Manchester United play their first game at Old Trafford in over 100 days against unlikely top-four rivals Sheffield United. They picked up a big 3-0 win over the Blades, getting back to winning ways. The Red Devils started the game on positive fashion and took the lead in the 7th minute when Marcus Rashford’s powerful cross was tipped into the goal by Anthony Martial.
The visitors piled up the pressure afterwards but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side maintained a stronghold. United ended the first half on a high when Martial tapped in another goal from close in the 44th minute to give his side some breathing room. The Red Devils dominated the second half and Martial completed his hat-trick in the 74th minute, capping off a brilliant team move with a wonderful chip over the keeper.
Solskjaer’s side saw off the remainder of the game, getting a dominant win which takes them five points clear off Sheffield now and ends their Champions League ambitions. Man United are now 2 points behind Chelsea and need rivals Man City to do them a favour tomorrow.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (7.5) –
Solskjaer went with his strongest possible lineup today and it worked wonders. Made a very good decision to play Matic ahead of McTominay, with the Serbian nullifying Sheffield’s threat in midfield. Ole allowed his boys to have fun today and they did so by displaying some beautiful, quick-passing stuff.
This performance was a great ambassador for his philosophy but Ole must ensure United maintain this momentum in games to come. Extra points for making 5 subs at one go & exhausting the fourth official.
David de Gea (6.0) –
De Gea only had one noticeable save to make on the day, that too a very easy one. The defenders made it easy to get him the clean sheet today.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (8.0)-
Wan-Bissaka is playing a more attacking role today. His persistence going forward pays off as he superbly outmanoeuvred his man before sending a perfect pass to assist Martial’s second. Put in a delightful ball into the area in the 84th but nobody could capitalize on it.
Wan-Bissaka proved how good he can be going forward today. He demanded the ball more often, dribbled into promising areas and his delivery was top-class. Needs to continue this more consistently.
Harry Maguire (6.5) –
The United captain facing his hometown club. Scored a nice header in the 21st but saw it ruled out due to a foul. Took control aerially, winning everything and nullifying Sheffield’s hoofball tactics. Maintained a strong defensive line and ensured his side got their clean sheet.
Victor Lindelof (7.5) –
Lindelof looks sharp in defence today with instinctive challenges. Took charge in United’s backline, making confident tackles, clearances and keeping his side of the pitch very tidy. Refused to be hassled by Sheffield’s forwards and dominated them throughout. Outshone Maguire today.
Luke Shaw (6.5)–
Shaw is inviting attacks through his side by moving too narrow into the central areas, often leaving his wing open. Better in giving Rashford support sprinting down the left channel to create a few moves. Booked in the 67th for a cynical foul.
Nemanja Matic (7.5) –
Matic is protecting his backline really well with strong challenges. Also helping move around the ball with his delicate passing. Used his physicality really well to bully Sheffield’s midfielders and make timely interceptions to recover possession. Very confident in marching United forward and often acted as a third centre-back to aid his defence. United’s oldest player put his experience to very good use.
Paul Pogba (7.5) –
Pogba’s first start since September! Taking it easy with his work-rate early on. Put in a delightful chip to free Rashford in the 19th. Got more involved after that, helping his side regain possession and creating chances with his stylish passes. Showed his class with an outrageous dribble in the 61st, nutmegging a player, going past and about to take a shot before Martial took it off him.
Pogba really enjoyed himself today. His movement, persistence going forward kept United’s attacks looking real good. A very good return to Old Trafford.
Bruno Fernandes (7.0) –
Fernandes is proactive as always and pitched some sweet forward passes early on. Flashed a swerving free-kick in the 18th that was saved. Linking up really well with Martial & Pogba to create some sublime moves. Gave a sublime flick to inspire Martial’s third. Added that something special with his fancy flicks & tricks, ensuring his side dominated the game throughout.
Mason Greenwood (7.0) –
Gets the start over Dan James today. Managed to break through on goal in the 2nd minute, but indecision costs him. Working very hard both defensively and offensively. Managed a shot from range towards the end of the first-half, but saw his attempt saved. Sliced a swerving attempt that deflected agonizingly wide in the 55th. Moved around the attacking areas really well and made things difficult for the defenders.
Anthony Martial (9.5) –
Martial looks much more promising with his movement today. Shows his striker’s instincts with the clinical finish from close to open the lead. Should’ve gone for goal in the 12th minute after being one-v-one with the keeper, but generosity to lay it off for Rashford didn’t pay off. Strong finish from close to get his brace.
Completes his first-ever United hattrick with an exquisite chip over the keeper. Martial showed the hunger every United fans want to see from him. Moved around well, bullied defenders and showcased brilliant finishing skills. First United player to score a PL hat-trick since the Sir Alex days. A sensational showing!
Marcus Rashford (7.5) –
Rashford put in a perfect drilled pass to Martial to force the opener. Had a big chance to score from yards out in the 12th but fizzled out in front of an open net. Had a big chance to score from yards out in the 12th but fizzled out in front of an open net. Again misses an easy chance in the 19th! Lacking his scoring shoes today!
Makes up with another assist, cleverly threading a pass past a number of Sheffield defenders to tip-off Martial’s third. Very good creatively, but needs to brush up his scoring ability again.
Odion Ighalo (5.5) –
Ighalo had a few chances to score, but his poor touch let him down on the day.
Andreas Pereira (N/R) –
Added energy in the last 10 minutes with his sparky movement.
Juan Mata (6.0) –
Mata created a few decent chances with his impressive passing late on, but couldn’t get anything big.
Dan James (N/R) –
James tried to do something special, but didn’t get much time to do so.
Scott McTominay (N/R) –
McTominay was rewarded with a new long-term contract recently and looked to be booming with confidence in his late cameo.
MAN OF THE MATCH
That was a near-perfect performance from hat-trick hero Anthony Martial. Proved his credentials as a deadly centre-forward today. He’s definitely the Man of the Match for today!