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It was the shock result of the season as the Blades went to Old Trafford and completely shocked the football world as they beat Manchester United 2-1. A first Blades goal from Kean Bryan gave United the lead but the Red Devils levelled via Harry Maguire in the second half. However, Oliver Burke smashed in a winner with 15 minutes to play and the Blades marshalled by oldtimer Jagielka with several outstanding performers saw it out. It was a tremendous team performance full of commitment, resilience, skill and real heart.

United was ravaged with injury and suspension issue and away from the mid-long-term O’Connell, Berge, Osborn and McBurnie, Enda Stevens was also out injured. With no John Egan, it was a hotchpotch defence with Ampadu, Bryan and Jagielka joining Baldock and Basham. It was the normal midfield that has started the most recent games and Sharp kept his place after his man of the match performance at the weekend. McGoldrick came back into the side for the league game. United only named 6 of 9 subs and no midfielders.

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Man Utd made changes with Tuanzebe making a rare start alongside Maguire. Telles came in at left-back and Matic started alongside Pogba. The front-line featured Fernandes, Greenwood, Rashford and Martial – four players that have caused the Blades problems in games in the last few seasons in different games with 6 goals from Martial and Rashford in the last two games alone between the two sides.

The game began with the Blades with a solid 5 in front of Ramsdale and as compact as the home team had a lot of possession but did not hurt them. The concern had been if the Blades had conceded an early goal then the floodgates may open after seeing what happened to West Brom last night against Manchester City. Martial went down after a tackle from Jagielka as he fell awkwardly. After treatment, where he seemed to hurt his shoulder, he was deemed fit to continue.

The opening continued with Man Utd moving it about but the Blades had kept a decent shape although a clever ball over the top from Pogba saw Fernandes in space, he is controlled which was uncharacteristic. The away side did not have much possession but Lundstram and McGoldrick both gave it away meaning they had to surrender the ball for a period again. Good football down the left saw Wan Bissaka put over a cross and Rashford sidefooted narrowly wide with Ramsdale well beaten. It was the first chance and not the far-off target.

Slowly, the Blades started to find a foothold through as Fleck was tripped and then soon after the same man broke but opted to pass rather than shoot and Bryan’s cross was blocked.

On 17 minutes, Sharp was played in and broke but his lack of pace saw men get back and hit shot was too close to De Gea. The flag was raised after although replays showed it may have been very tight. At the other end, Man Utd then sent a lovely ball over the top and Greenwood was in and rounded Ramsdale as the keeper did not know whether to come or go but the striker was crowded out by Blades defenders. Ramsdale then had to head the ball out as he came off his line with more decisiveness.

Ampadu then made a good block that led to Fleck coming away and down the right side, McGoldrick then won a corner. From the delivery, the Blades took a shock lead. Fleck whipped it in and BRYAN flicked it into the net. There was some contact from Sharp, but the referee was happy to let the goal go, and the lead was confirmed. VAR had a look but did not feel it was a clear and obvious error.

The Blades had a decent spell in the game and the goal gave them something to hold onto. Man Utd tried to awake from their slumber and Greenwood had a shot at Ramsdale who held the ball well. Wan Bissaka’s battle with Bryan continued to be a feature and the right back’s cross saw Greenwood nearly in but Jagielka did well.

On the half-hour, Ramsdale came for a corner and as he went to grab, Maguire challenged, and the ball dropped out of the error-ridden keeper’s hands. Martial converted but the referee Bankes had already blown. VAR did not look at it as the referee’s decision had already been made. The contact was quite similar to the Sharp goal so maybe the Blades for once got the rub of the green.

Norwood played one or two decent balls and McGoldrick nearly got in but Man Utd was now dominating possession for the most part but the tempo suited the away side as it was quite slow. Lundstram was booked for a cynical pull back on Rashford as he threatened to run away.

