Scout report: How Sheffield United could exploit Manchester City's weaknesses and earn another huge result on Tuesday evening

When the 2019/20 Premier League fixture list was announced last June, Manchester City's visit to Bramall Lane was among the most eye-catching of future contests eagerly inked onto calendars by Sheffield United fans.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 11:45 am
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Few Blades supporters - or indeed pundits - would have predicted the club would be riding high in seventh place at this stage of season, a reassuring eleven places clear of the relegation zone.

On Tuesday evening, United will look to add another memorable chapter to a season already bursting with highlights, and here’s how Chris Wilder's side could perhaps pull off another big upset against the reigning Premier League champions...

What's City's form been like?

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Like every other Premier League side apart from league leaders Liverpool, consistency has been a struggle for Pep Guardiola's side this season.

They were shaken by Crystal Palace at the weekend who claimed a 2-2 draw at the stadium, and in doing so extinguished any hopes of somehow retaining the league title. Still, they're unbeaten in all competitions, and have lost just twice since early November.

After last Saturday’s disappointing draw, City are very much a wounded animal, and will be dead set on dishing out a drubbing - much like the 6-1 obliteration of Aston Villa earlier in the month.

Who are the ‘danger men’ Newcastle need to look out for?

Kevin de Bruyne is a half decent player, some had suggested, and that fella Sergio Aguero is certainly capable of bagging the odd goal, on his day.

OK, let's be honest here - all of them are dangerous men, in a footballing sense that is. Manchester City's expertly and enormously expensively assembled squad is up their with the finest in Europe, with a host of match-winning stars among their glittering ranks.

One player who often goes under the radar is Bernardo Silva - an underrated gem who the Blades would do well to keep a watchful eye on. He's a supremely gifted footballer, and would be the standout star in any other Premier League side.

And what about the manager?

Pep Guardiola is not a happy chappy at the moment, that's for sure. He's seen Jurgen Klopp's golden boys become the new toast of the town, while his side have struggled to keep up with their brutal charge to glory.

Before his generally successful spell with City, he had similarly strong showings with Bayern Munich and Barcelona respectively.

However, he's yet to fulfil his ambition of winning the Champions League with the Citizens, having not lifted the premium European club trophy since 2011 with his golden era Barca side.

The style of play?

Manchester City really are a joy to watch for the neutral, and a frustrating nightmare for opposition supporters.

Guardiola's team play beautiful football, usually in an attacking 4-3-3 formation. They have the ability to play through teams with ease, and dominate matches with their relentlessly precise passing.

In terms of a goal threat, City tend to swarm forward, often with as many as five players tearing towards the opposition net. Pace plays a crucial role in their success, and United could find themselves flagging in the latter stages following their trip to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Any weaknesses to exploit?

Raheem Sterling, while a force to be reckoned with going forward - which is, it has to be said, an understatement - has lost possession of the ball more times (40 and counting) than any of City player this season.

If United's midfield and defence can hassle and harry the England star at every opportunity, it could provide the Blades with a springboard to pursue a counter-attack. On your toes then, Enda Stevens.

Much to the chagrin of Fantasy Premier League managers, City's rotational defence is in a constant state of flux, and perhaps as a result looks far from stable - Cenk Tosun's ruled out goal last weekend would have been humiliating if it had stood - and the odd long ball swept over their back line wouldn't be a bad idea at all on Tuesday.