Five things learned as Manchester United beat Sheffield United 3-0
Manchester United clicked into gear and got back to winning ways with a victory at home to Sheffield United.
Anthony Martial scored two first half goals and then grabbed another in the second half to complete his hat-trick.
Here is a look at five things we learned from the fixture…
Rashford still feeling his way back
Marcus Rashford provided his fifth and sixth assists of the season to set up Manchester United’s opening goal.
But in the 20 minutes afterwards, he really looked like a player who was starting his second game in five days, after five months out.
He got into the right positions, but his touch deserted him at the crucial moments in front of goal.
It’s understandable, it isn’t easy to instantly recover match sharpness as well as fitness, and for Rashford, it will come. No need to over react.
Anthony Martial has done it
United struggled to get Anthony Martial involved against Tottenham, and created just one chance for him, which he did not take.
In this match it took him just six minutes to break the deadlock, scoring a proper striker’s goal, reacting quickest to Marcus Rashford’s powerful low cross.
A further goal in each half clinched a hat-trick, and this was United’s first since Robin van Persie in 2013. That was a record which needed to be broken.
He now has more goals this season (19) in all competitions than Romelu Lukaku managed last year (16).
If there is one criticism, it is that he should have shot when through on goal in the first half, rather than squaring for Marcus Rashford, who missed.
Our season flashed before us
United had a real scare when Bruno Fernandes went down clutching his knee on 35 minutes.
For a moment, worst case scenarios went through the heads of all United fans. What if this was serious? Our season would be close to over.
Fortunately Fernandes was back on his feet moments later, twisting and turning in midfield and causing Sheffield United headaches.
It just highlighted for a moment how dependent we are on him, and what a key figure he has become in such a short space of time.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka looked better
Aaron Wan-Bissaka found it difficult to make an impact from an attacking perspective against Tottenham. He had no such trouble against Sheffield United.
His assist for Anthony Martial’s second goal came from having the confidence to take on an opponent, and find his teammate.
This was Wan-Bissaka’s second assist in his last six Premier League games, having served up just one before.
Both of his last two have been scored by Martial, and this could be a productive combination.
This was good to see, and it will lift the right-back’s confidence to create a goal so soon on his return. We even saw a few second half stepovers too.
This needs to start a run
This was an important result in terms of the win itself, and the manner in which it was pulled off.
United were entertaining to watch and could have been four goals up by half-time.
This continues our unbeaten run, and it needs to kick off a winning run now, to put more pressure on Chelsea.
For the moment we have cut the gap to two points ahead of their match at home to City tomorrow night.
We have Norwich in the FA Cup on Saturday followed by a tricky away game at Brighton next up in the Premier League next midweek.
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