The bright lights will be on at Old Trafford on Wednesday night as the Red Devils welcome the Blades into town. Adding to the importance of this match is the fact that both clubs are chasing their places in European futbol for next season.
With only eight games remaining and two points separating them, losing this game could severely dampen those hopes.
These two teams played to a thrilling 3-3 draw back in November. That game had tons of drama as Manchester United trailed 2-0 after 71 minutes. Three quick goals allowed them to take a lead they thought would net them the victory. However, a late equalizer by Oliver McBurnie saw the home side snatch a point in the game’s waning moments.
Unfortunately for Manchester United, they won’t have their home crowd on their side for this fixture. That will be a disappointment as those supporters would have liked to show the Blades’ supporters that they too are passionate. That night in November, the Blades’ fan base showed they can create one of the top atmospheres in all of the Premier League. Bramall Lane was absolutely rocking that night.
The home side should have the advantage as they will have an extra two days of rest. Sheffield will also be playing their third game in a week. Compounding those tired legs is having played 40 minutes with 10 men last time out.
As for the talent on the pitch, the Red Devils certainly possess more firepower in attack. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær relies on a high press, fast-paced, counter-attacking style of futbol. We’ve seen this tactic wear down opponents as it did against Tottenham recently, enabling them to snatch a late goal and point.
Even though there was a break in action, perhaps the pressure and results are starting to weigh Sheffield down. They saw a no-goal decision go against them in the opener as they returned to play. That was followed up by a 3-0 loss to Newcastle. For a team making its return to English futbol’s top flight for the first time in 12 years, the moment appears to be too bright for them coming down the stretch.
All of that can change, though, with a win at Old Trafford, but the deck certainly seems stacked against them for this fixture. Sheffield will likely score a goal from a set-piece, but it won’t be enough as the home club should be able to find the back of the net two or three times.