Manchester United vs. Sheffield United: Winners and Losers from FA Cup

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterJanuary 9, 2016

Manchester United vs. Sheffield United: Winners and Losers from FA Cup

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    Wayne Rooney scored a stoppage-time penalty as Manchester United edged into the FA Cup fourth round with a 1-0 victory at home to League One side Sheffield United on Saturday at Old Trafford.

    The visitors frustrated Manchester United throughout the match and appeared set to earn a replay at Bramall Lane, but Memphis Depay won a penalty in the second minute of second-half stoppage time, and Rooney converted it one minute later to grab the winner.

    "Most important is we are through (to the fourth round)," said Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini, per BBC Sport. "The other team defended well, we kept the ball well, tried to create chances. We knew it would be difficult but in the end we win."

    Here, Bleacher Report selects winners and losers from the match.

Winner: Memphis Depay

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    The introduction of Memphis Depay in the 60th minute proved a turning point for Manchester United. The Dutch winger provided a spark with his running and dribbling on the left and drew the penalty that won the game for his side.

    Memphis carved out his first big opportunity in the 66th minute, when he cut inside from the left and bounced a dipping shot wide of the near post. He nearly recreated the move in the 90th minute, this time firing low and narrowly wide of the upright.

    Those efforts might sound minor, but on this day, that was pretty much as good as Manchester United mustered. Unlike some of his teammates, at least Memphis appeared hungry to make a meaningful contribution in the attacking third.

    That contribution came in the third minute of stoppage time, when he won a penalty after another dribble on the left. His trickery caused the otherwise solid Dean Hammond to slide in with an ill-advised tackle, which resulted in the decisive spot kick.

    As this performance hinted, Memphis possesses the attributes necessary to be a game-changer. He only needs to conjure that magic more consistently for his team.

Loser: Dean Hammond

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    Yes, this is harsh. Apart from one moment at the end of the match, Dean Hammond played very well for Sheffield United. But in that one moment, he committed a critical error.

    With Memphis Depay dribbling toward goal in stoppage time, Hammond slid in with an ill-advised tackle and conceded a penalty to Manchester United. Wayne Rooney converted from the spot one minute later to clinch a hardly deserved victory for the hosts.

    Unfortunately for Hammond, that one error makes him a loser here. It was a rash challenge, and he didn't need to leave his feet. In one moment, a rush of blood to the head undid all of Sheffield United's good work at Old Trafford.

    "Dean Hammond has a desire to keep the ball out of the back of the net. Unfortunately going to ground gives the referee the option to give the penalty," Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins told beIN Sports (h/t BBC Sport). "A replay would have been fantastic. There was a steely resolve and just a shame we haven't got it across the line."

Winner: Wayne Rooney

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    This was by no means a vintage showing from Wayne Rooney. But in the most crucial moment, the veteran striker produced the goods for Manchester United.

    After Memphis Depay won the penalty in stoppage time, there was no question who would take the kick. Rooney stepped up, kept his cool and dispatched an excellent penalty into the back of the net for the winner.

    If he felt any pressure, it wasn't apparent at all.

    With that, Rooney is now just 10 goals behind Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time scoring record of 249 for Manchester United.

Loser: Manchester United's Scoring Record in the 1st Half at Old Trafford

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Through 45 minutes, the scene at Old Trafford was depressingly familiar. The scoreboard showed all zeros, and the home team were failing to impress.

    In the first half, Manchester United produced two shots on target. Both of them went off target, as noted by BBC Sport. And for the 10th straight time at Old Trafford, Louis van Gaal's men were unable to find the back of the net in the opening period.

    Think about that for a moment. That's 450 minutes of scoreless football, all on home turf. This is not the Manchester United we've come to expect over the years.

    His team won in the end, but Van Gaal coaxed yet another dire performance from his team.

Winner: Cameron Borthwick-Jackson

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    Manchester United could take precious few positives from this game, but the performance of young left-back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was one of them.

    While the hosts struggled to create anything in the attacking third, Borthwick-Jackson provided a steady presence on his side of the back line. In addition, he got forward well, as Rob Dawson noted for the Manchester Evening News:

    He looked nervous when he came on for his debut against West Brom earlier in the season. But given his second senior start by Van Gaal be looked assured and confident at left-back. He was a threat going forward and solid defensively. Consistency will come with experience but he looks good for just 18.

    If Borthwick-Jackson continues this form, he'll earn more chances in the coming weeks.