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Bruno Fernandes offers Manchester United hope amid the chaos

Bruno Fernandes

Not long after Sheffield United had taken the lead for the second time on the night, the television cameras panned to Jason Wilcox, Manchester United’s new technical director deep in conversation with Sir Dave Brailsford, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s eyes and ears at the club.

Wilcox has only been at United a few days but already he will have learned plenty about the challenge facing him and Old Trafford’s new hierarchy.

There will be a lot to concern him, a lot to dislike, a lot he will want to change. But if Wilcox was searching for positives then he does not need to look much further than the man who wears the armband and who dragged his team to victory here when it briefly threatened to be another night of humiliation, not against Championship opposition this time but one who will very soon be headed back there.

Wilcox and Brailsford
Wilcox was spotted deep in conversation with Sir Dave Brailsford as United unravelled

Bruno Fernandes has had his critics but no one can doubt his commitment and consistency at a club in which both qualities are in short supply and his two goals and assist ultimately saw off a Sheffield United side who seemed to have drawn inspiration from the way Coventry City almost embarrassed Erik ten Hag’s side at Wembley on Sunday.

Twice behind, it took Fernandes yet again to get United over the line, his penalty making it 2-2 before a stunning 25-yard strike with his wrong foot – his left – gave his side the lead for the first time on the night. Rasmus Hojlund’s first goal since Feb 18 – inevitably from a Fernandes pass – added a little gloss to the scoreline.

If United’s dressing room had more characters like their indefatigable Portugal midfielder then you have to wonder if they would find themselves in quite the trouble they are. All season we have heard about United’s dreadful casualty list, and there were 10 players missing through injury against the Blades.

But there is one player who is omnipresent, who turns out every few days, who the manager can pin his hat on and whom United invariably look to for inspiration, so much so that United fans must occasionally shudder and wonder where they would be without Fernandes. His histrionics can infuriate at times but he is a player who wears his heart on his sleeve and is unapologetic about it.

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United scores their 3rd goal
Fernandes fires Manchester United into the lead with his left - Simon Stacpoole/Offside

Remarkably, in more than four years at United spanning almost 230 matches, he has never missed a game through injury for the club, a statistic that shames those team-mates who seem to drop like flies or disappear when the going gets tough, which of course it has been of late and for much of a torrid campaign.

Throughout this turbulent period, Fernandes has at times seemed to wage a one-man battle to keep United afloat, eight goals in as many games testament to his influence and sheer force of will.

Against Liverpool, Bournemouth and Coventry in recent weeks his goals had a huge bearing on the outcome of the game and now Ten Hag can add Sheffield United to that list, Fernandes impervious to the struggles of others around him to grab this game by the scruff of the neck and turn defeat into victory against the division’s bottom club.

By the end of a chaotic night, United could toast a valuable victory and take great pride in the sight of 18-year-old Ethan Wheatley becoming the 250th academy graduate to represent the club at senior level. Even in times of great difficulty, there are some things United still do better than anyone. But it had been far from the straight-forward pick-me-up after that near fatal collapse against Coventry that the fans might have hoped for.

Sheffield United could be relegated on Sunday should Nottingham Forest beat Manchester City and now have the worst defensive record in the history of the Premier League, poorer even than Derby County who mustered just one win and 11 points in the 2007/08 season. But up until Fernandes’ thunderbolt made it 3-2 to United in the 81st minute they had their illustrious hosts scrambling.

United’s capacity for self-sabotage this season has been quite extraordinary and there was more of it in the first half when Andre Onana’s sloppy, reckless pass was intercepted by Jayden Bogle, who hurtled into the six yard box to finish coolly. Such a mistake from Onana would have come as little surprise earlier in the season but the Cameroon goalkeeper has turned a corner since the turn of the year so the sight of him looking flustered as he received Casemiro’s square pass and rushed to find Diogo Dalot under partial pressure from Cameron Archer felt like a return to darker times.

Bogle pounces on Onana's error
Bogle pounces on Onana's error - SportImage/Sheffield United FC via Getty Images

Ten Hag’s side should have been in front before then but Alejandro Garnacho missed a good chance and then another on the cusp of half-time shortly after Harry Maguire had levelled with a glancing header.

That goal should have been the cue for United to take command in the second period but, within five minutes of the restart, they were behind again, more passive defending and ball-watching allowing Gustavo Hamer to find Ben Osborn cutting in on the left. Osborn cut the ball back to Ben Brereton Diaz in the penalty area to stab home his finish.

Step forward Fernandes. He had been United’s tidiest player in the first half but now clicked into another gear and there seemed no doubt he would score the penalty after Auston Trusty had man-handled Maguire from a corner.

Sheffield United would not go away and Diaz almost scored a second when his shot deflected off Maguire and nearly squirmed into the corner with Onana wrong-footed. Another effort from Diaz was blocked at close range. It was a let-off for United and one they would heed. When Kobbie Mainoo squared the ball to Fernandes, there did not appear to be much on. But the Portuguese shifted the ball quickly from his right foot to his left and then unleashed a stunning shot into the top corner. The fourth arrived when Diogo Dalot clipped a lovely ball over the top for Fernandes, who timed his run to perfection before squaring for Hojlund to score.

Where would United be without him?


Manchester United 4 Sheffield United 2 - as it happened


10:15 PM BST

250 academy graduates have now made a first-team appearance for Man Utd

Quite a few of them went on to take a few trophies.


10:11 PM BST

Bruno Fernandes speaks

He was excellent tonight, two goals and an assist. One was a penalty, yes, but another was a wonder-strike.

“We talk about clean sheets all the time and we want to keep them. Credit to Sheffield United.

“At the end we came back. We put ourselves in a position where it’s tough to win games. But also it shows a bit of character.

“We also need to be aware that if we control the game like we did in the first half, we have to score our chances.

“We’re scoring lots of goals. It’s just about that compactness we need to have as a team.

“I’m really happy to score, but I want to win games more than score goals. It’s part of my role also, to score goals. But the main thing for me is winning games.

“Lately we haven’t won as many as we should have.

“It’s part of the job. You can win eight or nine games in a row, and then as soon as you lose you know you will be criticised. Being a Manchester United player demands winning games.”


10:07 PM BST

What does that do to the table?

Manchester United are up to sixth, three points ahead of Newcastle after both have played 33 games. Newcastle’s loss at Crystal Palace has helped that. Sixth is probably the limit of their ambitions with Newcastle and West Ham not too far away, likewise Chelsea, who have a game in hand.

Sheffield United obviously stay rooted to the bottom of the table, averaging less than half a point per game. A minus 59 goal difference. The 2007/2008 Derby County side – who took just 11 points all season – ended up on a minus 69. Is that record under threat? Four games left for them and if they lost them all 2-0 it would put them on minus 57. They might be OK. They have Newcastle, Nottingham Forest, Everton and then Spurs. Mind you you never know with this side, there could be a thumping within all that.

Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 24, 2024 Sheffield United's Oliver Norwood and Anel Ahmedhodzic look dejected after Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes scores their third goal
Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 24, 2024 Sheffield United's Oliver Norwood and Anel Ahmedhodzic look dejected after Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes scores their third goal

10:00 PM BST

FULL-TIME: Man Utd 4 Sheff Utd 2

United get the three points... in the end, after going behind twice. Not utterly convincing. They probably should have won on balance but it was far from convincing.

Manchester United's Rasmus Hojlund celebrates scoring their side's fourth goal of the game during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Wednesday April 24, 2024
Manchester United's Rasmus Hojlund celebrates scoring their side's fourth goal of the game during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Wednesday April 24, 2024

09:57 PM BST

90+7 mins – Man Utd 4 Sheff Utd 2

Alejandro Garnacho with another shot but Foderingham gets down and saves it. The game is petering out, really. Good game, though.


09:53 PM BST

90+2 mins – Man Utd 4 Sheff Utd 2

A few minutes into nine minutes of time added on. Old Trafford sounds a little more upbeat now. Manchester United have finally got into positive goal difference.

Ethan Wheatley comes off the bench for United in stoppage time and becomes their 250th Academy graduate to make his first-team debut for the club.


09:49 PM BST

‘United barely papering over the cracks’

So, it’s all about results according to Erik Ten Hag. United will win this now after their late goals but that does not tell the story of how close they were run by Sheffield United. It was a genuine scare, although maybe not quite as close as the weekend. The picture of Jason Wilcox deep in conversation with Sir Dave Brailsford when United were struggling was enduring. There are so many problems here at Old Trafford. VAR escapes at the weekend, penalty shootout wins, getting out of jail against the Premier League’s bottom team - these barely paper over the cracks.


