Juanma Lillo has made two changes to the City side for this afternoon’s Premier League meeting with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Bernardo Silva, returning after illness kept him out of the Newcastle game, replaces Phil Foden, who drops to the bench.

Nathan Ake, who was among the substitutes against the Magpies, comes in against the Blades in place of Manuel Akanji, who’s not fully fit.

City are aiming for three wins in a row to start the Premier League campaign, which would be the first time we’ve done that since the first season under Pep Guardiola in 2016/17, when we defeated Sunderland, Stoke City and West Ham.

Sheffield United have made one change to their starting line-up from last Friday’s Nottingham Forest game – George Baldock coming in for Max Lowe.

The Blades are aiming to avoid beginning a season with three straight league defeats for what would be only the fourth time in their history.

TEAMS

SHEFF UTD XI: Foderingham, Baldock, Robinson, Egan, Ahmedhodzic, Osborn, Hamer, Norwood, Souza, Osula, Traore

Subs: Davies, Trusty, Basham, McBurnie, Coulibaly, Bogle, Larouci, Marsh, Brooks

CITY XI: Ederson, Walker (C), Dias, Ake, Gvardiol, Rodrigo, Kovacic, Bernardo, Grealish, Alvarez, Haaland

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Phillips, Doku, Gomez, Foden, Bobb, Palmer, Lewis, McAtee

Tactics

Ederson is in goal with a back four of Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake and Josko Gvardiol in front of him.

Mateo Kovacic and Rodrigo will be our deep-lying midfielders, with Bernardo Silva, Julian Alvarez and Jack Grealish ahead of them in support of central striker Erling Haaland.

Premier League
1 Liverpool FC Liverpool Liverpool 26 18 6 2 63 25 38 60 WLWWW
2 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 26 18 5 3 59 26 33 59 WWDWW
3 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 26 18 4 4 62 23 39 58 WWWWW
Last updated: 25 February 2024

Doku looking to impress

It’s great to see new signing Jeremy Doku in the squad for today’s clash at Bramall Lane.

Doku told us, in our first interview with the winger, that he believed he and the Premier League were the ‘perfect match’.

He said the English top-flight was ‘built for me’ and reiterated that ‘I’m ready’.

Doku highlighted his strengths as ‘speed, creativity and dribbling.

That’s certainly born out when you look at his stats.

Doku has completed 6.8 dribbles per 90 minutes in Ligue 1 since the start of last season - the most of any player in Europe’s big five leagues (900+ mins).

He sits ahead of Allan Saint-Maximin (4.9), Edon Zhegrova (4.3), Gaeten Perrin (4.0) and Rayan Cherki (3.9).

In addition, Doku’s ball carry distance of 356 metres per 90 minutes is also the highest of any player in Europe’s big five leagues since the start of last season.

He’s in front of Rayan Cherki (347m), Facundo Medina (331m), Jack Grealish (317m) and Ousmane Dembele (309m).

Bernardo is back

Bernardo Silva told us this week that his time at City has been a dream.

Well, sky blue fans watching him perform over the last six seasons have had the same feeling.

He’s showcased pace, grace and bundles of energy, buzzing around the pitch like a bumblebee.

And we get to see him again today as he returns to action after missing the win over Newcastle through illness.

He’s sure to have an extra spring in his step after signing a new one-year contract extension and we’re delighted to have him back involved.

Private Pep Talk

Pep Guardiola will be missing from the dugout this afternoon – and that will be a strange experience for sky blue fans.

Guardiola has been absent from some games in the past – Lyon in the Champions League and Swindon in the FA Cup - but they’ve been few and far between.

Despite him not being in the Steel City for today’s encounter with the newly-promoted Blades, his impact will be felt.

As assistant manager, Juanma Lillo explained in his pre-match press conference: “Pep is always there”.

Lillo revealed how Pep was in still regular contact with the coaching staff and players and said that the dialogue would be ‘continuous’ as City seek to make it three wins from three in the Premier League at Bramall Lane.

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Head-to-head

Sheffield United are without a win in their last eight league games against City, dating back to a 1-0 home victory in January 2000 in the second tier.

The last win for United over City came in an FA Cup fourth-round tie in January 2008.

City are unbeaten in all 10 of our Premier League games against Sheffield United, and last lost a top-flight match against the Blades in February 1992.

City have conceded just once in those 10 games and our clean sheet ratio of 90% against the Blades is the highest one team has against another in Premier League history (minimum of five meetings).

Sheffield United can equal the top-flight record for successive games without scoring against a single opponent: that’s nine, which was set by Everton against Liverpool in 1972 to 1976, and also by West Brom versus Liverpool from 2002 to 2010.

Sheffield United

Sheffield United are aiming to avoid beginning a season with three straight league defeats for what would be only the fourth time in their history.

They have lost 34 of their last 43 Premier League matches including both so far this season.

In their most recent top-flight campaign in 2020/21, they set a Premier League record for the longest winless run at the start of a season: 17 matches.

The Blades have gone 26 Premier League matches without a draw, dating back to a 1-1 result against Brighton in December 2020.

Oliver Norwood could play in his 73rd Premier League game for the Blades, which would move him above Carl Bradshaw as the club’s record appearance maker in the division.

Manchester City

City have not opened a season with three consecutive league wins since our first campaign under Guardiola in 2016/17.

Liverpool are the only reigning champions in the last 11 seasons to start a Premier League campaign with three victories.

City are aiming to keep three successive clean sheets in the top flight for the first time since December 2021.

Julian Alvarez has scored only two goals in 13 starts away from home in all competitions, compared with 13 goals in 13 starts at the Etihad.

Erling Haaland has scored 38 goals in 37 league appearances for City. The Premier League record for fewest games to reach 40 goals is 45, held jointly by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole.