HomeFootball NewsManchester City vs Sheffield United: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and...

Manchester City vs Sheffield United: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

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The State of Play

Manchester City secured only their second victory in seven Premier League matches, orchestrating a comeback to defeat Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday evening. Despite the recent struggle, City enter this weekend’s fixtures positioned in the top four, merely five points behind the league leaders with a game in hand.

The triumph in the FIFA Club World Cup held in Saudi Arabia has alleviated concerns about their form, but their performances, particularly in defence, still raise some doubts as they aim to regain their customary consistent brilliance.

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The recent appointment of Chris Wilder earlier this month brought about an immediate upturn in performances against formidable opponents like Liverpool and Chelsea, along with a notable victory over Brentford. However, the defeat at home to Luton on Boxing Day appears to be another setback, especially given the circumstances—conceding a 76th-minute equalizer via an own goal and an 81st-minute winner through yet another own goal. This loss followed a frustrating draw against  Aston Villa the previous weekend, where they led until the 97th minute, only to be undone by a late strike from Nicolo Zaniolo.

Team News

Manchester City, having returned from a challenging journey to Saudi Arabia for the FIFA Club World Cup and a demanding fixture at Goodison Park, are grappling with significant injury concerns. Kevin De Bruyne, although nearing a comeback, remains a long-term absentee. Jeremy Doku and Erling Haaland are expected to stay unavailable, while John Stones has emerged as a fresh injury concern. The availability of defender Ruben Dias is also uncertain due to illness, but Guardiola did not mention him in his press conference.

For the Blades, Chris Basham is out for the entire season, while John Egan is anticipated to make a comeback midway through the next month. Both players are part of a sizable injury list that includes Tom Davies and Daniel Jebbison. James McAtee is ineligible to play against his parent club, and Anel Ahmedhodzic and Gustavo Hamer are suspended.

Expected Line-ups

Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Akanji, Ake, Gvardiol; Lewis, Rodri; Bernardo, Foden, Grealish; Alvarez

Sheffield United: Foderingham; Baldock, Robinson, Trusty; Bogle, Norwood, Souza, Lowe; Ben Slimane, Archer, Brooks

What they Said

Pep Guardiola on prioritising the Premier League:

“Yes especially when we qualified for the Champions League in February we were incredibly just focused on the Premier League except this one week or ten days when we were in Saudi Arabia and won the Club World Cup. Absolutely, it’s Premier League, focusing on that.”

Chris Wilder on facing the reigning champions:

“You’ve got to have a plan and a structure in and out of possession. You can’t go gung-ho or toe-to-toe with them because of the quality they’ve got. Pep [Guardiola] is the best manager in the world and one of the all-time greats as well. The way they dominate the ball, you have to bring your A-game to the table. We understand how the game is going to go, so we all have to understand and accept that.”

When and How to Watch

This match is not televised in the UK, with the kick-off taking place in the traditional 3pm blackout slot.

Prediction

While the Premier League cliche insists that no game is straightforward, the upcoming encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon aims to challenge that belief. Despite the fact City are yet to really assert themselves this season, they continue to be strong contenders to defend their title, leading the scoring charts with 43 goals in 18 matches. Sheffield United, displaying increased resilience and a touch more creativity since Wilder’s return, faces the daunting task of minimizing damage in this clash. A healthy win for City awaits.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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