PREVIEW: Manchester United vs Sheffield United.

Despite spending the weekend clinching their spot in the FA Cup final for the second time in a row, Manchester United’s performance has further raised questions about manager Erik ten Hag’s future. As late as the 70th minute, the Red Devils were up 3-0 against Coventry, but they mysteriously gave up the lead and lost on penalties. This came after VAR had denied the Sky Blues a last-gasp winner due to an extremely thin offside call.

Although his players’ mostly subdued celebrations suggested otherwise, Ten Hag insisted it was not an embarrassing afternoon for his team. They will have to regroup as Sheffield United makes its way to Old Trafford. The hosts, who are unbeaten in 15 games against recently promoted opponents (W14, D1), including 12 straight wins, four of which have come this season, should feel confident that they can resume their European push here.

Sheffield United, who trail fellow struggling team Burnley by ten points with fifteen games remaining, appears to have little chance of surviving as they head to Manchester. Even if the Blades beat the odds at Old Trafford, manager Chris Wilder acknowledged that the Premier League has been “too strong” for them all season long and that an early return to the Championship looms large.

They won 2-1 in January 2021, though, and that’s precisely what they did on their previous visit. The 88 goals the Blades have given up so far are just one goal short of Derby’s record for the most goals conceded in a 38-game season, which was set in 2007–08. Even if that scoreline were to repeat, it would still put an unwanted chapter in Premier League history.

Players to watch: Scott McTominay, who opened the scoring at Wembley, became the first Scot to score ten goals in a season for Manchester United since Brian McClair in 1991–1992, and that tally includes the game-winning goal in the rematch. James McAtee, a midfielder, has been a shining light for Sheffield United lately; the Blades have scored four goals in a row on the road.

Hot stat: In eight of the matches Man Utd have played in this season, there have been six or more goals scored overall (W4, D1, L3), with five of those games ending in a 4-3 score (W2, L3).

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