Who: Manchester United vs Sheffield United
When: Wednesday, June 24th @ 1:00pm ET
Line: Man U -250 | Draw +340| Sheffield United +800
Manchester United’s first game after the Premier League restart was a frustrating one. They mostly outplayed Tottenham Hotspur, but were simply not clinical enough to get the job done. Now they hope to get back to winning ways against Sheffield United, a side experiencing a bitter run after such a long break.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will fancy their chances with the Blades looking vulnerable. With Bruno Fernandes & Paul Pogba showing sparks of their magic against Spurs, playing all the best cards together can bring a sweet result for the Red Devils in a must-win game to keep their top-four hopes alive – especially with 4th-placed Chelsea now 5 points away after their win over Aston Villa.
Manchester United Predicted XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fernandes, Pogba, Greenwood, Martial, Rashford.
Pogba should start this game after looking fully fit and inspiring United’s late dominance over Spurs on Friday. Victor Lindelof hobbled off towards the end, so he could be missing this one. Phil Jones & Axel Tuanzebe remain doubts after suffering some knock in training.
Sheffield United Predicted XI
Moore, Basham, Jagielka, O’Connell, Baldock, Berge, Lundstram, Fleck, Stevens, Moussett, McBurnie.
The biggest blow for Sheffield in this game will be the unavailability of Dean Henderson, who can’t play against his parent club. John Egan was sent off against Newcastle United, so he’s suspended as well. David McGoldrick could also be a doubt after suffering a slight knock in their first game back againstVilla.
Manchester United vs Sheffield United preview
United’s first game back against Spurs had its positives & negatives. Fernandes & Pogba looked brilliant together, creating chances at will & opening up Spurs sturdy defence with ease. Both players looked fit, sharp & bubbling with positivity. United controlled possession well. Scott McTominay was impressive.
However, on the negative side, neither of their front-three were clinical enough. Anthony Martial, in particular, needs to recharge his batteries and be more involved against Sheffield to make a better impact. United’s defensive vulnerability was displayed when Harry Maguire was outpaced by Steven Bergwijn, while David De Gea made another mistake.
Unless these mistakes are curbed anytime soon, United can’t regain their winning momentum anytime soon. There’s still some rustiness in their game (which is understandable) but that must be shaken off soon. In Sheffield, OGS’ side will find another jam-packed, deep backline who will make themselves difficult.
So it’s the job of Pogba & Bruno to bring that something special to their attack. Both players are extremely creative and can find those spaces which nobody else can. As long as they display sizzling chemistry, United should be able to create plenty of chances with ease.
However, it’s the job of the front-three to convert those into goals. Marcus Rashford also looked a bit rusty in his first game after January, but needs to rediscover his goal-scoring edge quick. Martial needs to be proactive to get on the end of the chances & Mason Greenwood should be given the nod on Wednesday after Dan James’ poor showing at Spurs.
Greenwood is a natural goal-scorer who barely takes much to score, but he must deal with Sheffield’s physical threat to carve out chances. United also need to be sturdier defensively, as Maguire can’t get outdone like he did on Friday.
The centre-back must be more commanding, hold a stronger line which can phase the Blades out from getting in behind United’s defence. Eric Bailly should start, so his pace and hard-hitting style can benefit Maguire. To stretch Sheffield’s defence, Aaron Wan-Bissaka & Luke Shaw need to be more prolific with their delivery in the final third.
But as we know it, Sheffield are no easy feat. They’ve been this season’s Wolves but are going through a rough patch after the break. After such a long period, the players can’t execute the tactics well, injuries don’t help & neither does a lack of luck.
However, the Blades shrewd playing style can make things real difficult for United. With hard-working players like John Fleck & John Lundstram, they can drive forward to create opportunities for the clinical Oliver McBurnie & David McGoldrick. With Sheffield’s centre-backs often overlapping to add more bodies into the box, United need to be wary defensively or be in risk of being carved apart.
The Red Devils just need to replicate their heroics from their 3-3 draw in September, minus the goals conceded. As long as they can be quick, penetrative a& clinical in the final third, United should maintain their solid form at Old Trafford – even if it’s empty.
These are the kind of games United dropped points from before the break. However, now with Pogba & Bruno looking real good together, Rashford & Martial spearheading the attack and Sheffield looking a mess, I’ll go with a 2-1 win for Solskjaer’s side.