The Big Match Preview: Sheffield United vs Manchester City (Premier League)

After stuttering to a 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace, Pep Guardiola will hope his side can return to recent form seen in the thrashings over Manchester United and Aston Villa, as they head to Bramall Lane for the first time in 12 years to face Sheffield United. Here's everything you need to know ahead of Tuesday night's game...
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After stuttering to a 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace, Pep Guardiola will hope his side can return to recent form seen in the thrashings over Manchester United and Aston Villa, as they head to Bramall Lane for the first time in 12 years to face Sheffield United.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Tuesday night's game…

Team News

Injury problems have once again emerged for John Stones, who has “a problem with his leg”, and Benjamin Mendy, who is struggling with “muscular fatigue.”Aymeric Laporte will not make the match day squad despite returning to first team training, while Leroy Sané also remains out.

Sheffield United have been extremely fortunate on the injury front this season and their only concern ahead of this game is the fitness of midfielder David McGoldrick. He picked up a foot injury which ruled him out of their draw against Arsenal.

Head To Head

Sheffield United and Manchester City haven’t played each other at Bramall Lane since an FA Cup meeting in January 2000. City haven’t lost against the Blades in the Premier League, despite only having met three times previously. Overall, there have been 122 meetings between the two teams with City having won 50, drawn 34 and lost 38, with the Blues scoring 204 goals in that time.

The last time City played Sheffield United was less than three weeks ago, where second half goals from Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne were enough for the three points. In that game City had 73% of the possession, but failed to have an attempt on target in the first half.

Form Guide

Manchester City are unbeaten in seven of their last eight Premier league matches - but the disappointing draw to Palace was the eighth time this season that the champions have dropped points. In contrast, City only dropped points on six occasions in both the 2018/19 and 2017/18 campaigns. City have only managed two clean sheets in their last 13 Premier League games and have conceded the first goal in a match on eight occasions so far.

On a more positive note, the Champions are the league’s top scorers with 64 goals, and Sergio Aguero, who has five goals in his last two matches, has 15 of them - only Leicester City's Jamie Vardy has more (17). Kevin De Bruyne is on course to break Thierry Henry’s assist record of 20 in a season, with the Belgian already providing 14 in the league this season.

Sheffield United have a pretty dreadful record when playing reigning Premier League champions but have only lost once at home this season. The Blades have won just one of their last five league games but managed to nick a point late on at the Emirates against Arsenal at the weekend. Chris Wilder’s side certainly don’t shy away from big occasions with them having already managed results against Manchester United, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea this season.

Xtra Tactics

After the sudden success with the 3-4-3 formation, it was a surprise to see Pep Guardiola return to a 4-3-3 set up and drop several inform players, particularly Riyad Mahrez for the game against Palace. The Catalan boss could want to continue with the formation that has proved so successful in the past two seasons or move back to the changed set up. The 3-4-3 could be played with no recognised striker like what we saw at Manchester United, or with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, with the Brazilian on the flank.

Chris Wilder’s philosophy which proved so successful in the Championship last season has proved a success in the Premier League. The Blades like to play in a 5-3-2 formation, with the common change being who plays alongside Oli McBurnie upfront. Wilder went with this against Manchester City earlier in the season and although the score was only 2-0, they were starved of the ball for large parts of the game and failed to register a single shot on target.

Match Officials

Lee Mason will take charge of City for the second time in five matches when they play Sheffield United on Tuesday. Mason will be joined by Nick Hopton and Simon Long as well as fourth official Peter Bankes. Andrew Madley will be in control of the VAR, alongside Darren Cann.

Follow us on Twitter for live match updates: @City_Xtra

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