Manchester United can go on going from the ridiculous to the sublime, but how sublime they can be. Three of the best goals Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will score all season have produced another victory from behind on the road in the Premier League, denying Sheffield United the first victory of their relentless campaign to date.
A mistake by Dean Henderson, who only gave his second Premier League start for the club and so impressive on loan at Bramall Lane last season, allowed David McGoldrick to pounce and give the squad from Chris Wilder a brief hope that their long wait for three points can finally come. to an end.
Yet, as has been the case during United’s six days away from home this season, they have come together to turn the tide. Two goals from Marcus Rashford on either side of a long-awaited strike from Anthony Martial, as well as a virtuoso display from Paul Pogba, took the game away from their hosts in style.
McGoldrick added consolation in the playoffs and – as with the 3-3 draw in last season’s corresponding game, Sheffield United briefly threatened to come back on their side – but there would be no equalizer. The gap between last season’s outperformers and their relegation fightmates is only growing. Wilder must be starting to worry, as are those above him.
Solskjaer, meanwhile, is looking up, climbing to sixth place with the win. His side was sometimes excellent. Rashford’s finish for the first and Pogba’s pass for the second term repeated views, but the best goal was the third – a smooth transition from defense to offense, starting with a ‘roulette’ from Pogba, welcoming four other players and ending with Rashford.
But again, they made it tough before they made it easy. For the 11th time in their 18 League and European games this season, Solskjaer’s side fell behind and Henderson, who was due to start against his former club ahead of David de Gea, made a mistake that should see him return on the substitute bench at Christmas. .
Henderson spent much of last season playing long at Bramall Lane, making him more than any top goalie in the top flight, which may be the reason the error arose while trying to play from the top. ‘back. He hesitated too long as he received a ball from Harry Maguire near his goal line, allowing Oliver Burke to close it.
Burke blocked Henderson’s kick and the Manchester United keeper failed to choke the stray ball. It broke for McGoldrick, who ended up with a simple tap-in. Henderson briefly thought he might be picked up by VAR, but after a short delay while officials checked to see if Burke had handled the ball in the scramble, the goal remained.
John Fleck should have added another. A Chris Basham trick and film – of all people – sidelined them for a quick counterattack that ended with the discovery of John Fleck unmarked on the edge of the box. He fired his shot away. Wilder’s winless team was flying. But their wings would soon be cut off.
A hamstring injury to Sander Berge had seen Phil Jagielka featured. Line-up a 38-year-old center-back against Manchester United’s attacking speed was a risk. To do so by playing a high line was willfully self-destruct. With acres of space left behind, the equalizer came easily. And yet, it was still exquisite.
Victor Lindelof’s fishing for a ball over defense from his own half nailed Jagielka against Rashford. It was exactly the game Manchester United wanted. Rashford pulled away from his marker and a spotless first touch came in for an utterly gorgeous finish, torn from his feet and passed Aaron Ramsdale.
Still Wilder persisted with the high line, ignoring several warning signs as Manchester United forwards were flagged slightly offside. A carefully measured pass behind would break them. Pogba found him, cutting a first bullet over, around John Egan and directly into Martial’s feet.
Martial controlled him as a scoreless striker in the league this season, but Ramsdale attempted to retrieve the ball as a goalkeeper who has kept five clean sheets in 50 top appearances. The ball bounces against him then behind him, allowing Martial to recompose himself and guide him into an empty net.
Pogba started to dictate, as if he realized he was significantly better than the opposition standard. Those who find it hard to name a good performance by Manchester United’s record signing would do well to remember that game. His passing took on greater scope and ambition. His role in his team’s third goal was glorious.
Intercepting a Sheffield United throw deep in their own half, Pogba turned away from one tackle and then pirouetted another. Intricate patterns of one and two touch passes between Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Rashford and Martial brought them up on the pitch until Rashford was left to apply a low, hard finish. It was a majestic goal.
It should have been that. McGoldrick had other ideas, deflecting the ball past Henderson on a corner kick after Lindelof hit him against him. But Solskjaer’s side would hold up, with Henderson even having a chance to atone for his early mistake. Substitute Lys Moussett may have stolen a point late, if not for the goalkeeper’s good save to extend the dismal departure of his former club.