Red Devils eyeing fixture against bottom team Sheffield United as a route to winning return
Manchester United to win 3-0
Manchester United have endured a tough week, but will be looking to this fixture as a chance to rebuild their confidence.
Having dropped out of the Champions League last week by losing to RB Leipzig, they followed up by drawing in a disappointingly dull 0-0 with close rivals Manchester City.
A point was not the worst result in the world and should United win this match, they could see themselves move back into the top four. Win their game in hand and they’ll be just two points off leaders Spurs and Liverpool.
Still, there is a feeling that the progress made under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be further along than it currently is.
Sheffield United have, unfortunately for them, progressed from a solid, well-organised mid table team to a side sitting firmly at the bottom of the table after 12 matches.
Considering the Red Devils’ away form, Sheffield United have little hope of their form improving here.
Form Guide (all comps): LLLLL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Games against the big teams are a bonus to them
Have to believe they’ll turn a corner sooner rather than later
Reasons to be fearful:
In danger of drifting too far from those above
One point from opening 12 matches is a terrible return
Whichever way you look at it, Sheffield United have the feel of a relegated side.
Comebacks have happened, of course, but no side has had as few points as Chris Wilder’s side and survived in the Premier League. No side in 50 years has had such a low points tally after 12 matches.
In their match against Southampton at the weekend, they attempted just 74 passes in the first half, the lowest of any side since 2007. They are, unfortunately for them, in a rut which they appear incapable of crawling out from.
Manchester United’s away form has been terrific in the league so far, and you can’t imagine them passing up this opportunity to return to winning ways.
Star Man – Phil Jagielka
Not so much a star player, but a shout out to the oldest outfield player in the Premier League since May 2013.
Form Guide (all comps): WLWLD
Reasons to be cheerful
Can still keep up pace with the leaders with a win
League away form has been perfect
Reasons to be fearful
Have a tendency to be complacent against smaller teams
Struggling to combine their midfield stars
The positive to come out of Manchester United’s draw with close rivals City is that they didn’t lose any ground on the Premier League leaders, with both Spurs and Liverpool also dropping points.
Manager Solskjaer won’t be under any illusions that their performance against City was good enough, but they will look at this fixture as a catalyst to return to winning ways.
Their away form has been great – in fact they are searching for their 10th straight win on their Premier League travels, stretching back to last season.
Edinson Cavani is the only injury doubt, but could be recalled. Solskjaer may take the opportunity to rotate some of his midfielders, with the likes of Donny Van Der Beek rooted to the bench against City.
Star Man – Bruno Fernandes
May actually be rested, but if he plays will add undoubted quality to the team
Manchester United will be expected to dominate
If they are positive, they should win comfortably
Sheffield United must keep it tight for as long as possible
Manchester United have the opportunity to blow away the cobwebs of a difficult week with a convincing victory against lowly Sheffield United.
You feel a strong performance will help to quieten some of their critics, though anything other than a convincing victory will see them come under more fire.
That being said, they should win comfortably here.
Manchester United to win 3-0