Lundstram on the edge of the area, and the midfielder’s volley is tipped away by the Spaniard.

The ball falls to Stevens on the left, whose cross is laid on a plate for McGoldrick.

De Gea needs a strong hand to palm away the Ireland striker’s header, but the attacker will be disappointed he didn’t score from that golden opportunity.

Sheffield United take the lead and it’s a bit of a nightmare from Phil Jones’ perspective.

A routine ball is played over the top and the defender is favourite to win it. However, Mousset shows impressive pace and shrugs the centre-back off the ball.

The striker’s cross finds Lundstram, whose effort is saved by De Gea, but Fleck is in the right place to convert from close range for his second goal of the season.

Sheffield United’s attack, and Mousset in particular, have caused their opponents’ backline a serious headache so far.

Sheffield United are playing with real confidence now, while the visitors are reeling.

McGoldrick charges forward, but his shot from the edge of the area is too close to De Gea.

Harry Maguire is having a real go at Daniel James for not doing enough off the ball.

United have been second best in just about every department so far.

As I type, Martial gets a snapshot on goal from the edge of the area, but Moore, who hasn’t had much to do so far on his Premier League debut, makes an easy save.

Pereira gives a simple ball away.

“So bad” and “arrogant” are two words a clearly unimpressed Gary Neville uses on commentary for Sky.

James has just had nine touches according to Sky — the fewest of any outfield player.

As I type, the crowd cheer loudly, as the Welsh youngster’s attempted pass goes straight out of play.

Man United have weathered the storm slightly and enjoyed decent possession.

However, they’re attacking without any real purpose and don’t look threatening at all.

So half-time and Sheffield United deservedly are leading.

From a Blades perspective, the only disappointment will be that they’re not further ahead.

Man United have been thoroughly outworked and outplayed, with Mousset and McGoldrick causing the defence plenty of problems with their intelligent movement coupled with consider pace, power and work-rate.

Down the other end, Rashford, Martial and James have been fairly anonymous.

To be fair them, they have had little service amid a lifeless performance in general from the visitors, whose poor away record looks set to continue unless they can produce a dramatic second-half turnaround.

Sheffield United’s fans have been chanting “sacked in the morning” in relation to Solskjaer.

It does look like the type of performance from a team that costs the manager his job.

sheffield-united-v-manchester-united-premier-league-bramall-lane Sheffield United's Chris Basham (left) and Manchester United's Marcus Rashford battle for the ball. Source: Danny Lawson

Man United make a change at half-time.

Jesse Lingard replaces Phil Jones, who was at fault for the opening goal.

It looks like that alteration will prompt a change in the visitors’ system.

The second half has begun…

Rashford bursts forward down the left wing.

Jagielka reads the situation well though, and ultimately makes a timely interception to stop the youngster in his tracks.

That’s a bit more encouraging from a Man United perspective.

Sheffield United are in dreamland!

Mousset receives the ball on the edge of the area and his powerful, low shot finds the corner of the net.

That’s a goal his performance has deserved. The 23-year-old French attacker, who was let leave by Bournemouth in the summer, has been the best player on the pitch so far.

Man United’s change of shape hasn’t really worked as of yet.

Sheffield United have looked comfortable, with Moore enjoying a fairly easy Premier League debut.

Martial drops into space.

He produces a powerful strike from about 30 yards, but it goes wide and the goalkeeper looked to have it covered.

Bad news for Sheffield United. Mousset pulls up as he chases a long ball.

It looks like the Blades were about to replace him anyway, and he is now going off to be replaced by McBurnie.

McGoldrick receives the ball on the edge of the box, but his low shot is straight at De Gea.

The Ireland international has delivered lively, intelligent performance, though he is still searching for that elusive Premier League goal.

Hope for Man United!

James does well to get away from Stevens. His cross finds Williams at the far post, who strikes it sweetly first-time on the half-volley and low into the corner of the net.

Immediately thereafter, Solskjaer makes another attacking change, as Greenwood replaces Pereira.

Man United have been visibly boosted by that goal.

All of a sudden, they are attacking in number, with the hosts penned into their own half.

The comeback is complete!

Firstly, for the second goal, it’s a fabulous cross from Rashford, and Greenwood is on hand to convert for his first Premier League goal.

Moments later, Martial and James combine down the left. The latter’s cross is then turned in by Rashford.

After a completely hopeless first 70 minutes, out of nothing, the visitors have turned this game on its head while their opponents have wilted.

Sheffield United make a change.

Callum Robinson has replaced Chris Basham.

Minutes before, Billy Sharp came on for a tired-looking David McGoldrick.

Meanwhile, United make a defensive change, as Axel Tuanzebe is on for Martial.

Sheffield United had been time-wasting a few minutes ago, but now it’s the away side’s turn to take their time over free kicks et cetera.

Less than three minutes of normal time remain for the Blades to find an equaliser.

After a long VAR check, the goal is given.

Robinson did really well to win the ball and play it across the box.

McBurnie controls it, with his arm or shoulder depending on your perspective, before volleying home, with De Gea only able to help it on its way into the net.

Man United will claim it was a handball, though no one can begrudge the Blades a point on the basis of how this game has panned out.

So that’s that. That was a pretty remarkable game.

Sheffield United were by far the better team in the first half — their opponents simply couldn’t deal with their intensity in the first half.

Man United showed good resolve though as the Blades struggled to maintain their high-energy approach.

Their attack, so toothless for much of the game, suddenly came alive in the final 20 minutes and showed the level of quality they undoubtedly possess, but which had been conspicuous by its absence beforehand.

And while Sheffield United’s last-minute equaliser may have been controversial, no one could suggest they didn’t deserve it on the balance of play.

Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

We’ll have more reaction to follow and you can read the match report here.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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