09:48 PM BST

82 mins – Man Utd 4 Sheff Utd 2

Sheffield United now hold the unwanted record of the most goals conceded in a 38-game Premier League campaign. And there are still a few to go...

Sheffield United's Auston Trusty with teammates look dejected after Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes scores their third goal
Sheffield United's Auston Trusty with teammates look dejected after Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes scores their third goal

09:45 PM BST

GOAL! Rasmus Hojlund adds a fourth!

Bruno Fernandes with the assist and that should be three points for the home side. He’s happy about that and he gets a goal. Hasn’t had the service much this year but that is a fairly simple chance and he converted.

Rasmus Hojlund of Manchester United celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with Amad Diallo and Bruno Fernandes during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford on April 24, 2024 in Manchester, England
Rasmus Hojlund of Manchester United celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with Amad Diallo and Bruno Fernandes during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford on April 24, 2024 in Manchester, England

Man Utd 4 Sheff Utd 2


09:43 PM BST

82 mins - Man Utd 3 Sheff Utd 2

The first time Manchester United have been ahead tonight. Not sure the nature of the victory will convince anyone that Erik ten Hag is the man for the job if they were previously unsure.


09:40 PM BST

GOAL! Bruno Fernandes with a wonder goal!

25 yards out, left-footed and the man who I said was player of the match, cannot do anything about it!

Deflected slightly? Maybe...

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford on April 24, 2024 in Manchester, England.
Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford on April 24, 2024 in Manchester, England.

Man Utd 3 Sheff Utd 2


09:39 PM BST

78 mins - Man Utd 2 Sheff Utd 2

Casemiro sends in a cross trying to find Garnacho after a Sheff Utd mistake, but Foderingham, probably man of the match, takes it and tries to launch a counter-attack.


09:34 PM BST

75 mins - Man Utd 2 Sheff Utd 2

Sheffield United corner... Brereton Diaz with a shot again, blocked but then hooked over the bar by Ahmedhodzic...


09:32 PM BST

72 mins - Man Utd 2 Sheff Utd 2

Which of these teams can win it tonight? Or, dare I say, which of them will throw it away...


09:27 PM BST

68 mins - Man Utd 2 Sheff Utd 2

So close to Sheffield United taking the lead again! The hosts give the ball away, Brereton Diaz has a shot from 25 yards out but it is only Harry Maguire’s ankle that deflects it behind for a corner. Not that it was that far away, anyway...


09:25 PM BST

67 mins - Man Utd 2 Sheff Utd 2

Man Utd are coming on strong here. Another corner and Dalot nearly turns it in but doesn’t and it’s a goal kick. Nearly a neat goal. Probably should be a corner, though, as the visitors’ captain got the last touch.


09:22 PM BST

‘A strange atmosphere’

Such a strange atmosphere here at Old Trafford. Celebration at Bruno making it 2-2 from the penalty spot but this is hardly a bearpit. There is indifference at drawing against the Premier League’s worst side. The equaliser sets up the final quarter of the match nicely.


09:20 PM BST

GOAL! Fernandes blasts it into the back of the net

Man Utd are level again. 

The Portuguese grabs the ball and charges back to the half-way line...

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United scores his team's first goal from a penalty kick past Wes Foderingham of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford on April 24, 2024 in Manchester, England.
Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United scores his team's first goal from a penalty kick past Wes Foderingham of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford on April 24, 2024 in Manchester, England.

Nicely done.


09:20 PM BST

57 mins - PENALTY TO MAN UTD

It’s a home corner. United have the ball in the back of the net... the fans cheer but the referee has already awarded a penalty! Strange. It’s been called for a Trusty foul on Harry Maguire and the referee is surrounded. It’ll be a penalty, I think. Whistle went before, I believe.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Sheffield United - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 24, 2024 Sheffield United players remonstrate with referee Michael Salisbury after a penalty is awarded
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Sheffield United - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 24, 2024 Sheffield United players remonstrate with referee Michael Salisbury after a penalty is awarded

Yes, penalty to United. Fernandes to take.


09:16 PM BST

57 mins - Man Utd 1 Sheff Utd 2

Dalot gets into a great position after being put in but cannot get the shot away! He took just a bit too much time there before shooting. Too many touches and Foderingham saves.

