Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial celebrate

Sheffield United 2 Manchester United 3

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United extended the club's perfect Premier League away record on Thursday evening, by beating Sheffield United 3-2 at Bramall Lane.

An unfortunate mistake from Dean Henderson allowed the hosts to take the lead in the fifth minute, but quickfire strikes from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial ensured the Reds were ahead before the break. 
 
Then, early in the second period, Rashford capped a stunning counter-attack to provide what proved to the game's decisive goal. 
 
The Blades claimed a fortuitous second with just minutes left, which made the final stages somewhat uncomfortable, but Solskjaer's men clung on to kick off the busy festive schedule with a positive result and climb to sixth place in the table, with a game in hand on the five teams above.
Marcus Rashford scores Manchester United's third goal against Sheffield United
Rashford fires home his second goal, and the Reds' third.

FIRST HALF: REDS BOUNCE BACK AGAIN

It was a nightmare start to the game for the Reds, as has become the fashion this season in Premier League away matches. United might have headed into this fixture as the only team in the division with a perfect record on the road, but Solskjaer’s men have gone behind on every single trip so far, and the same happened here.

Dean Henderson had been granted just his second Premier League start for the club at the stadium where he spent two years on loan, but within five minutes he was guiltily picking the ball out of his net. The England international dallied too long on a pass from Harry Maguire and was robbed by Oliver Burke and, when the ball was nudged to David McGoldrick, the Blades striker had the simple task of tapping it into the empty goal from just a few yards out.

Despite their midfielder Sander Berge being forced off with an apparent hamstring injury just minutes later, the hosts had a golden chance to double their advantage soon after, when John Fleck shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box.

But just as Ole's concerns appeared to be mounting, his side finally creaked into life. Our first meaningful attempt at a response came in the 19th minute, when Rashford shot over after a cute aerial reverse pass from Fernandes. And, thankfully for the Reds, the 23-year-old wouldn't pass up his second chance.

When a similar aerial pass – this one fired from deep inside his own half by Victor Lindelof – found our no.10 on the edge of the area, Rashford delivered two touches of devastating economy and brilliance. The first, to cushion the ball, was as soft and silky as the second was bruising. Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale had no chance and, in an instant, the Reds were level.

That moment seemed to rouse Solskjaer’s men, who went ahead just minutes later. Again, it was a clever pass through the air, this time from Paul Pogba, that created the opportunity. The Frenchman spotted Anthony Martial’s early run, and when the onrushing Ramsdale missed the ball, his compatriot had the simple opportunity to flick home his first Premier League goal of 2020/21.

With Edinson Cavani unavailable due to injury, Solskjaer knew his available strikers had to perform, and by the close of the first period, they were approaching full throttle. Greenwood, Martial and Rashford were creating shooting opportunities every time they went forward.

SECOND HALF: RASHFORD MAKES IT SAFE
 
Ole must have kept Rashford, Martial and Greenwood on power-charge mode in the dressing room at the interval, as the Reds simply continued progressing through the gears after returning to the field.
 
Rashford nutmegged substitute Phil Jagielka within minutes of the restart and, after a ridiculously quick and graceful run past several defenders, Greenwood saw his shot blocked.
 
Minutes later, Rashford finished the job himself. Lovely work from Pogba deep in midfield allowed Bruno Fernandes to feed Greenwood and, when the teenager was fouled by the ailing Jagielka - who was later booked for his cynical challenge - a deadly interchange between Rashford, Fernandes and Martial climaxed with the Wythenshawe superstar smashing the ball underneath Ramsdale. 
 
For the sixth consecutive Premier League away game, the Reds had come from behind to win and had scored at least three goals.
 
The match appeared to be ebbing to a tranquil close for much of the next 25 minutes or so, as Solskjaer's team toyed with the opposition,
 
Martial saw an attempted blocked by Robinson and Egan after an outrageous Fernandes pass to substitute Juan Mata, and then the Spaniard shot straight at the Sheffield stopper at the end of a nice counter.
 
But there was to be one more twist. When a Blades corner was swung in, Lindelof's jump ensured he was first to the ball, but was aghast to see his header rebound into the net off McGoldrick.
 
The hosts seized upon this bit of impetus, as they desperately went in search of just a second Premier League point of the season, but Henderson made amends for his earlier error by keeping out Mousset's dangerous late strike. 
 
The three points were no more than the Reds deserved, though, after a lethal display of attacking prowess.
MATCH DETAILS
 
Sheffield United: Ramsdale; Basham, Egan (c), Robinson; Baldock, Berge (Jagielka 12, Mousset 63), Ampadu, Fleck, Stevens; McGoldrick, Burke (Brewster 74).
 
Subs not used: Verrips, Sharp, Norwood, Osborn.
 
Booked: Jagielka, Egan, Robinson.
 
Goals: McGoldrick 5, 87
 
Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (c), Telles; Pogba, Matic; Greenwood (Mata 74), Fernandes (van de Beek 79), Rashford; Martial (McTominay 90).
 
Subs not used: De Gea, Shaw, Fred, James.
 
Booked: Henderson, Pogba.
 
Goals: Rashford 26, 51, Martial 33.

Solskjaer's verdict on Blades 2 United 3Video

WHAT OLE SAID

“With the pace and the skill in these boys, the quality of the touches and movement – I thought all three goals were excellent. That’s why we played the team that we did today: because we know that Sheffield United want to play football, they want to press, they want to make it an open game and we could have spaces for our forwards. I said before the game that we need the forwards firing. We’ve come to this position without them really scoring goals and now they’ve had three today – two from Marcus and one for Anthony and that’s brilliant. We just have to keep them going with that mentality because last season those three scored so many goals for us. This year they haven’t really started the season yet, so it’s looking good.”

Rashford reacts to his two-goal performanceVideo

MAN OF THE MATCH

Marcus Rashford was named Man of the Match, after a superb two-goal display which raised his tally for the current season to 12 in 20 appearances.
 
The Wythenshawe-born forward dominated the fan vote to decide United's outstanding player on the night, garnering a sizeable 67 per cent of the votes.

Midfield creators Paul Pogba (15 per cent) and Bruno Fernandes (10 per cent) came second and third in the opinion poll.

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