Sheffield United vs Manchester City preview

Sheffield United host treble-winners Manchester City on Sunday. The Blades are in search for unlikely points, they currently have zero points on the board.

Manchester City will be without Pep Guardiola after he had emergency back surgery this week. The Citizens will be managed by Juanma Lillo until Guardiola has made a full recovery.

Team news

Max Lowe is ruled out to play any part of the match on Sunday. But there’s a big boost for Sheffield United because George Baldock and Oli McBurnie have been back in training and both could feature.

Bernardo Silva has returned following an illness, meanwhile new signing Jeremy Doku is available. Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones are out for the foreseeable future.

Difference makers

The obvious difference makers for the Blades are Gustavo Hamer and Vinícius Souza.

Vinícius Souza made a significant impact on the momentum shift in United’s game against Nottingham Forest. In his full debut, he excelled by winning six out of eight duels, executing five successful tackles, making two interceptions, providing a key pass, and initiating two shot-creating actions, per FBref.

His exceptional ball retention abilities were evident, and it’s reasonable to expect an even greater impact once he achieves full match fitness. United will be needing a big performance from him on Sunday if they stand any chance of getting points.

Hamer notched an impressive goal (registering 0.02 xG), and his long-shot prowess may be needed against an exceptional City defence on Sunday. The midfielder successfully completed three out of six long passes and delivered two accurate crosses out of five. His positive thinking and quality of his final ball could be the thing that unlocks the City defence. Even from deep, he could launch a quick counterattack for speed merchants like Bénie Traoré.

I have singled out Phil Foden as City’s potential difference maker, but let’s be honest, it could’ve been any one of their outfield players. But, In the absence of the injured Kevin De Bruyne, Foden took charge of the match against Newcastle.

He impressively generated seven chances during open play [FBref], marking his highest count in his 131-match career. This achievement also stands as the most chances created by a City player in a Premier League match since De Bruyne against Norwich City in July 2020.

Foden’s skill in receiving and advancing the ball was instrumental, notably evident in five of his chance creations which followed successful ball carries. With the likelihood of Sheffield United sitting deep and narrow when under the cosh, someone like Foden with excellent footwork can suck in one or two players to the ball, thus disjointed the Blades shape.


Sheffield United’s goal is to prevent starting a season with three consecutive league losses, which has only happened three times in the club’s history.

As for Manchester City, they haven’t achieved three consecutive league victories at the start of a season since their inaugural campaign under Pep Guardiola back in 2016-17.


Understandably, pundits, neutrals and even United fans are barely giving themselves a chance in this game.

But the Blades must draw some form of confidence from their meeting in the FA Cup semi-final last season. Although it was a defeat, Paul Heckingbottom’s side defended resolutely until a dubious penalty was given right before halftime. Prior to that, United should’ve broken the deadlock via an Iliman Ndiaye chance.

The atmosphere will be unbelievable at Bramall Lane on Sunday and I would not be at all shocked if the Blades frustrated City and got a point on the board.







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