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Manchester City vs Sheffield United at Etihad Stadium

Etihad Stadium Referee : David Coote
30th January 2021 3:00 PM (GMT)
  • 1 Manchester City

    • ‘9' Gabriel Jesus
  • 0 Sheffield United


Commentary By


Signing off 👋

That feels like an appropriate place to bid you farewell for the night.

Not the prettiest of wins - but one which forms the very foundations of title winning campaigns.

And just to recap:

 🔹 Still top of the table this weekend.

 🔹 12 successive wins in all competitions.

 🔹 Eight straight wins in the league.

 🔹 19 games unbeaten in all competitions.

 🔹 500 career wins as a manager for Pep.

 Not too shabby!

As always many thanks for your company.

Next up for us is a Premier League trip to Burnley on Wednesday.

Kick-off is at 18.00pm (UK) and you can follow all the action here in our Matchday Centre on, so hopefully you can join us.

See you then.


'We behaved perfectly'

More from Pep Guardiola:

"We played really well. We didn't create much but we concede few. We were in the right foot on the pitch and we behaved perfectly.

"I am very grateful to my players for the victory."


'Our toughest game of the season'

Pep Guardiola:

"I woke up, I went out of my building and saw the wind and freezing conditions and I said straight away this will be one of the toughest games we play this season.

"Sheffield United are right now at the bottom and that's when you realise Premier League is toughest in the world."


'We cannot drop at home'

More from Gabriel Jesus:

"That’s what we want, to win the game. At the end of the season we’ll see if we fight for the title.

"This season is a difficult season for everyone. We cannot drop at home. We did not drop and won the game."


'It's always good to score'

More from Gabriel Jesus:

"I was getting back my rhythm and my power. It’s always good to score - I had to. It’s important [to end his goal drought].

"To play for a top club I have to score. Today we didn’t have the space to play. I have the first chance, I scored and that’s good for me and the team."


'Three more points in our pocket'

Gabriel Jesus

"They are a strong team and we knew this. It was a tough game and difficult for us and also for them too, but we did our work, we did our job and won the game.

"Three more points in our pocket."


Elsewhere today

In the two other 3pm kick-offs Crystal Palace emerged as 1-0 victors over Wolves while West Brom and Fulham shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw.

Newcastle were 2-0 victors at Everton in the day's early kick-off.


The four tops!

That victory has sent us four points clear at the top ahead of Manchester United's game at Arsenal which gets underway at 5.30pm.

Points mean prizes don't they say?


True grit

It was a win that say City dig deep and show our fighting qualities.

It may not have been the prettiest but a win against tough battle hardened opponents on a bone chilling afternoon is what defines potential title winners.


Full time


Job done. Not the prettiest of wins but we'll take it!

12 Straight wins, we remain top of the table - and it's another crucial three points.

Pep's 500th win as a manager.

What's not to like?


Penalty shout

 Foden wants a spot kick as his cross hits Baldock in the box but a VAR check rules out a penalty despite City's protestations.

Then Ramsdale produces a stunning save to deny Jesus


Timely stop

City close the door on Billy Sharp as the Blades look to muster an attack.

The energy levels at this stage of the game with four City players bearing down on him are ridiculous.


Twin change

Burke off for Sharp and Basham off for McBurnie for the visitors.

Immediately McBurnie and Laporte clatter into each other.

Again no malice intended.


City come all the way back to Ederson as Sheffield stay compact and disciplined.

They have proved a tough nut to crack this afternoon as Pep predicted.



Out of nowhere City sweep into life.

Some Gundogan brilliance sets up a swift counter attack that ends with Ramsdale diving to palm away Zinchenko's goal bound effort.

The Blades keeper then follows that up b tipping over Laporte's looping header.

Much better from City


Bench press ? 💙

 John Edwards at the Etihad:

"The majority of City’s bench have been out to warm up in this second half and they’ll certainly need to given how cold it is here at the Etihad. 

"Joao Cancelo, Rodrigo and Riyad Mahrez have just been sent out for a second time, so Pep Guardiola could well be considering adding some fresh legs in a bid to unlock what has been a stubborn Blades defence since our opening goal.

