The Blades have not lost in the league since September, and are on a five-game unbeaten streak in the league. Chris Wilder’s side have the second-best defensive record in the league this season, and Manchester United will have a difficult task of breaking them down.
Manchester United, meanwhile, are 7th in the table, but it seems that their tide is turning after a miserable start to the season. They’ve lost once in their last seven games in all competitions, but have a very difficult task at Bramall Lane.
Let’s take a look at 3 key battles in the game between Manchester United and Sheffield United:
Sheffield United vs Manchester United – 3 Key Battles
Anthony Martial vs John Egan
Anthony Martial is perhaps Manchester United’s best finisher at the moment, and his return to the team following a spell out due to injury has resulted in the club playing well.
The Frenchman has scored twice and assisted thrice in United’s last six fixtures in all competitions and will be important for them this Sunday.
He will be up against a three-man defence, led by Irish defender John Egan, who has been strong at the back for the Blades. Martial’s direct running, pace, and clinical finishing could catch out the Sheffield defence, but Egan could stop the Frenchman.
Sheffield United’s midfield three vs Manchester United’s midfield two
Sheffield’s 3-5-2 system has been very effective this season, mostly thanks to their three-man midfield, that do a lot of running in the middle of the park.
The midfield trio of John Lundstram, John Fleck, and former United midfielder Oliver Norwood, could trouble the Manchester United midfield that is depleted and look weak ahead of the game.
Manchester United do not have the services of Paul Pogba or Scott McTominay for the game, while Nemanja Matic is only just returning to the fold after a spell out due to injury.
This will be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s biggest worry as United may have to play Fred and Andreas Pereira, or Fred and James Garner in midfield. Sheffield United could win the game in midfield.
Daniel James vs Enda Stevens
Manchester United will probably sit deep and try to hit Sheffield United on the counter, and they could make this tactic work if they play Welshman Daniel James high up the pitch and make him use his pace to trouble the Sheffield backline.
He will be up against left wing-back Enda Stevens, who will need to give himself a few yards so that he is not beaten for pace on the wing.
James is at his best driving at defences, something he showed against Brighton before the international break, and he will be a key player come Sunday.