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Manchester United have no excuses for not winning this game and yet it is the exact type of game that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side is capable of dropping points in. United head to Bramall Lane with a flawless away record in the league, winning all five away games this season and each of their last nine away league games including the tail end of last season.
It is quite remarkable that United have won every away game considering that they have fallen behind in all five of them, scoring winners after the 85th minute in three of them.
However, they should be a bit more comfortable against a Sheffield United side that looks capable of outdoing Derby’s infamous 2007/08 campaign by picking up less than 11 points.
The Blades simply haven’t been able to get going this season and with one point from their opening 12 games, the look a certainty for the drop. United should win and win well, closing the gap on a number of sides above them who dropped points earlier in the week.
Sheffield United and Manchester United drew 3-3 in a thriller at Bramall Lane last season, but there is little chance of seeing such high-octane action on Thursday night. Chris Wilder’s side are in desperate need of a prolific goalscorer, scoring just five goals in their 12 games this season and just two in their six games at home.
United’s defensive record on the road has been far from perfect, with the Red Devils conceding at least once in each of their five games so far, but they looked defensively solid in the worst Manchester Derby of all time last Saturday. This is an excellent opportunity to record their first away clean sheet of the league season.
Manchester United certainly wouldn’t boast a flawless away record were it not for Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese talisman has been exceptional away from Old Trafford this season, scoring in four of United’s five wins so far. Fernandes scored the winning goal in three of those games, and also scored the first of United’s three against Southampton as United launched a dramatic comeback.
He’s scored five goals in five games on the road, with only one coming from the penalty spot. He is clearly Solskjaer’s go-to man and United haven’t lost an away league game since he joined the club. Expect him to play a pivotal role once again if United do seal a valuable three points.
For all their struggles in front of goal, Sheffield United haven’t really struggled to win corners. The Blades have averaged five corners a game over their last six league games, winning as many as nine corners in their defeat to West Brom. Even against the likes of Chelsea, they have managed to win seven corners.
Manchester United, on the other hand, have averaged 5.5 corners over their last six league games. Solskjaer’s side are likely to seize the initiative and go on the front foot in this one and should win far more corners than they have been winning recently.
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