Sheffield United's Auston Trusty challenges Manchester United's Diogo Dalot during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester
Sheffield United's Auston Trusty challenges Manchester United's Diogo Dalot during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester

09:15 PM BST

56 mins - Man Utd 1 Sheff Utd 2

Antony is hauled off... and met with a chorus of derision – boos as they are more commonly known – from a good chunk of the home fans.


09:14 PM BST

Sheffield United ahead by their own making

Sheffield United had a helping hand for the first opening goal – but to make it 2-1 was all their own making. A fine team goal. Gus Hamer played Ben Osborn down the left flank and his pull-back was fired home powerfully by Ben Brereton Diaz. United will have to dig deep to get a result.


09:12 PM BST

52 mins - Man Utd 1 Sheff Utd 2

Do United really care? Do they really care enough? There is little to show that they do. It, once more, feels like a lost cause in so many ways.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

09:09 PM BST

GOAL! Sheffield United are ahead again!

Brereton Diaz with a shot from eight yards out and the visitors are ahead again! United in a mess. They are not good at the back and that has again shown here. He left his marker and shot with his right. Not much Onana could do for that one.

Sheffield United's Ben Brereton Diaz celebrates scoring second goal
Sheffield United's Ben Brereton Diaz celebrates scoring second goal

Man Utd 1 Sheffield United 2


09:08 PM BST

47 mins - Man Utd 1 Sheff Utd 1

Garnacho gets another shot away, he has been busy tonight, but it is deflected and it makes an easy save for Foderingham. He has also been busy.


09:05 PM BST

KICK-OFF!

We are back under way at Old Trafford. Vinicius Souza has replaced Andre Brooks for the visitors.


08:53 PM BST

Flat at Old Trafford

Half-time here at Old Trafford and it’s rather flat. The Maguire equaliser means there is no anger aimed at the team but it has not been great. Wes Foderingham had an excellent half with plenty of saves, his final one before the break denying Garnacho after a long punt forward from Onana was flicked into his path.


08:50 PM BST

HALF-TIME: Man Utd 1 Sheff Utd 1

Foderingham excellent for Sheffield United. Manchester United not brilliant, really, but they are level.


08:47 PM BST

44 mins - Man Utd 1 Sheff Utd 1

Probably fair enough. United created chances and Foderingham denied them a few times, in fairness. 89 goals conceded for Sheffield United now...

Garnacho is in again in front of goal but again the Sheffield United keeper makes a great save to deny the hosts.


08:44 PM BST

GOAL! Man Utd are level

And it’s former Sheffield United man Harry Maguire who does it with a header from a whipped-in Garnacho cross. Beats his marker and glances it towards the far post and in. Two in two for the defender.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Sheffield United - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 24, 2024 Manchester United's Harry Maguire scores their first goal
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Sheffield United - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 24, 2024 Manchester United's Harry Maguire scores their first goal

They are checking for offside on Maguire, though...

The goal stands. 

“You’re getting sacked in the morning” sing the Blades fans at Erik Ten Hag. But United are back on level terms after Harry Maguire nods in Garnacho’s cross. Sheffield United have conceded 89 goals this season, the most in a 38-game season levelling Derby County from 2007/08.


08:43 PM BST

40 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 1

One of those evenings (again)? There have been many of them this season.

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United looks dejected after their side concedes the first goal scored by Jayden Bogle of Sheffield United (not pictured) during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford on April 24, 2024 in Manchester, England.
Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United looks dejected after their side concedes the first goal scored by Jayden Bogle of Sheffield United (not pictured) during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford on April 24, 2024 in Manchester, England.

08:40 PM BST

39 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 1

Do Sheffield United deserve their lead? Not sure. Does it really matter? No. They are ahead. Casemiro looks to be limping...


08:37 PM BST

Sheffield United fans have something to sing about

Sheffield United are ahead! This is all down to Andre Onana and his poor kicking. His pass to the full-back goes straight to Jayden Bogle and he storms into the penalty area to score. Erik Ten Hag insisted that the weekend was not an embarrassment – but this is. “How s--- must you be? We’re winning away,” sing the away fans.


08:37 PM BST

GOAL! Sheffield United take the lead!

