- Aug 6, 2009
- Reaction score
The sheer humiliation of the 20-21 Premier League season continues for fans of the Blades as another game brings another predictable defeat. 12 defeats in 13 games tells its own story and already United look doomed to relegation and one of the worst seasons in history unless something miraculous happens. The agony continued on Thursday night in an empty Bramall Lane as they were once again beaten despite leading and an improved start to the game. United have had the worst league start to a season in the top flight since 1898 have won fewer points after their first 13 games of a league season than any other team in English top-flight history (one). A good start and a fighting end bookended the in between where Man Utd controlled large spells of the game. David McGoldrick’s two goals in the end were not enough as strikes from Rashford (x2) and Martial saw Man Utd carry on their impressive away form.
Manager Chris Wilder shuffled his pack again and this week it was McGoldrick and Burke back up top. The latter had not even been on the bench Sunday. Back came Jack Robinson, who also had been out of favour, with Jagielka and Sharp having been brought back were dropped again. There was no place in the squad for Max Lowe or John Lundstram with Oli McBurnie injured. Rhian Brewster was still not given an opportunity to start. The visitors started with Dean Henderson in goal against his former loan side and Telles, Matic and Martial all were recalled. They had a very attacking line up with Fernandes, Pogba, Greenwood, Martial and Rashford all starting.
Despite such a terrible start to the season, the Blades came out and began well. Stevens was involved down the left and put a cross in that led to a corner. United crowded their former keeper but it was cleared away. However, on 5 minutes Henderson was picking the ball out of his net after an absolute howler. He played a one two with Maguire but the goalkeeper took way too long on the ball and Burke did brilliantly to rob him and managed to turn, swivel and find MCGOLDRICK who fired home. A perfect start for the beleaguered Blades and a nightmare for the returning Henderson.
The joy of leading was tempered somewhat when Berge pulled up running down the right and clearly had twanged his hamstring. He tried to stand up and hobble on sometime after but could not continue and Jagielka came on after Osborn had initially been readied. Basham went into midfield in a surprise change.
Man Utd had not been in the game that much but a ball over the top saw the pace they had shown in full flow and Martial was in but Ramsdale kicked the ball out.
The Blades then had a golden chance to double the lead. Basham showed superb skill to lob it over Matic and then Burke fed Fleck but the midfielder shot someway wide when well placed. It really needed to be on target.
Rashford then showed his movement yet again as he got through but clipped over as the flag went up. It would have been tight if he had scored. Burke’s work ethic was good as he charged Lindelof down summing up a very good first quarter of the game with the home side pressing and harrying and showing better quality on the ball.
However, on 25 minutes the leveller came. It was a really routine ball over the top from Lindelof and caught the Blades out with Jagielka not playing offside or going with his man and RASHFORD took a superb steadying touch and smashed home giving Ramsdale little chance. A rather basic goal but well taken and came out of nothing really in a game the home side had been very good.
This blow rocked the Blades and as in the game last season, Man Utd then threatened to take the game away with more movement and pace. Martial had an effort but shot straight at the keeper and then Rashford was nearly in again with a high line and offside trap not really working. Basham was nearly in on the end of a McGoldrick cross but the striker than lost the ball and the visitors nearly countered again. After a good crisp and largely mistake free start, Jagielka then made another error and Egan had to get back to deny Martial as he drew his foot back.
Man Utd now had control of the game and were controlling possession and tempo. The second goal came when Pogba clipped a ball in and Egan was caught square this time and MARTIAL was in. Ramsdale came out but did not get there and the striker toed it away from him and then tapped home. It was another incredibly soft goal to concede straight through the middle with no pressure on the ball through and the strikers running through unopposed.
Soon after and Rashford was in and Ramsdale had to make a smart save with his feet. This could have put the game away. After a difficult spell, McGoldrick did come inside smartly and slalomed into the penalty area but the angle was tight and Henderson saved at his near post.
