Manchester United bounced back from an early setback to beat Sheffield United 3-2 at Bramall Lane.
Marcus Rashford (2) and Anthony Martial scored for United after conceding first, as usual.
Here is a look at five things we learned from the victory…
Asking for trouble
The decision to select Dean Henderson in goal backfired early on as the goalkeeper was caught in possession leading to an early opener for the Blades.
Henderson should have hit it upfield first time, and was undone by his decision to take a touch. To pin the blame on him alone though would be wrong.
Harry Maguire passed the ball back to him needlessly, rather than playing it upfield.
Maguire and Victor Lindelof took risks against City by passing the ball across their own penalty area and this time they were caught out.
Some responsibility must also be fielded by the coaching staff, who are giving these instructions to play this style of football in the defensive third.
The case for a more direct approach
It was by no coincidence surely that when United abandoned playing out from the back and sent a ‘route one’ ball over the top, an equaliser came.
Victor Lindelof sent a long ball upfield and Marcus Rashford took full advantage.
He needed one sublime touch to control the pass and another to lash the ball into the net.
It demonstrated the value of getting the ball into the final third quickly, rather than trying to be too intricate.
The players deserve credit for mixing it up, and if that was instruction from the coaches, they should share that too.
Pogba shows his magic
At times the baggage Paul Pogba comes with hardly seems worth it. And then he produces a moment of magic where it all becomes clear again.
His pass for United’s second goal was sublime. With one deft touch he split the defence and played the ball into a danger area and Anthony Martial did the rest.
There was a lot of pre-match frustration about Donny van de Beek being on the bench again, and that is an issue, but when Pogba changes games in this manner, it is an understandable call.
He had a key role in United’s third, with a couple of pieces of skill in his own half to create space and move United up the pitch.
If Pogba is destined to leave the club next summer, moments like this can only add to his transfer value.
As a side note, it seems harsh, but Pogba may not get credited with the assist, as the pass touched the goalkeeper on it’s way through to Martial.
Missing against City was any kind of link up between Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. Everything flows better with Anthony Martial on the pitch.
Martial laid on the pass for Rashford’s second goal, and this was his second assist of the season.
Both of Martial’s assists this season have set up Marcus Rashford, with the other coming in the home win over RB Leipzig.
The pair showed last season at times they have a real connection, and together they can help each other maximise their potential.
Three points gained
Even with the early scare, United came through and did what was required.
This was a good performance with United recovering quickly from an early setback to lead by half-time, and then add a third soon after.
There was a late scare at the end but United saw it through, and Henderson atoned for his early error with a fine save in injury time.
This win moves United up into sixth place, and if we win our game in hand, we will be in second place just two points behind Liverpool, who we have to play twice.
There is a long way to go still and plenty of tough fixtures over Christmas including Leeds, Leicester, Wolves and Aston Villa, but this result will lift confidence.
Our away record in the league remains 100 per cent, which is quite astonishing even bearing in mind the lack of crowds.
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