Onana gives the ball away to Bogle who then slots it past the Man Utd keeper and, believe it or not, Sheffield United are ahead. It’s absolutely believable, really. Great finish but Onana, who has been in good form recently, commits another howler.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Sheffield United - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 24, 2024 Sheffield United's Jayden Bogle celebrates
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Sheffield United - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 24, 2024 Sheffield United's Jayden Bogle celebrates

Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 1


08:35 PM BST

33 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

Foderingham again with a fine save! Mainoo 12 yards out, left footed but it’s saved yet again. Flag goes up, mind you so it would not have counted (we assume).  United occasionally looking dangerous but nothing from it yet.


08:33 PM BST

31 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

Arblaster finds Brereton Diaz who then finds Hamer... but the flag goes up for offside. Some threat from the visitors, despite the lack of possession. You rarely feel like Man Utd can shut out a team.

A short minute later, Eriksen then slides through Hojlund and he gets a shot away from a tight angle but Foderingham saves again. Tight angle but good movement from Hojlund. Not sure he has had the service he deserves this season.


08:29 PM BST

27 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

Plenty of possession for United. 83 per cent of it. Plenty of shots, too: 10 - and three of those on target. Nothing on the scoresheet yet, though.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Sheffield United - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 24, 2024 Manchester United's Antony reacts
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Sheffield United - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 24, 2024 Manchester United's Antony reacts

08:26 PM BST

25 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

Fernandes sends in a cross, Foderingham palms away. Antony gets to the rebound but it is deflected behind for a fourth United corner of the game. Better from the red team here.


08:24 PM BST

Antony isolated so far

There were jeers for Antony before kick-off when his name was read out, then more when he touched the ball. To be expected really after what he did at Wembley. But he has not been involved much. Diogo Dalot had a shot from long distance saved in the first 30 seconds but United have not been fluent against a five-man Blades defence. INEOS chief Sir Dave Brailsford and United’s technical director Jason Wilcox are sat in the stands and will be hoping for a more straightforward game than the weekend. Alejandro Garnacho has had the best chance but after dancing through on goal had his finish saved by Wes Foderingham.


08:24 PM BST

23 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

Best chance of the game? Garnacho squanders the opportunity to put United ahead and to cap off a fine United move. He has a shot from 10 yards in front of goal but Foderingham makes an excellent save. Should have done better.


08:22 PM BST

21 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

United with a bit of pressure up front. It ends with Eriksen letting fly, but rather poorly and the danger ends.


08:18 PM BST

17 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

Garnacho with a header at the near post but he cannot get enough it it and the visitors clear.


08:17 PM BST

15 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

Cameron Archer runs at the United defence and fires with his left foot but doesn’t connect with it that well and it goes wide. Garnacho with the mistake that led to the chance there, giving the ball away and didn’t try to win it back.

Sheffield United's Cameron Archer attempts a shot on goal during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester
Sheffield United's Cameron Archer attempts a shot on goal during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester

Brereton-Diaz soon after has another shot but it’s straight at Onana. Worrying signs for United?


08:13 PM BST

13 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

Fernandes takes the corner, Casemiro heads it over...


08:13 PM BST

12 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

Eriksen sends it to his left where Dalot picks up. Garnacho and Dalot link up again, he plays it across goal but the Sheff Utd captain sends it behind for a corner. Dalot involved a fair bit early on.


08:11 PM BST

10 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

Offside for United but a decent chance before. Fernandes was offside after a pass from Antony. Fernandes tried to find Hojlund but it was all academic. Mainoo began the move.


08:10 PM BST

8 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

Not the most intense football match so far Sheffield United just lacking a bit of fluency when it comes to the final ball. Man Utd have a goal kick.


08:06 PM BST

5 mins - Man Utd 0 Sheff Utd 0

United with a spell with the ball here but not making any real forward progress. A ball over the top from Casemiro finds Fernandes who sends in Antony, Fernandes gets it back, trying to find Hojlund. Sheffield United clear, just about...


08:02 PM BST

KICK OFF!

And there’s nearly a goal straight away, for United, as Dalot shoots with his left foot but Foderingham tips it over the bar for the corner...

Manchester United's Portuguese defender #20 Diogo Dalot watches as his shot gets saved
Manchester United's Portuguese defender #20 Diogo Dalot watches as his shot gets saved

07:59 PM BST

Mike McGrath: A big statement from Wilder

Chris Wilder has made a big statement with his team selection. Oliver Arblaster, 19, has been given the Sheffield United captain’s armband. He has been excellent during the club’s struggle to beat the drop. Goalkeeper Ivo Grbic is dropped and Wes Foderingham is back, while Oli McBurnie misses out and Vini Souza is on the bench from the team thrashed by Burnley at the weekend.


