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On a High
Manchester City comes into this weekend’s EPL fixture with Sheffield United on a real high note.
Their 3-0 win at Marseille mid-week was perhaps the most complete performance the side has had so far this season.
No new injuries to report for Pep Guardiola’s side heading into this weekend’s match.
Nathan Ake and Kyle Walker should be available.
For Sheffield United’s they’ve got a slew of injuries to deal with.
Centre-back Jack O’Connell is gone for the season.
Midfielder John Fleck is out long term as well as French striker Lys Mousset.
What to Watch For
Their record this season may not show it but Chris Wilder’s men present a very unique challenge for the Citizens.
The Blades are a strong, hardworking team that is good at cutting down the space of the opposition.
Traditionally they line up with three centre-backs and five midfielders or vice-versa.
The strategy is to quickly close the gaps when the opposition gets the ball, eliminating promising counter-attacks against them.
These formations force the opposition to the outside for most of the game.
They’re a team that is very strong at blocking the passing lanes in the final third of the pitch.
With so many key players out, their man to watch for is midfielder Sander Berge, who’s quick and strong on the ball and the best playmaker they have available at the moment.
George Baldock is the only player in midfield with an assist this season, he’s a hard worker who can win balls deep into his own side of the field.
Above all else this game could be a test of patience for a City side that likes to attack.
The Blades are a very patient side that is quite comfortable hanging back.
Both squads will feel a little hard done by at times in the early going of this season.
City has been struggling with a slew of key injuries in the early-going and are off to their worst start since 2014/15 with just eight points.
Sheffield also have a string of injuries and have lost five games this season by a single goal despite some strong efforts.
Head to Head
These are two teams that have rarely met in recent memory.
Last season City won both encounters 2-0 and 1-0 respectively.
The last time Sheffield United beat the Blues was in the 2008 FA Cup.
It’s also the last time before last season that these teams met.
Overall City has won 51 matches against the Blades and lost 38.
Where they sit
One season after finishing in the top ten Sheffield is in early danger of relegation in 19th place with just one point from six matches.
City are in 13th with eight points.
The Blues are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions.
City hope to continue their way up the EPL standings Saturday on the road at Bramall Lane in Sheffield.
Kickoff is at 12:30pm. (JSL)