"City remain on the front foot, but chances are proving to be few and far between."



A wonderful raking long ball from Walker finds Torres, the winger cuts in behind Bogle who races back and makes contact sending Torres tumbling as the ball goes out.

No penalty is the verdict but that could have been so much better for us.


The visitors seeing a fair bit of the ball these past few minutes.

We just need to try and up the intensity again and put the pressure back on the Blades.


Warning note...

An hour gone and still we search for that second goal.

And a reminder of the threat as Bogle fires high and wide for Sheffield United after latching onto Bernardo's attempted clearance.


So close again...

Oh my.

Wonderful teasing cross from Torres from the right flank and hesitation from Basham and Egan sees Jesus power in to the six yard box but Ramsdale is there in the nick of time to gather the ball.



Phil Foden and Lundstram both floored after an accidental clash of heads.

No malice at all in the incident but a Jesus challenge saw Lundstram and Foden inadvertently clash heads.

Good news is that Phil is sitting up. 


Too strong...

A brilliant whipped cross from Zinchenko finds Torres at the far end of the box but such is the whip and pace of the ball, Ferran can't guide it back to a team mate



Another brilliant Gundogan corner and Dias bursts through a crowded box to meet the ball but his header is narrowly wide.

So near to our second goal there.


Battling Bernardo

Great determination from Bernardo to win the ball back from Fleck and then drive into the box to win a corner.

Another example of how City can mix silk and steel


'You want that second goal'

Richard Dunne

"You want to get the second goal as quick as you can - It’ll be on a knife-edge until we get it.

"There’s no need to go gung ho for it, City are dominating so keep moving the ball, as Sheffield United will need to come out soon and make spaces for us later in the match."


'Important early goal'

 Paul Dickov:

"It was important to get the goal early. Great work from Torres and we spoke how important it was for Jesus to get on the scoresheet and he did. We’ll take it so far.

"You have to give Sheffield United some credit for how they defended, they’re not allowing any space between the lines. I’m sure Pep will be reasonably pleased at half-time.

"As long as we get three points at the end of the day that’s all that matters."


650... and counting


Still work to do...

The Blades have been every bit as organized, tough and obdurate opponents as the boss predicted beforehand.

City look up for the challenge but you sense that we just need that second goal to really cement our grip on the game.


Half time 💙

So far, so good at the Etihad.

Gabriel Jesus's early effort sends us in at the break holding a precious lead.

Still work to do though


So close

A stunning corner from Gundogan begs to be met but Aymeric Laporte is just a fraction away from getting his head to the set-piece.

If he'd connected that could well have been goal bound.


To be fair to the visitors since that early goal they have regrouped and made life tough for City.

And at the other end, Dias has to be alert again to deny Burke in the box as the Sheffield man sought to hone in on goal.


Foul throws!

Tw foul throws in the first 40 minutes for City. First Bernardo and now Zinchenko.

Would think Pep might have words to say about that at the break.


Torres a threat

Really like the look of Ferran Torres.

Though his latest cross is gathered by Ramsdale, the young Spaniard has positive intent on his mind every time he receives the ball.

Think he could be a really big player for us looking to the long term future.



A patient build up from the Blades ends with Brewster turning and firing straight at Ederson.

To be honest though that was meat and drink for the keeper.

A reminder though that at 1-0 this game is still alive.


Not this time...

Foden gathers the ball from Laporte on the left edge of the box and drifts in a teasing cross but it's too close to Ramsdale on this occasion and he gratefully gobbles up the ball.


Fitting tribute

Another thing to admire is City's incredible energy and fitness levels.

You have to be supreme athletes to play the we do covering the ground and space we achieve - but Pep's players make it look almost effortless.


Silk and steel

Another exchange from Fernandinho to Jesus almost City in again.

Bernardo then races back to crucially intercept a ball as Burke looked to pounce.

Both sides of the City coin in a nutshell.


Frustration creeping in?

 John Edwards at the Etihad

"We’ve just seen the first sign of frustration from the visitors. Aaron Ramsdale hoofed a long ball forward, but midfielder John Lundstram was unhappy with his centre-backs for not going short to take the ball off the goalkeeper.

