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Manchester United vs Sheffield United (1-2) Match Summary: Massive blow to United’s title chances!

Coming into the game, [team 14] were on the back of an impressive win against [team 8] in the [league24]. With a win, they could have gone top of the [league 8] and taking over city rivals in the process.

However, there were quite a lot of surprises in [coach524307]’s starting eleven. [player 4391] partnered Maguire with Telles replacing the in-form [player 955]. Both Fred and [player 455376] were on the bench with [player 1335] coming in to provide the shield behind [player 1992] and Bruno. [player 1829] started up front despite Cavani’s scintillating form recently. In total, there were six changes to the side which beat Liverpool in the cup.

[team 21] were in their usual 3-5-2 with [player 32] starting between [player 12542] and Basham. Norwood, Fleck and [player 3262] started with [player 3604] and Bryan providing the width. Surprisingly, Burke was left on the bench with [player 1384] and McGoldrick starting upfront.

With Sheffield United’s recent form bringing optimism, this wasn’t as easy as expected for the red devils.

First-Half

United didn’t start the game with the usual intensity and quite negative in their passing. Despite dominating the ball in the early minutes, there were no clear cut chances for the home side apart from the narrowly missed chance by [player 1878]. Fernandes was struggling to get into the game, and that’s where United started to give away the ball in crucial areas.

Gradually, Sheffield United grew into the game with their recent good form in the FA Cup as well as the Premier League giving them confidence. The Blades then took a shock lead through a [player 5858] corner which was headed goalwards by [player 9726]. There is plenty of controversy surrounding that goal. Still, after the VAR check, the goal stood, and Sheffield United were a goal up inside 25 minutes at Old Trafford.

In the 30th minute, United thought they had equalized, but the referee disallowed the goal as Maguire was deemed to have fouled [player 9438] in the process. Frustration was growing among the United staff and players with half time approaching.

The first half did end with Sheffield United being a goal up despite Man United’s 77% possession in the opening half. The home side had 2 shots on target, equal to Sheffield United’s despite the significant difference in the possession. However, Sheffield United were defensively solid as they completed 5 tackles, 7 interceptions and an impressive 11 clearances.

With a crucial 45 minutes ahead, the pressure was mounting on the home side.

Second-Half

Four minutes into the second half, [player 129602] provided the required guile when he played in [player 20333643] who missed another fine chance. United continued to dominate possession and were looking comparatively better since the restart. However, they were unable to break a well-drilled defensive block of Sheffield United. The blades themselves threatened on the counter-attack with [player 2191] coming close to double his side’s lead in the 56th minute. Later on, in quick succession, Manchester United were provided two in range free-kick opportunities which they failed to capitalize on.

Sooner, the home side did get their equalizer through skipper Maguire who powered home the header from a set-piece well delivered by [player 130177]. Incredibly, just ten minutes later, Sheffield United were back in front after another counter-attack which led to a fine passage of play. Twice, [player 6286] was allowed a lot of space in the box, and in the second attempt, his deflected shot ended in the net and the blades were leading again. Once again, bad defending from the whole team and the space Burke had was unbelievable.

United kept pushing, but [coach 455400]’s side were defending vigorously. Sheffield United recorded a resounding 17 clearances along with 9 interceptions and 10 tackles. The blades’ defensive stats showcase why they deserved a much needed three points in their battle against the drop.

Eye-Catching Performers

Harry Maguire (Manchester United)

Despite being on the losing side, the skipper was once again their best player on the pitch. Apart from his goal, his distribution from the back was crucial in beating the press. However, his work, in the end, wasn’t enough to get the win but was another strong display by him.

He recorded 3 clearances as well as 1 interception. The 27-year-old completed 106 passes and recorded an accuracy of 88.3% in the process. Impressively, he also completed a fantastic 21 long balls from 22 attempted which signifies his efforts in progressing the ball. [player 2884] won 10 aerial duels as well from 11 attempted. The skipper was inspirational with his display, but the team didn’t win the three points.

Chris Basham (Sheffield United)

Quite similar to Maguire, [player 506]’s work defensively was brilliant, but his outstanding distribution was critical in progressing the ball forward. The 32-year-old completed 6 clearances, blocked 1 shot as well as completing 4 tackles and 3 interceptions. Along with these outstanding defensive numbers, Basham also completed 22 passes with an 88% passing accuracy.

If Sheffield United have any chances of avoiding the drop, then Chris Basham will have to be at his best to help his side in the miracle.

John Fleck (Sheffield United)

[player 5858] had another brilliant performance in the middle of the park. His ability to beat the press was once again a big part of the blades’ success at the Old Trafford. He completed 2 key passes and 1 cross. Defensively as well, Fleck was strong with 3 interceptions and 2 tackles completed against Man United.

He is another player who knows Wilder’s system and will be crucial as the season progresses.

After a run which saw United leading the charge, no one saw defeat against bottom club Sheffield United coming

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