Anthony Martial netted his first-ever senior hatrick as Manchester United stunned Sheffield United in a flawless three goal display at Old Trafford.
Martial’s opener came courtesy of Marcus Rashford’s low seventh minute pullback cross, to put United ahead in a move which caught many players by surprise.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka then set up Martial to side-foot in his second on the stroke of half-time from a low curling cross just outside of the post.
Martial created his third goal when he played an one-two with Rashford before chipping in over Simon Moore to record his first hatrick in professional football.
Man Utd’s win therefore sees them stay fifth but five points clear of the Blades, whose European dreams now look to be hanging by a thread in eighth position.Embed from Getty Images
Sheffield Utd made a strong start with a series of defensive moves to keep Man Utd out until the seventh minute, when Rashford met a throw-in and skipped past Phil Jagielka before pulling directly to Martial who lashed in from mere yards out.
Rashford then had a chance to double the Red Devils’ lead just five minutes later as he played an one-two with Martial on the break from Chris Basham’s saved shot, only to flick the Frenchman’s return pass just wide of the bottom right hand corner.
Rashford then saw a chipped pass from Paul Pogba blocked before Harry Maguire’s top left corner header from a corner was disallowed for a foul on Jagielka.
Chris Wilder’s Blades then began to impose themselves on the game after the first water break, as John Lundstram blasted a long range shot over the bar before two consecutive corners missed everyone in the box.Embed from Getty Images
Man Utd soon made them pay for wasting several chances when Luke Shaw latched onto a clearance, teeing up Nemanja Matic to find Bruno Fernandes who teed up Wan-Bissaka via Pogba to curl a low right-wing cross for Martial to side-foot home and double their lead.
Wilder proceeded to then make two half-time changes as Oli McBurnie replaced Lys Mousset and Sander Berge took over from Oliver Norwood.
The Red Devils however controlled most of the opening second-half exchanges with Martial wasting a great chance just after the hour mark.
Shaw played a pass to Martial who laid off for Pogba to pick up and dribble into the box, only for Martial to suddenly snatch possession mid dribble and blast a shot over the bar which briefly irked his compatriot.
Mason Greenwood went close shortly afterwards with a cut in shot from the left which flew over the bar.Embed from Getty Images
Pogba soon found Fernandes with a long pass ready to set up Martial on the turn to play an one-two with Rashford, as the Frenchman ran into the box before chipping the return pass over Moore to wrap up a three goal victory for Utd and complete his first hatrick.
Ole Gunnar-Solskjaer made five changes at once in the 80th minute, subbing Martial, Pogba, Rashford, Greenwood and Fernandes for Juan Mata, Odion Ighalo, Scott McTominay, Daniel James and Andreas Pereira.
McBurnie soon gave Man Utd a huge scare when he picked up Richairo Zivkovic’s pass and drove forward, with his low shot only getting as far as David de Gea’s hands in a comfortable save for the Spaniard.
Gunnar-Solskjaer’s Red Devils eventually controlled the game to a conclusion despite Ighalo twice being denied by Moore, as they wrapped up a comfortable home victory in front of an empty Old Trafford.
Manchester Utd are in FA Cup Quarter-Final action at Norwich on Saturday 27 June (5:15pm BST), before visiting Brighton in the league on Tuesday 30 June (8:15pm).
Sheffield Utd host Arsenal in their FA Cup Quarter-Final clash on Sunday 28 June (1:00pm BST), before hosting the Gunners’ North London rivals – Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday 2 July (6:00pm) in the league.
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba (Ighalo, 80), Matic, Greenwood (James, 80), Fernandes (Pereira, 80), Rashford (McTominay, 80), Martial (Mata, 80)
Sheffield Utd: Moore, Basham, Jagielka, Robinson, Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood (Berge, 45), Fleck, Stevens, McGoldrick (Zivkovic, 64), Mousset (McBurnie, 45)