"Lundstram’s concerns were audible from the stand and his debate with skipper John Egan continued into the next passage of play.

"It’s been all City so far, with little joy for the Blades."


Team man

Some great defensive work by Foden nicks the ball of Lundstram as United look to probe City's defence.

The City man is then hacked down by Norwood - but another reminder there of his selfless work ethic.



Superb through ball from Fernandinho almost puts in Jesus again.

However, Basham is there in the nick of time to shut the door to goal and the danger is averted.


What a free-kick

Gundogan dinks in a superb curling free-kick which causes absolute havoc in the box.

The Blades finally hack the ball clear but it was the type of teasing delivery that gives defenders nightmares.


Marshall law

From John Edwards at the Etihad 

 "Both managers have been out on the edge of their respective technical areas since kick-off and for Pep Guardiola, it is the City back four who are receiving most of his attention.

"The boss has delivered several instructions to Kyle Walker and Ruben Dias on the near side, and judging from his hand signals, it appears it may be regarding Sheffield United’s long balls over the top.

"Dias, however, is looking typically commanding and we’re marshalling the Blades front line well so far."



Bernardo Silva is almost there to deflect a backwards Sheffield header into the net following another dazzling City build-up.

The speed and fluidity of our play is amazing to watch.

It's stretching the visitors' formation and the play is pin-balling from flank to flank.


Mean machine

The visitors look to mount an attack but City are back in numbers and  Lundstram is shut down he sought to cross the ball into the box.

City's mean machine of a defence cranking into gear once more.


Keep on trying!

Poor defending from the Blades in the build up to our goal but great determination from both Torres and Jesus.

Persistence rewarded!


Perfect ten!!

All the work was done by Ferran Torres as he battled for the ball on the right flank.

The Spaniard somehow worked his way past two defenders and found the unmarked Jesus who found his feet and fired home for a welcome goal.

Gabriel's first in 10 Premier League games.


Confidence boost

The Blades have made a composed start. That win at Old Trafford in midweek will have been a massive confidence boost and they have begun with a solid shape and desire to check City.


Wide boys

Superb long ball from Walker finds Foden on the left flank and a patIent build up ends with Fernandinho's shot being blocked on the edge of the box.

City already stretching the play on either flank looking to move the ball around at pace.


Early scene setter

City already looking slick and composed with our passing and build-up.

The Blades have bodies massed behind the ball before United break and Dias produces a superb sliding challenge to blunt the danger.


Shoot to thrill...

From John Edwards at the Etihad:

"If the warm-up is anything to go by, City’s shooting boots are firmly on today.

"And it’s the left footers in particular who have impressed before kick-off, with Oleksandr Zinchenko, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden all curling precise efforts past Zack Steffen.

"A welcome pre-match confidence boost for the lads as we bid to continue our fine run of form against the side with the fifth worst defensive record in the Premier League."


Magpies take flight

Arguably a surprise result in the day's early kick-off.

Newcastle have secured a fine 2-0 win away at Everton.

Proof if any were needed, that every game presents the toughest of challenges in the Premier League.

A timely reminder as we prepare to tackle the Blades.


'A fantastic footballing mind'

Paul Dickov on Ilkay Gundogan:

"I love him. He’s getting recognition now but he’s always scored big goals for City. In the big games Pep more often than not picks him.

"He has a fantastic footballing mind.

"When you have people like KDB out you want players to stand up and take the games by the scruff of the neck and he’s done that - especially against Chelsea when he virtually said ‘I’m running this game’."


Stat attack (part three)...📈

 🔹 City are unbeaten in our past 32 Premier League home fixtures against sides starting the day in the relegation zone, winning 28.

 🔹 Ilkay Gundogan could become the first German to score in four consecutive Premier League appearances.


'City look unstoppable right now'

Richard Dunne:

"The players will be buzzing. When you’re playing games and going on a run, the confidence goes flying high and you can feel the buzz on the training pitch.

"There’s a sort of buzz, they look unstoppable now.

