30 December 2019
Manchester City will be desperate to return to winning ways in the Premier League (PL) when they lock horns with Sheffield United at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.
A dismal 3-2 away defeat to Wolverhampton last time out has practically excluded the hosts from the PL title race, as they now trail table-toppers Liverpool by 14 points. It was City’s second failure in their last four PL fixtures (W2, L2), with all of those matches producing over 2.5 goals. Still, strong home performers, the reigning champions have won four of their previous five PL home outings (W4, L1), scoring two or more goals in each of those successes, although keeping a clean sheet only once. The clean-sheet theme is on the cards here, as they’ve shut Sheffield out in all three of their previous competitive home H2Hs. Pep Guardiola will, nevertheless, rely on his prolific attack to deliver him a positive outcome here. No team has netted more PL goals than City (52) this campaign, even though 48% of those goals have come on home turf (25).
Meanwhile, a 1-1 home draw with Watford has halted Sheffield’s three-game winning PL run, but with a three-point deficit to fourth-placed Chelsea, they remain in strong contention for a top-four finish. Unlike City, the visitors are hopeful that their airtight defense can help them avoid failure here. Only Liverpool (14) have shipped fewer top-flight goals than Sheffield (17) so far, with just 41% of those goals coming away from home (7). In fact, the Blades have conceded over 1.5 goals per PL away fixture only once in nine league trips this season, keeping a clean sheet in three of the remaining eight. Chris Wilder’s players have, however, struggled to impress in the final third, netting an average of 1.22 goals per league away match. Keeping that in mind, only one side from the upper half of the table has scored fewer PL goals than Sheffield (23), with 47% of those goals coming on the road.
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