Preview: Manchester City vs. Sheffield United

Top meets bottom in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon as Manchester City welcome Sheffield United to the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola’s men hit West Bromwich Albion for five to return to the top of the table, and they remained on their perch after the Blades marched to a shock 2-1 victory over Manchester United.
One could argue that it is already Manchester City’s title to lose, with Guardiola’s side embarking on a remarkable winning run to lead the way as the spring approaches.

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The Citizens have now taken the spoils in their last 11 matches across all competitions – with seven of those coming in the Premier League – and they needed no second invitation to stamp their authority on a troubled West Brom side on Tuesday evening.

Joao Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan (2) all struck at The Hawthorns, with the latter now boasting seven goals from his last eight Premier League outings, having recovered from an underwhelming start to the season.

Guardiola’s men now sit one point clear of bitter rivals Man United, who have played a game more, at the top of the rankings – no mean feat considering that Sergio Aguero has more or less been out for the season while Kevin De Bruyne is also facing a spell on sidelines.

The absence of De Bruyne could certainly be felt when Man City take on the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Arsenal next month, but for now, the visit of Sheffield United represents a prime opportunity for the league leaders to register their sixth win – and clean sheet – in succession on home soil.
However, Sheffield United have already taken down one Manchester giant away from home this week, with Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Man United ensuring that Man City would head into this bout at the top of the pile.

The Blades’ goals came from unlikely sources in Kean Bryan and Oliver Burke, who netted either side of a Harry Maguire header, and incredibly, Sheffield United have now won four out of their last five games in all competitions.

The likes of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes were silenced by a Blades defence marshalled by Phil Jagielka, who at the ripe old age of 38 put in one of the performances of his career at The Theatre of Dreams.

Wednesday’s historic win does not change the fact that Chris Wilder’s men are still bottom of the pile and 10 points adrift of safety, but at the very least, it should give the Bramall Lane faithful a sense of renewed hope heading into the business end of the season.

Kyle Walker struck the only goal against his former club as Man City won 1-0 at Bramall Lane earlier in the season, and Sheffield United are yet to keep a clean sheet away from home in any competition this term.

Manchester City Premier League form: WWWWWW
Manchester City form (all competitions): WWWWWW

Sheffield United Premier League form: LLLWLW
Sheffield United form (all competitions): LWWLWW

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