07:55 PM BST

Erik ten Hag on his team selection

“We didn’t have too many options to make rotation. Those players are fit and recovered and have good spirit. It will be a tough game, that is clear, not everyone knows why but I know why.”


07:45 PM BST

Mike McGrath on United’s team

Manchester United’s injury crisis will test Erik Ten Hag’s resources again, with Casemiro playing at centre-back as he did in the FA Cup semi-final at the weekend. Antony - who cupped his ears in celebration despite the Wembley humiliation by Coventry - also starts as Marcus Rashford is injured. Christian Eriksen comes in for Scott McTominay.


07:39 PM BST

Erik ten Hag’s Man Utd are inept and chaotic – Sir Jim Ratcliffe must put him out of his misery

Having just run the London Marathon in 4hr 30min 52sec at the age of 71, Sir Jim Ratcliffe was perfectly entitled to collapse in a heap. Instead, he watched his Manchester United players do it for him. Never, as he enjoyed a restorative post-race ice bath at the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall, could the richest man in Britain have imagined that the most painful part of his Sunday was still to come.

Read more from Oliver Brown on Manchester United’s humiliating victory. 


07:26 PM BST

Premier League relegation battle


07:21 PM BST

Sheffield United’s recent form

Sheff Utd 1 Burnley 4
Brentford 2 Sheff Utd 0
Sheff Utd 2 Chelsea 2
Bournemouth 2 Sheff Utd 0
Sheff Utd 0 Arsenal 6
Wolves 1 Sheff Utd 0

No wins either for Sheffield United and two draws. Not a great deal worse than their opponents tonight really.


07:12 PM BST

Man Utd recent form

This is their last six games in all competitions, most recent first.

Coventry 3 Man Utd 3
Bournemouth 2 Man Utd 2
Man Utd 2 Liverpool 2
Chelsea 4 Man Utd 3
Brentford 1 Man Utd 1
Man City 3 Man Utd 1

In other words, four draws and two losses. No wins. Pretty poor really.


07:03 PM BST

The teams are in...

Man Utd

Starting XI: Onana, Dalot, Casemiro, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka, Eriksen, Mainoo, Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Garnacho, Hojlund
Subtitutes: Bayindir, Amrabat, Diallo, McTominay, Forson, Amass, Ogunneye, Jackson, Wheatley

Sheff Utd

Starting XI: Foderingham, Holgate, Ahmedhodzic, Trusty, Bogle, Hamer, Arblaster, Osborn, Brooks, Brereton, Archer.
Substitutes: Grbic, Norwood, Vinicius Souza, Ben Slimane, Larouci, McAtee, Curtis, Osula, Hampson


06:56 PM BST

Erik ten Hag has arrived at Old Trafford

I wonder how many more times I will be able to write that...


04:38 PM BST

Good evening

Welcome to our live coverage for tonight’s game between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford. What is at stake here? Well, it depends how you look at it. At one end of the table are Sheffield United, who have won just three games all season and sit on 16 points at the foot of the Premier League. They have a goal difference of -57, 25 worse than any other team and are 10 points adrift of safety with five games remaining. They are not mathematically relegated but pride is mostly what they are playing for today.

At the other end of the table – though not entirely – are Manchester United. And what to say about them? The 2023/24 season has seen them repeat the trend that has occurred since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club more than a decade ago. That it to say that any progress (perceived, real or otherwise) does not last more than months. Last year was a good one for Erik ten Hag’s men, winning the League Cup, getting to the FA Cup final and finishing in the top four and securing a Champions League slot.

This year? Well, all that promise has eroded or has been shown to be false. After 32 games they sit sixth in the table with just one win in their last five league games. Their hopes of getting into the Champions League next year (this year they finished bottom of their group) are as slim as their opponents’ chances of staying up.

Even some of their wins do not feel like victories, none more so than their penalties victory over Championship side Coventry in last week’s FA Cup semi-final. 3-0 up inside the first hour, but pegged back to 3-3 by a resurgent Coventry who then took the game to penalties. United reached another FA Cup final, again against Manchester City, but there was little to really celebrate. You know feel that Erik ten Hag’s time at Manchester United is running out, whatever happens tonight.

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