United produced a four-star showing to comfortably beat Aston Villa at Bramall Lane on Saturday afternoon.
Jack O'Connell got the ball rolling, before Mark Duffy added a second and Ollie Norwood a third, all before half-time. After the break skipper Billy Sharp got in on the act, before Anwar El Ghazi pulled back a consolation goal for the visitors.
For the clash against Villa, Wilder was forced into a change with Clarke missing because of a tight hamstring, McGoldrick started. New signing Washington was named on the bench alongside Coutts, for the first time since breaking his leg last November.
On a baking afternoon at the Lane, United made the perfect start, scoring in the sixth minute. Freeman was fouled by El Ghazi and from Norwood's inviting free-kick O'CONNELL held off two defenders to head home powerfully past Nyland.
In United's next attack, one almost became two, with Norwood going from provider to scorer, but his low effort hit a post and was cleared by Chester with Duffy ready to pounce. Norwood was involved again moments combining with O'Connell, before Freeman crossed for Sharp, who saw his effort saved.
But the Lane didn't have much longer to wait for a deserved second. Henderson's kick forward found DUFFY in the middle of the park, he advanced past the challenge of McGinn, before firing a low effort past a scrambling Nyland.
With five minutes of the first-half remaining, United's dominance was rewarded with a third goal. Basham won a free-kick on the right-hand side of the box and with all inside the Lane expecting a cross, NORWOOD whipped an effort round the wall, to catch Nyland completely out at his near post to put the Blades firmly in control following an impressive first-half showing.
The second-half began the same way the first did, with an early Blades goal. Nyland's throw out saw Norwood tackle El Ghazi and set Freeman free down the right and his cross was expertly finished by SHARP on the turn. United piled forward again from the restart butt Nyland made a save to deny McGoldrick a fifth.
On the hour, Villa pulled one back. EL GHAZI broke the offside trap from Grealish's through ball, before slotting past an advancing Henderson. Moments later, Fleck, who looked to have picked up an injury, was replaced by Lundstram. And the substitute almost laid on a goal for McGoldrick, only for Nyland to save again.
United did have the ball in the net again in the 69th minute, with McGoldrick slipping in Sharp, but the assistant referee saved Villa. Lafferty replaced Duffy, before Sharp received a warm hand as Washington entered for his home debut.
Three minutes of added time were signalled by the fourth official and Washington's hard running earnt him applause from the Kop, as United safely played out the remaining seconds, for an impressive victory.
Blades: Henderson, Stevens, Fleck (Lundstram 63), O'Connell, Basham, Sharp (Washington 81), Egan, Norwood, McGoldrick, Freeman, Duffy (Lafferty 72).
Unused: Woodburn, Coutts, Stearman, Moore.
Villa: Nyland, Tuanzebe (Hourihane 63), Chester, Whelan, McGinn (Hepburn-Murphy 76), Grealish, Jedinak, Hutton (Taylor 76), El Ghazi, Kodjia, Elmohamady.
Subs: Lansbury, Bree, Bjarnason, Moreira.