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Sheffield United

Sheffield United endure worst start to a season in English top-flight history with Manchester United defeat

22:30 GMT 17/12/2020
George Baldock Sheffield United 2020-21
Chris Wilder's side put up a fight against the Red Devils at Bramall Lane but eventually succumbed to their 12th Premier League defeat in 13 games

Sheffield United’s disastrous start to the Premier League season is officially the worst in the history of English top-flight football.

Their battling 3-2 home defeat against Manchester United on Thursday means they have taken just one point from their first 13 games.

No other team has ever endured such a poor start to an English top-flight season. The Blades' only point came in a 1-1 draw against Fulham in mid-October.

Remarkably, nine of their 12 defeats so far have come by only one goal - including Thursday's game, as well as narrow losses to Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester City.

Chris Wilder’s side did take the lead early on against the Red Devils, with David McGoldrick profiting from an error from former loanee Dean Henderson in goal.

Marcus Rashford levelled the scores before Anthony Martial finished from Paul Pogba’s sublime pass in behind to see the visitors ahead at the break. Rashford scored a second after half-time before McGoldrick struck a late consolation goal for the home side.

Sheffield United are now nine points off safety and dead last in the Premier League. Burnley, the team currently occupying 17th place, also have a game in hand.

The contrast from last season, when their surprise European charge only fell away at the end of the term, could hardly be clearer. Wilder’s side’s 12 league defeats so far this season is as many as they suffered throughout the whole of 2019/20.

Meanwhile, McGoldrick’s opener was their first goal from open play since the Irishman’s effort against Arsenal on October 4, which ended a run of 59 open-play shots in the league without scoring.

"At this level you get punished if you don't take your chances,” McGoldrick reflected after the game. “We were in the game for the whole 90 minutes.

"We had a big talk after the Southampton game as players. We knew we were not performing and we set some things straight with a long chat in the dressing. If fans were here, I think we might have had a bit more momentum at the end.

"Every game until the end of the season. We are not giving up. We still believe once that first wins comes, we can build something."