Two goals from Marcus Rashford and one from Anthony Martial took Manchester United up to sixth in the table, five points off the top with a game in hand; they look both very awful and very special.
The Blades, meanwhile, remain bottom of the league with just one point from 13 games; they’re set for a long, miserable winter, and simply bettering Derby’s record-low of 11 points in a Premier League season would mark some sort of triumph.
They started this game really well, quicker to the ball and looking to attack in numbers, and David McGoldrick’s opening goal, though it was created by a hideous piece of goalkeeping by Dean Henderson, was coming. But gradually United roused themselves, and two goals, scored by Rashford and Martial on 26 and 34 minutes, allowed them to take control of things.
The Blades tried their best in the second half, but United thought they’d made the game safe with a fantastic move on 51 minutes – had Rashford finished cleanly, we’d be talking about one of the great counters, and even so it was still pretty good. They ought to have scored more thereafter, and were punished for their profligacy when Victor Lindelof’s header hit McGoldrick and went in, giving them an anxious few minutes.
In the end though, United will take a ninth successive away win and a sixth successive from a goal down, knowing that if they can behave themselves at the start of games, they can achieve something this season.