FootballManchester United

Missed Opportunity

United fall 2-1 to Sheffield United

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 Manchester United’s title hopes took a major hit Wednesday as the Reds lost 2-1 at home to Sheffield United.

Goals from Kean Bryan and Oliver Burke in each half of play cancelled out Harry Maguire’s equaliser.

A win could’ve moved Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men back into first in the Premier League.

Game Story

 35 points separated these sides heading in this fixture in what was deemed a mismatch.

Predictably United had the bulk of possession with 76% for the game but rarely did they threaten Aaron Ramsdale’s goal.

When they got themselves in Sheffield’s final third the Blades defence seemed to always have an answer.

Phil Jagielka and Chris Basham were usually there for vital blocks or interceptions in the first half for the Blades.

The visitors went ahead on 23 minutes when Bryan met the delivery by Fleck at the near post getting in front of de Gea to open the scoring.

Ramsdale was solid with good saves off Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial as the Blades got out of the first-half unscathed.

Just past the hour mark and United drew level.

Harry Maguire headed the Alex Telles corner into the far corner of the net for his second of the season.

United pressed to go ahead but a strong Sheffield side seemingly always behind the ball kept them at bay.

Oliver Burke regained his side’s advantage out of nothing.

A Martial giveaway allowed the Blades to break as Burke got the rebound after John Lundstram’s shot was blocked.

Burke’s effort took a wicked deflection and flew over de Gea for the Blades’ second goal.

Ramsdale did well to save an Alex Telles effort in the 76th minute.

Pogba’s header a minute later went narrowly wide.

The last chance for United came in the 82nd minute.

Martial headed down Paul Pogba’s cross to Cavani who blasted it over the bar.

Man of the Match

 On a night where the Reds struggled in front of goal, it makes sense that the best player on the pitch was a veteran centre-back.

That was the case in this game for Phil Jagielka.

The 38-year-old who was born in Manchester had a solid outing for his side.

A number of key blocks and interceptions helped eliminate a number of potential scoring opportunities for the Reds.

Stepping in for the suspended John Egan the backline was as calm and compact as we’ve ever seen this season.

Coming in Twos

 Sheffield United seem to be at their best in attack when facing Man United.

Only two times this season have the Blades scored two goals in a game and both times it came against the Red Devils.

United has rescued 21 points this season after first conceding but at Old Trafford it’s a very different story.

In their two Premier League matches at Old Trafford where they conceded first they’ve gone on to lose.

United is now number two in the standings, a point back of Manchester City who’ve played one fewer game.

All good things must come to an end

 This defeat does more than just hamper United title aspirations.

It’s the first loss for Solskjaer’s side in a Premier League fixture in their last 14 matches.

For Sheffield it’s their first win at Old Trafford since Boxing Day 1973.

 In a slump

 Bruno Fernandes continues to struggle in Premier League play of late.

He lacked the quality and vision we’re used to seeing from him tonight.

The Portuguese influencer is without a goal or an assist in his last four Premier League matches.

He created three half-chances in the match but rarely got a sniff in the opposition’s box.

Managers Words

 Following the match United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his team lacked quality in attack.

“We had all the possession but when you concede two bad goals it is always going to be difficult. We didn’t create enough. We put pressure on them but we couldn’t penetrate enough in behind them and create big enough chances to score enough goals,” says Solskjaer.

Next Up

 United hope to bounce back this weekend when they face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

The kickoff is at 5:30pm. (JSL).

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