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First versus Worst

Man City host Sheffield United Saturday

From Top to Bottom

 It’s a matchup of the top team and the bottom team Saturday as Manchester City host Sheffield United at the Etihad.

23 points separate the last place Blades from the leaders’ Man City heading into this weekend’s fixture.

The Blades did City a big favour this week when they beat Manchester United 2-1 on Wednesday.

That win kept Pep Guardiola’s side one point up in the Premier League standings with one game in hand on the Reds.

City will look to repay that favour with a win against a side they’ve handled with ease lately.

Lineup News

 Kevin De Bruyne remains on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

Nathan Ake is doubtful having missed the last eight games with a knock.

It remains to be seen if Sergio Aguero will be available following a positive test for COVID.

The Blades could welcome back defender John Egan whose suspension is over.

However, given how well Phil Jagielka fared in his absence Egan could be on the bench.

One of Wednesday’s goalscorers Kean Bryan may not be ready to play after being taken off early in the second half against Man United.

If he can’t go Max Lowe will likely draw into the lineup.

Enda Stevens, Ben Osborn, Jack Robinson, and Oli McBurnie could all be out for the Blades with injuries.

We could see the hero of Wednesday’s win Oliver Burke earn a start in this match.

 On a Roll

 Both Man City and Sheffield United are riding high with some very strong performances of late.

Guardiola’s side is eight for eight in this new year and unbeaten in their last 18 matches in all competitions.

The Sky Blues are doing just about everything right lately with 15 goals in their last five Premier League games and conceding only once.

 Chris Wilder’s side is starting to peak although it could already be too late.

The Blades have won four of their last five matches in all competitions but still have 10 points to make up and three teams to pass to get out of relegation.

Coming Out Party

 Ilkay Gundogan has emerged as a real spark in City’s midfield in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne.

The German’s added some unexpected offensive punch to his rock-solid midfield game.

Gundogan has six goals in his last six Premier League encounters and is tied with Phil Foden for most goals in all competitions this season with eight.

He’s steadily improved his game season after season for the Sky Blues and his patience is starting to pay off.

With De Bruyne out a few more weeks, this is Gundogan’s time to take the reins and show he’s ready to grab the spotlight and lead City back to the EPL title.

Touching moment

 You rarely see him on the scoresheet but there’s no denying the impact Joao Cancelo has made at Man City.

The right-back’s footprints are all over the pitch with consistent touches at every end of the field.

The Portuguese international only has a goal and an assist this season but boy does he make things happen when he touches the ball.

Cancelo leads all defenders in the Premier League this season with 30 chances created.

Goose Egg

It’s been quite some time since Sheffield United’s beaten Man City.

City has won the last three encounters with the Blades and they’ve kept a clean sheet each time.

Sheffield United did manage a 2-1 upset in the FA Cup in 2008 but victories against City in league games have been few and far between.

In fact, they’ve never beaten the Sky Blues in the Premier League managing only two draws in nine top-flight encounters.

The last time they came away with a win over City was in 2000 when both sides played in the League Division One.

In the last ten meetings between these sides across all competitions City has eight clean sheets.

Sheffield United on the other hand has conceded in all but one of their matches in all competitions this season.

The last time these teams met Sheffield native Kyle Walker netted the only goal in a 1-0 City win.

Match Info

 Saturday’s game at the Etihad goes at 3 pm. (JSL).

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