David de Gea, Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial were very poor as Manchester United were handed a shock 1-2 defeat at home by Sheffield United.
As expected, Manchester United dominated possession in the early exchanges but did precious little with it, struggling to open up a solid Sheffield United backline. And, it was the Blades who opened the scoring at Old Trafford midway through the first half with ex-Manchester City trainee Kean Bryan heading in his first-ever Premier League goal.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had to wait till the 64th minute for the equaliser as captain Harry Maguire turned Alex Telles’ corner into the back of the net. However, the parity lasted just ten minutes as some shambolic defending from the hosts allowed Oliver Burke to score the match-winning goal, via a deflection off of Axel Tuanzebe.
The defeat meant Manchester United failed to reclaim top spot in the standings from Manchester City, who had wallopped West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night. Here’s how we rated the performances of Solskjaer’s men on what was a disappointing night at Old Trafford.
David de Gea: 3/10
Feeble. Came out to punch the ball away from Fleck’s corner but could not get to it allowing Bryan to head in the opener. And even though it seemed like Billy Sharp pushed him, he needs to be stronger in such situations, considering that his weakness in those situations is not new. Poor clearance straight to an opposition player inside his own box led to the second goal.
Did Billy Sharp impede David de Gea in the build up to Kean Bryan's headed opener?
Manchester United believe so… pic.twitter.com/qVtdwIZF3h
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 28, 2021
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
Allowed plenty of room to get forward down the right-hand side and did so in the first half, delivering a couple of dangerous cutbacks, one of which should have been buried into the back of the net by Marcus Rashford. Made three key passes and completed two dribbles.
Axel Tuanzebe: 3/10
Starting his first Premier League game of the season, the academy product endured a torrid night. Conceded the corner and then was out-jumped by Bryan as Sheffield United opened the scoring, positioning was poor throughout while he did not offer enough quality on the ball either. Capped off by an unfortunate deflection for the Blades’ second.
Harry Maguire: 5.5/10
Slack defending at times as he was not always on top of Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick on the night. Gave away the ball cheaply on occasion in his attempt to play out from the back. Mix-up with his goalkeeper played a part in the Blades’ second goal. His equalising goal in the second period bumps up his rating.
Alex Telles: 5.5/10
Was not involved a great deal early on, with most of the Red Devils’ moves coming down from the right. Delivered a brilliant pass for Bruno Fernandes leading to a chance in the first half, before assisting the equaliser in the second period. Made two key passes, but hardly as effective as Luke Shaw has been in recent weeks.
Alex Telles’ last two appearances for Man Utd:
🅰️ vs. Watford
🅰️ vs. Sheffield United
Excellent delivery. 📦 pic.twitter.com/vF5kxgWYpQ
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 27, 2021
Paul Pogba: 5/10
Started brightly, going on a brilliant run and delivered a fantastic over-the-top pass to find Fernandes’ run into the box. But struggled to maintain the same level as the game wore on as the Blades worked to close him down quickly. Seemed to slow things down by taking a touch or two more than was needed at times. Well below his recent level.
Nemanja Matic: 5/10
Handed a start ahead of Fred and Scott McTominay, the Serb was also a bit slow and flat while in possession, not really helping United’s cause as they tried to break open a resolute Sheffield United defence. Did make a vital intervention in the second half, but struggled in general against the energy of the visitors.
Mason Greenwood: 5/10
Coming in on the back of a fine performance against Liverpool, the youngster struggled to maintain the same level of threat on Wednesday night. Stung the palms of Aaron Ramsdale in the first period from outside the box and snatched at a great chance early in the second half. Unlucky to be withdrawn as there were other players on the pitch who were much more ineffective.
Bruno Fernandes: 5/10
Bruno Fernandes has now failed to score or assist in each of his last four Premier League appearances.
✘ vs Burnley
✘ vs Liverpool
✘ vs Fulham
✘ vs Sheffield United
At least someone else will win Player of the Month. 😅 pic.twitter.com/rL3jxOM1Kh
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 27, 2021
Played three key passes, creating a half-chance for Martial in the first half and a promising opportunity for Greenwood in the second. That was as good as it got for the Portuguese, who was once again guilty of giving away possession quite a lot. Worked hard off the ball, but was not at his creative best.
Marcus Rashford: 3/10
Should have done better after being found by Wan-Bissaka in the first half, but sent his effort wide of the goal. Forced a save from Ramsdale from a free-kick. Barely involved in any dangerous moments for the rest of the game. Hardly showed any willingness to put in hard yards off the ball.
Anthony Martial: 3/10
Picked up a knock early in the game but carried on. However, did very little of note as he constantly came second-best to a 38-year-old Phil Jagielka in the Sheffield United defence. Did not offer any sort of offensive threat and things did not improve after he shifted to the left flank later in the game. Lucky to have not been subbed off.
Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial & Mason Greenwood all failed to create a single chance against Sheffield Utd.
— Oddschanger (@Oddschanger) January 28, 2021
Edinson Cavani: 5/10
Replaced Greenwood in the 66th minute.
Luke Shaw: N/A
Came on to replace Telles in the 82nd minute.
Donny van de Beek: N/A
On for Tuanzebe with less than ten minutes left.