The French defender’s return confirms he has fully recovered from a long-term knee injury and he goes straight into the starting XI as one of seven changes made by Pep Guardiola.
With John Stones and Benjamin Mendy having not recovered in time for the trip to Bramall Lane, there are wholesale changes in defence, with Kyle Walker, Nicolas Otamendi and Oleksandr Zinchenko coming in alongside Laporte.
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Rodrigo, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus are the other players to return to the side, with Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero all dropping to the bench.
Ederson, Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling retain their place, though David Silva, who started against Crystal Palace, is not involved.
City: Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (c), Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Sterling, Mahrez, Jesus.
Subs: Bravo, Garcia, Cancelo, Gundogan, Foden, Bernardo, Aguero.
Sheffield United: Henderson, Baldock, Basham, Egan, O'Connell, Stevens, Norwood, Fleck, Besic, McBurnie, Sharp.
Subs: Jagielka, Mousset, Osborn, Verrips, Freeman, Robinson, Lundstram
Guardiola has been flexible with his formations over the last month and again, he could opt for several different set-ups from the 11 players selected to start.
Sheffield United’s much talked about over-lapping centre-backs play as part of a five-man defence and City may well match them in Yorkshire this evening.
Where Fernandinho is deployed is central to how we set-up. The Brazilian could remain at in defence but could also easily return to midfield.
Laporte and Otamendi will certainly be at centre-half, with Walker and Zinchenko at full-back, whilst Rodrigo and De Bruyne are guaranteed to be in the middle of the park.
Fernandinho’s position may affect how Mahrez and Sterling play, but nonetheless they will be providing support to Jesus who will lead the line up front.
Match stats and facts
- City are unbeaten in nine of the last ten league meetings between the two teams, last tasting defeat in January 2000, when we lost 1-0 away.
- Our last visit to Bramall Lane - in January 2008 - ended in defeat, when the Blades knocked us out of the FA Cup in the fourth round. Daniel Sturridge scored in our 2-1 loss.
- We have scored 33 Premier League away goals in 11 games at an average of three per game - in English top-flight history, only Preston North End have a better average over a season, scoring 35 in 11 matches in 1888-89.
- We have scored twice or more in 11 successive matches in all competitions, totalling 34 goals.
- Riyad Mahrez is the only Premier League player to both score and assist 20 goals since the start of last season in all competitions (21 goals, 23 assists).
- Kevin De Bruyne's 15 assists in all competitions this season is more than any other Premier League player.
- We have kept two clean sheets in our last 13 league games, with one of those against Sheffield United at the Etihad Stadium.