It’s the first time United visit Bramall Lane in the league since the 7th December, 1993. The Reds have claimed an easy 3-0 victory with goals from Hughes, Sharpe and Cantona that time and the same scoreline tomorrow would hardly shock anyone, even if the names have changed a bit.
The visitors are, of course, massive favourites as Sheffield United is regarded as perhaps the weakest team of the league. But United must be wary of the hosts who have already grabbed a point from Liverpool – one might say it’s a bad result as they were the only one who conceded at home against Benitez’s men! Winning at St. James’ Park would have been a great deed down the years but not anymore.
So, the bottom line is that we really have to beat them and we will, unless the lads’ thoughts stray from this game to the ones against Celtic and Chelsea.
Neil Warnock, Sheffield United manager: ‘He is our godfather. He won’t like me saying it because he is not that much older than me, but he is the godfather to all British managers.
‘He is still the man to look up to and I don’t think what he has achieved with United will happen again.
‘Apparently, Sir Alex and myself have to take an exam in 2010 if we want to keep managing at this level, and while I don’t think it will affect me if I’m honest, you never know with Sir Alex.
‘He has had that twinkle in his eye this year. You can put that down to the media because he has wanted to prove them all wrong again.
‘I think he is at his most dangerous, like a wounded animal, when he is written off.
‘And what a way to come back – top of the league and playing the football they are doing.’
Sir Alex Ferguson: ‘Neil is passionate about his club,’ said Ferguson.
‘He is a Sheffield United supporter, so he is bound to be proud managing the club. There is nothing wrong with that.
‘He is an outgoing character and a bit controversial at times but like every other club coming out of The Championship, his team will be fighting for points, as they have every right to do.
‘When you look at the bottom of the league, there are eight or nine teams down there all within two or three points of each other.
‘It must give them optimism they can stay up.’
Sheffield United Team News:
United fan Danny Webber is unlikely to play, as Neil Warnock wants him to be fit for the Blades’ upcoming games against West Ham, Watford and Charlton. Claude Davis’ fitness will be assessed before the game.
Michael Tonge, Steve Kabba and Leigh Bromby are all out of the game but penalty-hero Paddy Kenny could play even with stitches in his eyebrows.
Player to watch: Keith Gillespie
The right-sided midfielder is not one of the most skilled players but he was part of the ’92 Youth Cup-winning team at United so he deserves to be remembered. All in all, he was swapped for Andy Cole with Newcastle – we can be grateful to him and Keegan!
Manchester United Team News:
With the exception of long-term absentee Park Ji-sung, everyone is fit for the visit at Bramall Lane. Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs have overcome their ankle knocks while Gary Neville has recovered from his recurring calf injury.
Player to watch: Patrice Evra
The French full-back has complained this week about Enghlish weather and food. Let’s hope he’ll not stay home under his warm blanker, watching DVDs as the weather just gets colder and colder. He’ll be directly opposed against former Red Gillespie but he must be able to handle it despite the cold.
Match Facts & Stats
The worst attack will come face to face with the best one – and Manchester United have on of the best records at the other end, too. Both clubs shared their victories equally among home and away encounters. Sheffield won one at Bramall Lane, one at St. James’ Park while United have won 5 on the road and 5 at Old Trafford.
0-2, Saha and Rooney to score.
22nd of November: Celtic, away (UEFA CL)
26th of November: Chelsea, home (FAPL)
God. What a week it will be. A draw and a win would be fine in these games.