Another decent move saw patient build up and Burke’s shot after the interchange saw him in but Henderson saved at his near post. The corner was telegraphed badly by Fleck. The Blades kept having a go and another good McGoldrick run was punctuated by a disappointing shot miles over the bar. Soon after the half time whistle came. The home side had been much better in this game, being competitive, having chances and although much of the attacking quality came from Manchester United, the Blades were firmly in the game and at least had laid more than a glove on their more illustrious opponents. They will just have been disappointed to lose two really sloppy goals.
The first chance came to the away side as they won a free kick. Telles free kick was headed wide by Martial. Rashford then embarrassed Jagielka with a nutmeg and ran through feeding Greenwood but Egan blocked the shot. The home side had struggled to get into the game at all so far after the break.
The third goal came after Man Utd tore the Blades apart. Pogba showed superb skill to get away from his man and Fernandes flicked it on to Greenwood. The youngster sprinted away and Jagielka could not even foul him and the ball found RASHFORD who was in on goal and hit it towards goal. Ramsdale made an awful mess of it as he bundled in under his body.
United tried to respond with a corner but it was cleared and quickly back up the other end and Man Utd had a corner of their own. The delivery was hit to the edge of the box but Fernandes smashed wide on one that had been worked on the training ground.
Jagielka had experienced a torrid night but did intercept one ball through to stop another dangerous break. The Blades kept plugging away but every time Man Utd broke you feared the worst. Wan Bissaka and Fernandes nearly linked with a one two.
The Blades won another corner after a McGoldrick run and Fleck’s inswinger was helped over from Henderson for another corner. Mousset came on for Jagielka with the substitute being subbed which is always an embarrassing experience but the veteran had not had a great night. Basham went back into the defence and McGoldrick seemed to drop deeper.
The game entered the hour mark and was fairly open but you always worried that the quality of the front players were polar opposites in terms of ability to create and finish chances. Greenwood came through after Mousset was tackled by Wan Bissaka but the youngster hit a shot straight at Ramsdale.
The next period saw Man Utd knocking it about and the Blades could not really get any foothold back into the game at all. The improved first half seemed a long way away now.
Egan smashed into Fernandes leading to a booking and the free kick but the kick from Rashford looking for the hat trick hit the wall. Another free kick came in soon after and Ampadu had to clear for a corner which Matic fired wide. Brewster replaced Burke and Mata came on for Greenwood.
Man Utd had been in total control this half with the Blades yet to find an effort on goal and another really poor second half fade out in evidence after a better start to the game.
It was nearly four as more lovely skill from Fernandes saw the ball go to the far post and Ramsdale was not able to get there or hold the follow up and the Blades scrambled it clear with Egan getting a block in.
The Blades finally had a shot when Fleck hit a shot from range but it was comfortable for Henderson who had been largely unemployed. Man Utd were back on the attack with Martial picking out Mata whose shot was straight at Ramsdale but another swift counter saw the Blades unable to deal with the movement.
Van de Beek was on for Fernandes as Man Utd were turning their attentions to tougher tests at the weekend. The Blades nearly got picked off again as they broke but Rashford was not spotted and Van de Beek took the wrong choice.
Brewster did well and Maguire stuck a hand out and it was a good spot by the referee to give the free kick. The set play presented an unlikely opportunity to get back into the game but Brewster’s effort hit the wall and after it was recycled the chance that came was through an Egan looping header that went well over.
Baldock was penalised for a push when the assistant was right next to it and played on. The same man nearly got in after Basham threatened to play him in but Telles got his foot in. Suddenly, a lifeline came when McGOLDRICK got his second goal. It came after the corner came in and Lindelof seemed to head it off the striker and it went in rather fortunately. Henderson seemed to stay on his line in the melee in a difficult night for him on his return.
The game had less than 5 minutes to play and suddenly the game was in the balance and Robinson had the chance for a long throw but it was cleared and Martial bought a foul on half way. The same man came off for McTominay as the game entered the additional stoppage time of four minutes time.
United had a chance when Brewster knocked down and Mousset flashed a shot in but Henderson pushed away with the unlikely leveller close! The game became frantic for a period and the Blades sensed something might happen. Tensions became frayed on the touchline and on the field with Robinson and Pogba both cautioned for pushing each other. Mousset was penalised and after the free kick the final whistle went.