22 January 2020
Sheffield United will be looking to score their first Premier League (PL) goal against Manchester City in the new millennium when the two sides lock horns at Bramall Lane this midweek.
A 1-1 away draw with Arsenal at the weekend now means that the hosts have gone from back-to-back league defeats to two straight games without a loss (W1, D1). Still, as a reflection of a true ‘Yorkshire grit’ running through their wins, none of Sheffield’s previous seven PL fixtures has produced over 2.5 goals, with just two games during that seven-game sequence seeing both teams score. But, Bramall Lane has been some kind of a fortress lately, as the Blades lost only once in their last seven league games at this venue (W4, D2, L1). Notably, all four of their wins in that period have been accompanied by a clean sheet, with two of them coming via the exact 1-0 score. Conceding the opening goal could prove fatal to Sheffield’s hopes of claiming their elusive first top-flight win over City, as they’ve returned just one point from five PL home games where they’ve shipped the opener.
Meanwhile, the visitors ran out 2-0 winners when the two sides met at the Etihad a fortnight ago, stretching their unbeaten run in top-flight H2Hs with Sheffield to three games (W2, D1). Importantly, the reigning PL holders have kept a clean sheet in each of those matchups, which emerged as a real problem for them in the recent period. In fact, the Citizens have failed to shut out their opponents in 18 of their last 20 competitive games, although allowing over 1.5 goals only five times during that period. A dismal 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace at the weekend has brought City’s three-game winning PL streak to an end, but Pep Guardiola’s men have now scored 2+ goals in 11 conseuctive matches in all competitions. While they might be starting the away games slowly, Manchester City tend to finish them furiously. Indeed, Guardiola’s players have found the net inside the final 15 minutes of play in seven of 11 PL road trips, although conceding a goal during the same interval in four.
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