Manchester City have the chance to keep the pressure on the top two of Everton and Liverpool when they face Sheffield United in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday.
City had to settle for a share of the spoils at West Ham on Saturday and will be eager to establish more consistency after two wins, two draws and a defeat in five league matches. However, they will take confidence from their 3-0 win over Marseille in the Champions League in midweek.
Despite a spirited display in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by champions Liverpool at Anfield, the Blades are 19th in the table on one point, above Fulham only on goal difference.
Sheffield United vs Manchester City predictions
Sheffield United’s form is starting to become a real worry for manager Chris Wilder with only one point picked up from a possible 18. City were held by West Ham last time out but have not tasted defeat in their last five in all competitions, and should see off opponents short on confidence.
Sheffield United vs Manchester City betting tips
Odds correct at the time of publication and are subject to change.
Blades lack cutting edge
United lost just six times at home in the league last season, an excellent record for a promoted side, but have taken only one point from three home games so far.
Defensively solid throughout the 2019-20 campaign, Chris Wilder’s men have yet to keep a clean sheet in seven matches in all competitions this season, and the injury picked up by Jack O’Connell in September appears to have made a major difference.
At the other end their lack of a cutting edge is becoming a real concern. Of their three league goals to date, two have come from the penalty spot. Alongside Burnley they are the division’s joint-lowest scorers and it is difficult to see them getting past City.
There may still be question marks over the Citizens’ backline, but they did manage to keep out Arsenal in a 1-0 victory two weekends ago and there have been promising signs from summer arrival Ruben Dias, who impressed at centre-back in that victory and in the 3-0 against Marseille in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Pep Guardiola’s men won both last season’s encounters 1-0 and have not conceded in the past six previous Premier League meetings with the Blades. That run should continue on Saturday.
Tip: City to win to nil @ 5/4 with bet365
Patience to pay for City
Wilder’s men showed spirit and determination in the 2-1 defeat by Liverpool and they should be able to hold out until half-time against City.
In six league outings, the Blades have only trailed at the break once, against Wolves on the opening weekend, and they have the resolve to frustrate a City side who should dominate possession.
Unfortunately for United, they have gone on to lose four and draw one of the five league games that have been level at half-time. It is expected City can create pressure that will eventually tell and the draw/City option in the half-time/full-time market looks very appealing at 3/1, as Guardiola’s side look to notch a third league win of the campaign.
Tip: Half-time/full-time – Draw/Manchester City @ 3/1 with bet365
Goals at a premium in Sheffield
Despite United’s troubles at the back, they can take some positives from the defeat by Liverpool and it is unlikely there will be a glut of goals at Bramall Lane this weekend.
As mentioned, the Blades have been pretty toothless in the final third and summer arrival Rhian Brewster, who played against his former employers last time out, is still adjusting to the side.
City have a plethora of attacking options to choose from but haven’t been firing on all cylinders yet, scoring only once in each of their last three league games.
These sides have met eight times in the Premier League and not one of those matches has produced more than two goals, with the total number scored standing at nine. Under 2.5 goals looks a tempting route to go down again at odds of 7/4.
Tip: Under 2.5 goals @ 7/4 with bet365
Sheffield United vs Manchester City odds
Sheffield United are unfancied by the bookies at 9/1 with Manchester City the odds-on favourites at 1/4. The draw is priced at 11/2.
Odds are correct at the time of publication and are subject to change.
Sheffield United team news
Sheffield United still have a long injury list and will have to make do without John Fleck, Jack O’Connell and Lys Mousset for the visit of City. Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie will lead the line while John Lundstram, who refused to sign a new contract with the Blades, is likely to be replaced in midfield by Oliver Norwood. Chris Basham, John Egan and Enda Stevens will be the back three.
Sheffield United predicted line-up (3-5-2): Ramsdale; Basham, Egan, Stevens; Baldock, Norwood, Ampadu, Berge, Osborn; Brewster, McBurnie.
Manchester City team news
Nathan Ake should be fit enough for a place on the bench with Dias and Aymeric Laporte in central defence and Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker at left and right back. Gabriel Jésus and Sergio Aguero remain out so Raheem Sterling will lead the line with Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden on either side.
Manchester City predicted line-up (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Foden, Sterling, Mahrez.
Last five results
24 Oct PL Liverpool 2 Sheff Utd 1 L
18 Oct PL Sheff Utd 1 Fulham 1 D
4 Oct PL Arsenal 2 Sheff Utd 1 L
27 Sep PL Sheff United 0 Leeds Utd 1 L
21 Sep PL Aston Villa 1 Sheff Utd 0 L
27 Oct CL Marseille 0 Man City 3 W
21 Oct CL Man City 3 Porto 1 W
17 Oct PL Man City 1 Arsenal 0 W
3 Oct PL Leeds Utd 1 Man City 1 D
30 Sep LC Burnley 0 Man City 3 W
PL Premier League CL Champions League LC League Cup