Man Utd then produced their best move with Telles finding Fernandes who clipped a great first-time ball back but Jagielka did really well to clear under pressure. Norwood and Baldock linked well but the offside flag was up but the Blades were having some threat in terms of attacks and it was not one-way traffic. Indeed Man Utd had not had many chances at all so far and Ramsdale had been surprisingly underemployed.

There were three minutes of stoppage time and Fleck helped kill a good portion of that by running at two men and drawing a bad foul by Tuanzebe who was rightly booked. The free-kick from Norwood was really poor and the ball was cleared easily but the half time whistle came not long after.

The second half saw the home side up the tempo as you expected and a lovely ball through by Fernandes saw Greenwood in but he pulled his shot just past the far post.

The more decent play saw Wan Bissaka drop on the end of a move and fire in a shot but it deflected wide with Ampadu doing well to get on the end of it. Bryan had seemingly taken a knock and had to come off with Bogle going to left-back.

Jagielka made a vital interception to deny a ball through and then Basham did the same. Man Utd had penned the Blades in but not had any clear chances outside of the Greenwood opportunity and the Blades came out and forced two openings for McGoldrick. The first saw patient football with Baldock involved and he played it into McGoldrick who tried an outrageous effort with the outside of his foot and it was not far over.

Soon after this, the striker was in but he blazed over with the flag going up this time for a clear offside as he sprinted away. Fleck then won a corner with some good work down the left and again the Blades sent in an inswinging free-kick that saw De Gea struggling but Matic cleared.

This mini spell had been much needed but then the home side came again and won two free-kicks on the edge of the box with some unnecessary fouls. The first one saw Ramsdale make a save and did well to hold a dipping shot. The second one was deflected over for a corner. The issues from set plays came back to haunt the Blades again albeit versus a side with a number of bigger players. MAGUIRE came in and powered a header into the far corner to give Ramsdale no chance. Basham had been marking the former Blades player in the first half but this one ended up with Jagielka nearest to him and it ended up being a clear header

Cavani came on for Greenwood and you sensed Man Utd would go for the jugular but actually, the Blades stayed in the game and Ampadu’s cavalier run of 50 yards was an embodiment of the efforts of the side and approach.

Cavani nearly got in on a cross at the other end but it drifted away before Basham stepped in to make a vital block. Burke replace Sharp and it was nearly in on a ball over the top straight away but it was not long before he was having a huge impact on the game.

With just over 15 minutes to play, the Blades stunned the home side and took the lead again. There was neat work down the right and Norwood’s pass put in Baldock. The cross came over but Maguire and De Gea got in a bit of a mess and the keeper kicked it away but not very far. Lundstram and Baldock combined again and eventually the former managed to roll it across to BURKE who toed a powerful shot that deflected off Tuanzebe and in off the underside of the bar. It was a real shock goal when most would have thought Man Utd would have gone on and got the next goal.

Man Utd tried to respond and Telles had a shot after it ran under Lundstram’s foot, but the midfielder got back to deflect the shot up and over and onto the top of the bar. The corner was cleared before Brewster came on for McGoldrick with just over 10 minutes left.

Cavani fired over after the ball dropped before van de Beek and Shaw replaced Tuanzebe and Telles as Man Utd tried to get men wide and force pressure on a well organised and resolute Blades side who had been magnificent defensively

Ampadu and then Jagielka made interceptions before Burke was away but Matic got a foot in as the last man. Jagielka headed out for a corner and then Basham read the danger as United’s low block continued to frustrate. The game ticked into 90 minutes and there were four minutes of additional time to be played. Burke managed to see out a period in the corner before a few final balls at the other end were cleared away. The Blades stopped any clear chances coming and after Ramsdale took a high ball, the unlikely win seemed to close. A final clearance saw referee Bankes blow his whistle and the shock result of the season was confirmed. A massively disappointing night for Man Utd who missed a chance to go back to the top of the league but a huge win and maybe some new life for Wilder’s Blades. The first win since 1973 for them at Old Trafford; 48 years, and one that no one saw coming!

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