"Over the last few months, it’s been very consistent and they’re going from the first minute to the last now."


'No let up today'

Paul Dickov:

"I think Pep will be onto the players from the start today. He will be saying he wants them to be on it.

"Pep always talks about how well they work, even in the press conference he admitted he was a bit worried about this game."


Case for the defence

Richard Dunne:

"We’ve eliminated those errors that we had in previous seasons, and that’s mainly due to Dias.

"He steps on the pitch and the first thing on his mind is keeping a clean sheet."


'Always in the game'

 Paul Dickov:

"One thing about Sheffield United is that they’re always in the game. They’re losing by just a goal.

"They’ll be super confident coming into this game."


'A big chance for Laporte'

Richard Dunne:

"Pep's changed the team around a bit - Laporte hasn’t started for a while in the league so it’s a big chance for him.

"Jesus is probably crying out for a goal now, it will be nice for him to get off the mark today and get a run going."


Resurgent Blades?

 🔹 Sheffield United have won two of their past three Premier League games, having won none of their previous 20.

 🔹 The Blades have scored four goals in those three matches, as many as they had in their previous nine.

 🔹 They have won four of their five most recent fixtures in all competitions.



Join special guests Paul Dickov and Richard Dunne along with presenter Natalie Pike now for our latest edition of We're Not Really Here!


Here's how we line up today... ⚽️

The boss makes five changes from the side that stormed to a superb 5-0 win at West Brom in midweek.

Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho, Ferran Torres and Gabriel Jesus all come into the side.

John Stones, Joao Cancelo, Rodrigo, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez revert to the bench.

STARTING XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Foden, Torres, Jesus.

SUBS: Steffen, Stones, Sterling, Rodrigo, Mendy, Mahrez, Cancelo, Garcia, Bernabe


Stat attack (part two)...📈

 🔹 City are vying to win 12 consecutive games in all competitions for the first time.

 🔹 We are unbeaten in 18 matches in all competitions, conceding just four goals along the way.

 🔹 City have won seven top-flight games in a row for the first time since August 2019.


Pep's pre-match thoughts...👇

The boss was full of praise for Sheffield United in his pre-match press conference yesterday...

Pep Guardiola:

"Only I can say that what I saw of Sheffield before the Manchester United win is a team that’s alive, with the body language. It is not easy with the season they have had.

"That speaks incredibly well about Chris and his staff and his players.

"The result at United speaks for itself. Everyone knows how hard it is to win at Old Trafford.

"What they do and the reason they are together and still alive is because they have been together a long time and they believe in each other a lot."


Stat attack...📈

 🔹 City are unbeaten in the past 11 home meetings in all competitions since a 3-2 league defeat at Maine Road in October 1987, in which Chris Wilder played the full 90 minutes for Sheffield United.

 🔹 The Blades have not won any of the nine Premier League meetings, drawing three, losing six and scoring just one goal.

 🔹 City have kept a clean sheet in each of the past eight home league encounters.


Elsewhere today...

It's a busy day in the Premier League with six games in total.

It's half-time in the day's early kick-off and goalless between Everton and Newcastle United.


Second half...💙

City begin the second half of our Premier League campaign this  afternoon and, it's fair to say, that we are in fine fettle.

A staggering run of seven straight league wins - and 11 in all competitions - has fired Pep Guardiola's side to the top of the table, with City a point clear of Manchester United and enjoying a game in hand.

The perfect incentive as we begin the second part of our league campaign by welcoming Chris Wilder's Blades to the Etihad.


Early team news 📋


 🔹 City will again be without forward Sergio Aguero, who is still self-isolating after a recent positive Covid-19 test.

 🔹 Kevin De Bruyne and Nathan Ake are also injury absentees and unavailable for selection this afternoon.

 🔹 However, Pep Guardiola confirmed at Friday's pre-match press conference that Ilkay Gundogan would definitely start.


It's your shout! 📱

As ever, we want to hear your thoughts ahead of today's game.

How are you feeling ahead of this one? What would your ideal line-up be? Score predictions?

