The lowdown on Sheffield United versus Manchester City

Both Sheffield United and Manchester City have injury issues ahead of today’s match at Bramall Lane, with their results in Premier League competition so far this season also making disappointing reading.

Saturday, 31st October 2020, 6:00 am

United hope the fixture, their seventh of the new campaign, will deliver a first win since July. The visitors, despite spending over a billion pounds since being taken over by a private equity firm from Abu Dhabi, prepared for the game in 13th place.

The Star’s United writer James Shield analyses some of the key figures set to be involved and examines the respective form guides ahead of the contest.

THE POSSIBLE TEAMS: United - Ramsdale, Basham, Egan, Stevens, Baldock, Osborn, Ampadu, Norwood, Berge, Brewster, McBurnie. City - Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko, Silva, Rodri, de Bruyne, Sterling, Foden, Torres.

THE REFEREE: Michael Oliver will oversee the game while Peter Bankes is scheduled to take charge of VAR duties at Stockley Park. Oliver averages 3.1 yellow cards per game so far this season, but cautioned four players, including City’s Nathan Ake, when they faced Leicester City last month. He averaged two bookings per game in the three matches he refereed involving United last term, including John Lundstram, John Egan and John Fleck.

THE FORM GUIDE: United have lost five and drawn one of their five league outings this season, with their only point so far coming against Fulham in their last appearance at Bramall Lane. City have played a game less - winning two, drawing two and losing once - but have also beaten AFC Bournemouth, Burnley, Porto and Marseille in Carabao Cup and Champions League competition.

THE GOALS COLUMN: City have scored 19 goals in their last nine games, conceding 10. In league matches, they have scored eight and conceded eight; an average of 1.6 per game at both ends of the pitch, compared to 2.68 for and 0.92 last season. United’s averages are also down in this regard, with Chris Wilder’s men returning figures of 0.5 and 1.5 as opposed to 1.02 and 1.02 during the course of the previous campaign.

THE TREATMENT ROOM: United are without Jack O’Connell (knee), Fleck (back) and Lys Mousset (foot), while Wes Foderingham (hand) is also set to miss out. Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho, Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus are unavailable for City, whose only recognised striker could be teenager Liam Delap. However, Nathan Ake is being tipped for a return to action for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Chris Wilder and Pep Guardiola meet on the touchline again this afternoon: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

THE HISTORY LESSON: This will be the 120th meeting between these two sides, with the last of United’s 37 wins over City coming during an FA Cup tie in 2008. The visitors, who have recorded 48 victories over United, won both of their meetings in the Premier League last season, scoring three times and conceding none in the process. United’s most recent league win over City came in January 2000.

THE LAST TIME OUT: Aguero stepped off the bench to score the only goal of the game in the 73rd minute when City visited Bramall Lane in January, with Kevin de Bruyne producing a memorable pass to claim the assist. United went close through Oli McBurnie, while Jesus missed a first-half penalty.

THE DETAILS: Sheffield United versus City, kick-off 12.30pm. Up to the minute coverage is available via The Star’s website.

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Referee Michael Oliver will take charge of today's Premier League fixture between Sheffield United and Manchester City: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
John Fleck will be absent for Sheffield United: Peter Powell/Pool via Getty Images
Manchester City's Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero is also out through injury: TIM KEETON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images