Man Utd 3-0 Sheffield United: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Martial Hat-Trick Boosts Red Devils' European Hopes

Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Anthony Martial was instrumental in Manchester United seeing off Sheffield United | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester United increased their chances of securing Champions League football on Wednesday by seeing off fellow challengers Sheffield United 3-0 at Old Trafford.

It didn't take long for the United frontline to spring into action, with Marcus Rashford drilling a ball across goal for Anthony Martial to slam home. The provider should have turned scorer soon after, but trickled a shot wide with the goal gaping following Martial's lay-off.

The Frenchman did manage to grab his second before the break, after neat work on the edge of the box ended with Aaron Wan-Bissaka crossing low for Martial to tidily convert.

Not to be denied a maiden hat-trick for the club, a deft chip over the onrushing Simon Moore perfectly capped off a fine individual performance, and one that boosts United's hopes of securing Champions League football for next term.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Key Talking Point

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in good spirits ahead of Wednesday's match | Michael Steele/Getty Images

It's what all the fans were waiting for, Brogba.....Pogno? Hmm, perhaps not, that's awful. Forget about that.

But, yes, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba starting in the same United team. It's happening. And, not only did it look positive throughout, but the display from the entire United team looked as good as we've seen for some time.

In attack they were slick and bursting with pace, while behind them they had the creative touch of Pogba and Fernandes, which made the Blades' evening even more troublesome. In truth, it was the level of performance that United fans have been craving all season. There was added steel from a revitalised Nemanja Matic, while Wan-Bissaka was a constant menace.

Was it perfect? Of course not. But when the early signs are there for this side to flourish and grow, the only thing that is missing is Champions League football. Will they get it? Based on this display, and with the run-in they have, we'd be stunned if they didn't. That 'crisis' back in January feels like a million years ago now, doesn't it?

Man Utd Player Ratings

Starting XI: De Gea (7); Wan-Bissaka (8), Lindelof (7), Maguire (7), Shaw (7); Matic (8), Pogba (8), Martial (9*), Fernandes (8*), Rashford (8); Greenwood (7).

Substitutes: Pereira (5), James (6), Ighalo (6), McTominay (6), Mata (6).

Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial
Martial bagged his first Manchester United hat-trick at Old Trafford | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Was this his greatest United display? Bizarrely, given that he scored a hat-trick, possibly no. But the quality of his finishes were of the highest order.

A great number of United players could have gotten the nod, but it's hard to overlook Anthony Martial bagging three very fine goals. Rustiness? What rustiness?

SHEFFIELD UNITED

Key Talking Point

Manchester United v Sheffield United - Premier League
Chris Wilder checking out the Old Trafford pitch ahead of kick off | Michael Steele/Getty Images

Whatever the outcome of the Blades' season, it's still arguably the greatest in the club's long, illustrious history. They've been nothing short of superb on their return to the top flight, and they deserve all the praise in the world.

You can't hide the fact that the break from football has been detrimental to their rhythm. Their solid defensive structure is starting to show glaring cracks, with their last three performances nowhere near the lofty standard they'd set themselves before the Premier League was postponed.

Europe is still not out of the question though. This showing, while defensibly questionable, was an improvement in the final third, and the signings they're making as a club bode well for the future.

Sheffield United Player Ratings

Starting XI: Moore (5); Basham (6), Jagielka (5), Robinson (5); Baldock (6), Fleck (6), Norwood (6), Lundstram (6*), Stevens (5); McGoldrick (5), Mousset (5).

Substitutes: McBurnie (N/A), Berge (N/A) Zivkovic (5).

John Lundstram

John Lundstram, Paul Pogba
John Lundstram tried his best against a superior United side | Michael Steele/Getty Images

His hopes of securing Champions League football with the Blades may have suffered a significant blow, but John Lundstram still put in a decent shift at the heart of midfield. All of the Blades' best play came through the midfielder, who was positive in possession and did his best to press the United players.

Looking Ahead

United take on another of the newly promoted side up next, as they travel to Norwich on Saturday, while the Blades are in FA Cup action on Sunday with a home visit of Arsenal