Manchester United vs Sheffield United

Manchester United’s faltering pursuit of European qualification continues at Old Trafford against Premier League basement boys Sheffield United. 

Erik ten Hag was one foot outside Old Trafford at the weekend as VAR salvaged his team from a massive embarrassment in a penalty shoot-out win against second-tier Coventry City in the FA Cup semi-finals after they dropped a three-goal cushion to draw 3-3. Back to the Premier League, where they’ve slipped to 7th in the standings off the back of a four-game winless streak (D3, L1), the Red Devils are in a must-win situation if they’re to boost their European charge. Level on points with 6th-placed Newcastle, the hosts can draw confidence from their superb form against newly-promoted clubs, having not lost any of their last 15 such encounters (W14, D1), including 12 wins on the trot – four of which came this term. But a tight 2-1 triumph in the reverse fixture means United can’t take anything for granted.

In the meantime, Sheffield United’s faint hopes of avoiding a swift return to the Championship hit a dead end at the weekend as fellow relegation rivals Burnley thrashed them 4-1 at Bramall Lane, condemning Chris Wilder’s side to a ninth consecutive league match without winning (D3, L6). Sheffield United’s flagrant defensive attitude has been the main ingredient behind their demise, with 88 goals they’ve conceded this term just one shy of the unwanted record in a 38-game season set by Derby back in 2007/08. The Blades seem destined to reach that negative piece of history at Old Trafford, where they’ve capitulated at least twice on five of their seven competitive visits since 1990. 

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