Manchester City will be aiming to get back to winning ways in the Premier League when they face off against a struggling Sheffield United outfit on Saturday.
Manchester City and Sheffield United will square off against each other at Bramall Lane on Halloween afternoon in matchweek seven of the 2020/21 Premier League.
After a season in which they punched well above their weight, Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United have struggled to get going this time around. The Blades are yet to register a single victory in the league and are currently second from bottom having picked up just a solitary point from six matches. Their most recent fixture ended in a 2-1 defeat to reigning champions Liverpool.
Manchester City have endured a mixed start to their league campaign. Pep Guardiola’s men find themselves 13th in the standings, with just eight points from five games – five behind leaders Everton. They were held to a 1-1 draw by West Ham United in their last league fixture, although the Cityzens did bounce back in style with a 3-0 win over Marseille in the Champions League.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 1-0 win for Manchester City, courtesy a late strike from Sergio Aguero. And ahead of their latest meeting at Bramall Lane, we take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
The Blades will continue to be without the services of key men Lys Mousset (foot), John Fleck (back) and Jack O’Connell (knee). However, manager Wilder will be able to call upon summer signing Max Lowe for Manchester City’s visit on Halloween.
Aaron Ramsdale is yet to secure a clean sheet for the Blades in the league. He will start in goal on Saturday but will have his task cut out against a dangerous City outfit.
Chris Basham and John Egan are ever-presents in the backline for the home team, while Enda Stevens will be the third defender in the three-man rearguard. With Stevens playing as the left-sided centre-back, Ben Osborn ought to slot in as the left wing-back, while George Baldock is a certainty to feature on the right.
On-loan Chelsea youngster Ethan Ampadu ought to slot in as the holding midfielder and will look to curb the influence of Kevin De Bruyne from City’s midfield. Flanking him on the afternoon will be the duo of Sander Berge, who scored against Liverpool last time out, and John Lundstram, who is likely to be sold in January, after he refused a new contract offer.
Big-money signing Rhian Brewster will be looking for his first goal for his new club. The youngster has the skillset to trouble the City defence and alongside Oliver McBurnie at the top, can be a problem for the visitors.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Ramsdale; Basham, Egan, Stevens; Baldock, Lundstram, Ampadu, Berge, Osborn; McBurnie, Brewster
Guardiola has quite a few key members out on the sidelines with Sergio Aguero (thigh), Fernandinho (leg), Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus (thigh) all definitively ruled out for the weekend clash against the Blades. Summer signing Nathan Ake is also expected to miss out due to a groin problem. There will be a few changes to the side that featured in midweek against Marseille.
Starting with defence, Aymeric Laporte could make way for Eric Garcia, with Guardiola likely to ease the former back into action after his recent injury troubles. Garcia ought to partner Ruben Dias at the heart of the City defence, with Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo slotting in as the full-backs. Ederson Moraes ought to continue between the sticks.
The three-man midfield unit that featured in midweek should remain intact, with Rodri starting at the base, flanked by Ilkay Gundogan, who will look to support the Spaniard in the defensive phase and Kevin De Bruyne, who was brilliant in France earlier in the week.
Ferran Torres started in the centre-forward role in the Champions League and scored. However, he is likely to drop the bench on Saturday, with Raheem Sterling set to occupy the central role in Aguero and Jesus’ absence. Flanking him should be Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden, who scored after coming on as a sub against West Ham last week.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Garcia, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Sterling, Foden
- Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.50
- Over 3.5 Man City goals @ 3.75
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their last three Premier League encounters (W1 D2). However, they have scored just one goal in each of the three fixtures. It is their longest run of failing to score more than once in a league game since October 2016 (3).
- Sheffield United are winless in their last six league meetings with Manchester City (D2 L4). Their last victory against the Mancunian outfit came in January 2000, in the English second division.
- The Cityzens have won just eight points from their first five league outings this term. It is Pep Guardiola’s worst-ever start at this stage of a season in his managerial career.
- Sheffield United are winless in their last nine Premier League outings (D1 L8) – the longest such run among teams currently in the competition.
- No side has won more English top-flight matches on Halloween (October 31st) than Manchester City (W10 D0 L3) – level with Arsenal.
Player to Watch
The 25-year-old put in a fine performance against Marseille, scoring and assisting one goal apiece, taking his tally for the season to five goals and four assists in nine games in all competitions. With no Aguero and Jesus, there is extra responsibility on Sterling to deliver the goods in front of goal. And, he will once again be crucial for City if they are to come out on top at Bramall Lane.
Sheffield United 1-3 Manchester City
It has been a disastrous start to the season for Sheffield United, with five losses in six league games. Although, they did show signs of improvement against Liverpool this past weekend. And while Manchester City have been quite below their best up until now, their midweek performance will have boosted confidence immensely within the camp.
Following that display, City will back themselves to come good against the Blades, who are languishing near the bottom of the table. No horrors should be in store for Guardiola & co. on Halloween on their visit to Bramall Lane. The Hard Tackle predicts a straightforward 1-3 win for the Mancunians.