Manchester United – Sheffield United: Oliver Burke and Kean Bryan scored for Sheffield United in a shocking end to Manchester United’s 13-match unbeaten Premier League run.
Blades won 2-1 on Wednesday at Old Trafford, a second win in three matches after going 17 without a win to start the season. Sheffield United’s eight points are 10 back of 17th-place Brighton with 18 matches to play.
Man United out-attempted Blades 16-5 but ex-Blades back Harry Maguire scored the only goal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, who hadn’t lost since a Nov. 1 home setback to Arsenal. Their lone draws in that run came against Man City, Leicester City, and Liverpool.
The Gunners are coincidentally next on Man United’s docket, as the second-place Red Devils lick their wounds from allowing Man City to stay a point ahead of them.
Three things we learned from Manchester United – Sheffield United
1. Red Devils will be furious with VAR: Every player wants consistency from the referee and Manchester United will be raging after it was denied an equalizer for goalkeeper interference minutes after Blades’ interference held up under VAR scrutiny.
Sheffield United took the lead when Bryan nodded inside the back post, but a punching De Gea was clearly shoved by Billy Sharp. VAR didn’t mind, but did act when Maguire’s leap up to beat Aaron Ramsdale to the ball made contact in a far less egregious manner and Man United thought it had an equalizer. So frustrating for Solskjaer.
2. Unlucky all year, Blades get bounces: See above and add in Burke’s goal, which took a vicious turn off Axel Tuanzebe on its way to defying De Gea. Blades are the most unfortunate team in the Premier League in terms of expected points, entering the day with 13.82 points fewer then expected. That was mostly in front of goal, where Blades had scored 10 but were expected to have nearly 20. The odds were in their favor.
3. Bryan haunts would-be rivals: Twenty-four year old Kean Bryan collected England youth national team appearances at Manchester City’s academy but never made a senior appearance for the Etihad Stadium set. So while he might’ve dreamed of scoring winners against Manchester United, he’ll be delighted to count his first Premier League goal as a surprising opener for the underdogs at Old Trafford.
Man of the Match: Harry Maguire
The Man United captain, so improved from his early-season woes, planted a picture-perfect header of an Alex Telles corner kick into the goal in the 64th minute, not celebrating against his former club. He’s been so good in recent weeks, winning duels and making every type of pass in the book. Maguire was 14-of-15 on long passes when the equalizer arrived.
Manchester United – Sheffield United recap
Marcus Rashford dragged an early shot wide
Blades went ahead off a corner kick, ex-Man City academy man Bryan rising high to take advantage of a shoved David De Gea to nod inside the back post.
United had a goal taken away when Harry Maguire collided with Aaron Ramsdale just before the Red Devils equalized, but VAR this time was on the keeper’s side.
The Red Devils fought for an equalizer while Blades were comfortable to look for the counterattack, and David McGoldrick was offside when he blazed 1v1 chance over De Gea and the bar.
Maguire then beat Jagielka to a corner kick, thumping a header from the spot inside the far post. A nearly perfect header.
Enter substitute Edinson Cavani, who just missed with a cross-goal flick in the 69th.