Returning to the Premier League for the first time this season since 2006, Sheffield United are quietly putting together what could turn out to be a dream season. It could see the Blades crack into a UEFA Champions League qualifying position in their first meeting of the season with defending, back-to-back champions Manchester City on Sunday. The game comes with City staggering off a shock defeat to Wolves just two days earlier, thanks to an overstuffed, holiday season schedule.
In fact, Sheffield United may find themselves with a golden opportunity to pull off the upset over Pep Guardiola’s third-place side. According to the soccer data site WhoScored.com, the Blades have a nearly clean bill of health coming into Sunday’s match, and with an extra day since their last outing — a 1-1 draw to Watford at home. Only second-string goalie Simon Moore is affected by an injury for United.
City, on the other hand, will be missing world-class keeper Ederson, who was suspended after collecting a red card in the Friday defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers. In addition, striker Sergio Aguero will be playing just his third game back from a thigh injury and has yet to put in a full 90-minute outing since returning.
The Football Report previews the match in the video below.
With City winners in 25 of their last 29 Premier League matches at the Etihad, and sitting nine points ahead of Sheffield United on the table, it is perhaps less than shocking that the champions are heavily favored against the newly promoted side. Odds on Manchester City to win the match are set at 1/6, according to Goal.com.
But bettors who have a strong feeling that the visitors can repeat what Wolves were able to achieve on Friday could score a hefty profit. Odds on Sheffield United to come away with all three points are set at 15/1. The odds of a deadlocked score after the full 90 minutes are 13/2.
If United have an advantage, it may be that they remain unbeaten in away matches since their top flight return. However, with the trip to the Etihad Sunday followed by a January 2 visit to Anfield to face league-leading Liverpool — who have yet to lose a match in the 2019-2020 season and have drawn only one — that streak appears to be in serious danger.
While the two teams have not met in league play since 2006, they did square off in an FA Cup match in 2008, with the Blades emerging victorious in that one, according to The Guardian.
The Manchester City vs. Sheffield United match kicks off at 6 p.m. in Manchester, or 1 p.m. EST in the United States, where the game will be televised by NBC Sports Network.