Let us know using #WNRH on Twitter and your tweets could feature here in the Matchday Centre and on the We're Not Really Here show.



Paul Dickov and Richard Dunne are the special guests on today's latest edition of our We're Not Really Here matchday show and they'll join presenter Natalie Pike in the studio at the Etihad Stadium to provide their expert analysis.

The show gets under way at 14.00pm (UK), one hour before we kick-off against the Blades. It returns at half-time for a brief summary of the opening 45-minutes and again after the full-time whistle for half an hour of post-match analysis.

Paul and Richard always offer a passionate and insightful take on everything City-related so it promises to be another compelling show.

You can watch it all here in our Matchday Centre and the video will automatically appear at the top of the page.


Matchday greetings! ⚽

Hello, and a very good afternoon to you all!

What has been a packed - and magnificent - January schedule for City wraps up today as we play host to Sheffield United in another crucial Premier League encounter.

It's an 15.00pm (UK) kick-off at the Etihad and you can follow all the action right here in our Matchday Centre

I’ll be bringing you live updates throughout the pre-match build-up, as well as all the big game action and post-match reaction as we bid to maintain our perfect start to 2021, so do stay tuned!

City v Sheffield United


And welcome to the Matchday Centre for Manchester City’s Premier League game against Sheffield United.

We host the Blades at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday 30 January, when we’ll be aiming to record our 12th straight win in all competitions and preserve our lead at the top of the table.

Kick-off is at 15:00 (UK) and our live coverage will begin here at 13:00, guiding you through the pre-match build-up, in game action and post-match reaction.

Before then, you can scroll below to find out all the important information you need to know before we get under way.

We're Not Really Here 📺

Paul Dickov and Richard Dunne are the guests on our live matchday show for this game and they’ll be joined by Natalie Pike in the studio at the Etihad Stadium.

The pre-game show begins at 14:00 and is available to watch right here in our Matchday Centre.

Dickov and Dunne will also provide a brief half-time summary and after the game there will be 30-minutes of post-match reaction.

It’s a must watch for anyone who likes their matchday TV coverage to be unashamedly focused on City and you can get involved and share your thoughts by using the hashtag #WNRH on Twitter.

Injury news 🤕

Kevin De Bruyne is unavailable as he continues his recovery from the injury picked up against Aston Villa last week, which could keep him out for up to six weeks.

Nathan Ake is also injured, whilst Sergio Aguero misses the game as he continues to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19.

Pep Guardiola: Blades still alive

"All I can say is that what I saw before the United game is a live team. It is a team that is alive from their body language. That is not easy with the results they got and that speaks incredibly well about Chris, his staff and the players. The United result speaks for itself. Everybody knows how difficult it is to win at Old Trafford. 

"I think the reason why they are still a team and alive is because they are together for a long time and believe each other a lot - it is an opportunity to try to play good again and win the game."

Form guide 📈

City are in fine form heading into this game, having won 11 games in a row as part of an 18-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

We have took three points in each of our last three Premier League meetings with Sheffield United.

The Blades are currently bottom of the table, with only two wins to their name this season, but come into the game on the back of a morale boosting victory of Manchester United in midweek.

Other games that day

  • Southampton0
    Aston Villa1
  • Crystal Palace1
    Wolverhampton Wanderers0
  • West Bromwich Albion2
  • Arsenal0
    Manchester United0
  • Everton0
    Newcastle United2

As it stood

P GD Pts
2 Manchester United 21 +10 41
3 Leicester City 20 +14 39
4 Liverpool 20 +17 37
5 West Ham United 20 +6 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 19 +14 33
7 Everton 19 +5 33
8 Aston Villa 19 +13 32
9 Arsenal 21 +6 31
10 Chelsea 20 +10 30
11 Southampton 20 +2 29
12 Leeds United 19 -3 26
13 Crystal Palace 21 -11 26
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 -9 23
15 Burnley 19 -11 22
16 Newcastle United 21 -13 22
17 Brighton and Hove Albion 20 -7 18
18 Fulham 20 -12 14
19 West Bromwich Albion 21 -33 12
20 Sheffield United 21 -22 8
Link To Full Table