Harry Maguire scored his first goal for Manchester United at Old Trafford against his old side
Bottom of the table Sheffield United caused an astonishing surprise with a win in the Premier League against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side needed three points to regain the top spot from rivals Manchester City, but were deficient for large periods of competition as the away side only celebrated their second win of the season.
The Blades took the lead in the first half when Kean Bryan’s header came off the far post after John Fleck’s corner.
Anthony Martial had ruled out a goal when Harry Maguire was convicted of fouling Aaron Ramsdale but the United skipper headed into the leveler just past the hour.
The guests responded with 16 minutes remaining when Manchester United failed to replace Oliver Burke with a distraction from Axel Tuanzebe for their first win against the home team since the opening day of the newly formed Premier League in 1992.
“It’s been a long time waiting to win at Old Trafford and it’s a special result and achievement,” said Blades chief executive Chris Wilder.
“I’m not saying an incredible escape is imminent, but I want to show what we are about.”
Wilder’s side remain down 10 points from safety, while Manchester United remain in second place.
Manchester United’s luck is coming to an end
On seven previous occasions this season, Solskjaers United had come from behind to win a league game and they wanted to repeat the trick when Maguire faced his old club.
But making up for a deficit again and again is not sustainable during a season and their luck finally came to an end.
Not at home this season, the Red Devils have faced a surprising title challenge. This was their first loss in 13 games since their November loss to Arsenal at Old Trafford.
But it’s their home form that does them the most damage – this is a fourth loss at Old Trafford this season, after losing to the Gunners, a hammering from Tottenham and losing to Crystal Palace in the opening game.
And that damaging outcome will be a reality check for Solskjaer and his team, who were desperately poor throughout.
They haven’t put any real pressure on Sheffield United’s backline and the talisman Bruno Fernandes, so often the hero, is now in crisis, having played four league games without a goal or support.
Marcus Rashford pulled an early shot from the edge of the field and saw a long-range free kick scored by Aaron Ramsdale.
Mason Greenwood’s 25-yard road was aimed directly at the goalkeeper and Alex Telles’ shot hit the roof of the net, but the hits were all from a great distance and saved what the goalkeeper would expect.
Edinson Cavani, who has been impressive since his move to a free transfer last summer, was sent on after 66 minutes as the hosts chased a winner but ended up conceding.
With Leicester drew 1-1 at Everton, United’s missed chance means Manchester City are on the up, a point that is clear with a game in hand on top.
Breathtaking triumph for blades
Sheffield United were a 12-1 underdog who won this game after scooping three points against Newcastle just once earlier this season, but they battled for a second win they fully deserved.
Their in-form hosts may have felt this was a foregone conclusion before kick-off, but Sheffield United were well equipped for the job.
They were well organized and grabbed every tackle, undoing the threats posed by Fernandes and Paul Pogba while Manager pushed Wilder off the contact line.
The three center-backs – Chris Basham, Ethan Ampadu and 38-year-old Phil Jagielka – contributed 18 clearances and showed how they eradicated the threat of attack by the hosts.
They had few chances, Billy Sharp ran clear and shot with a low shot that was blocked by David de Gea. This was the only rescue the home goalkeeper had to make in competition.
The Spaniard was knocked to the ball by Bryan in the opener and his weak gap in the second half was recycled by John Lundstram, who dropped the ball for Burke to finish it over Tuanzebe’s thigh and the crossbar.
With 18 games left, this will give the South Yorkshire team a boost as they target the most unlikely survival missions.
“Not a big request” – what they said
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “It shouldn’t be. The second goal we conceded is so bad, so sloppy. Easy. We stopped getting to the ball – three or four bad decisions that didn’t match the character.
“There won’t be a big investigation. There have been so many strange results this season, but with the world as it is we’ve been the most consistent team – it hit us today.”
Chris Wilder, Sheffield United manager: “There haven’t been many moments for us this season. The players jump over the partying and they have every right to. It’s been a tough old season, but I’ll bring it back to earth tomorrow. It’s a great result and I’m happy for the players because they’ve been through a lot. “
Bryan and Burke next to it – the statistics
- Manchester United have lost four of their ten Premier League home games this season, most in a single season since 2013-14 under David Moyes (6) and Ryan Giggs (1).
- After Leeds United in January 2010 (FA Cup) and York City in September 1996 (League Cup), Sheffield United is only the third team from Yorkshire to win a competition in the Premier League era at Old Trafford.
- Manchester United have lost two of their last four home games in the Premier League to the team, starting at the bottom of the table, one defeat more than the other 21 such games in the competition (W16 D4 L1).
- As of 2003/04, Sheffield United is only the fourth team to score just five shots in a Premier League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford, winning after Burnley (January 2020), Crystal Palace (August 2019) and Swansea (August) 2014 ) – all in the aftermath of Sir Alex Ferguson.
- Since the beginning of last season, no Premier League team has conceded more league goals from the corners than Manchester United (14, level with Brighton & Chelsea).
- At 38 years and 163 days, Phil Jagielka was the oldest outfield player to start a Premier League game at Old Trafford against Manchester United for Everton (38y 304d) since Richard Gough in February 2001.
- Harry Maguire’s equalizer for Manchester United was his first in the Premier League at Old Trafford, with each of his five goals in the competition before this one got away from home.
- Sheffield United couple Kean Bryan and Oliver Burke become the first Premier League players to score their first goals in the competition since September 2014 in the same game against Manchester United – Esteban Cambiasso and Jamie Vardy for Leicester.
Manchester United will look to get back on track if they travel to Arsenal in the league on Saturday (5:30 p.m. GMT), while Sheffield United will have another tough game against leaders Manchester City on the same day (3:00 p.m.).
Player of the game
29Wan-Bissaka38Let us begin5Maguire27Such
- 1de Gea
- 38Let us beginBooked at 45 minutesReplaced byvan de Beekat the 83 ‘protocol
- 27SuchReplaced byShawat the 82 ‘protocol
- 11GreenwoodReplaced byCavaniat the 66 ‘protocol
- 18thBruno Fernandes
- 34van de Beek
- 7thLundstramBooked at 40 minutes
- 29BryanReplaced byBogleat the 53 ‘protocol
- 17thMcGoldrickReplaced byBrewsterat the 80 ‘protocol
- 10SharpReplaced byBurkeat the 70 ‘protocol
End of game, Manchester United 1, Sheffield United 2.
The second half ends, Manchester United 1, Sheffield United 2.
Foul by Edinson Cavani (Manchester United).
George Baldock (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Manchester United. The corner was created by Phil Jagielka.
Attempt blocked. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) shot with a right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Prepared by Luke Shaw.
Corner, Manchester United. The corner was created by Phil Jagielka.
Harry Maguire (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Oliver Burke (Sheffield United).
Substitution, Manchester United. Donny van de Beek replaces Axel Tuanzebe.
Substitution, Manchester United. Luke Shaw replaces Alex Telles.
Missed attempt. Edinson Cavani (Manchester United) left-footed shot from the center of the box is too high.
Substitution, Sheffield United. Rhian Brewster replaces David McGoldrick.
Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United).
Missed attempt. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) header from the center of the box misses the goal on the right. Assisted by Alex Telles with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Manchester United. The corner was caused by John Lundstram.
Attempt blocked. Alex Telles (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Goal! Manchester United 1, Sheffield United 2. Oliver Burke (Sheffield United) shot with a right footed shot from the right side of the box into the high center of the goal. Prepared by John Lundstram.
Attempt blocked. Oliver Burke (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Prepared by John Lundstram.