Manchester City travel to Bramall Lane on Sunday afternoon to take on newly- promoted Sheffield United.
After a disappointing start to the new season, Sheffield United’s woes only grow deeper, as they face the almighty challenge of knocking the reigning Champions off of their own porch.
Manchester City’s opening start completely contrasts that of the Blades, with the Blues earning consecutive victories, while Sheffield United suffered defeats to Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest.
The impressive start to the season is amplified by the gruelling schedule the champions have faced thus far, with last weekend’s victory over Newcastle coming just 72 hours after their penalty-shootout win against Sevilla in Athens to claim the UEFA Super Cup crown.
However, despite the momentum they carry, Manchester City will be without manager Pep Guardiola this weekend, following routine surgery on a back problem in Barcelona.
The Catalan coach will be unavailable until after September’s international break, with the returning Juanma Lillo stepping up to the mark in the absence of the 52-year-old.
Despite the blow of losing Guardiola, Lillo has uttered promising news in his pre-match press conference, confirming the availability of both Bernardo Silva – who has been sidelined with illness – and new signing Jeremy Doku, after the 21-year-old’s arrival on Wednesday.
Whether the team selection is down to Pep Guardiola or Juanma Lillo, here is the side we predict will take to the field against Sheffield United on Sunday!
Ederson will keep his place in goal, looking to expand on his consecutive clean sheets this season.
We predict Rico Lewis to start in defence, before invariably drifting into midfield, filling the void left by John Stones’ ongoing injury and Manuel Akanji’s reported absence from the travelling squad.
Ruben Dias has had a customary brilliant start to the season, and we expect the Portuguese international to partner the ever-reliable Nathan Ake at the centre of defence.
Josko Gvardiol has seamlessly fitted into the side following his arrival from RB Leipzig this summer. We expect the Croatian to make his third consecutive start for the club on Sunday.
Rodrigo should also make another start at Bramall Lane.
Mateo Kovacic has also hit the ground running since moving to the Etihad Stadium, with an impeccable outing against Newcastle last weekend. We expect the Croatian to partner Phil Foden in the centre of midfield, with the Englishman having shone last weekend – earning the Man of the Match award.
Despite confirming his availability, we don’t think Jeremy Doku will start against Sheffield United, although we do expect him to feature at some point. We predict Bernardo Silva to start his second game of the season, returning to the side.
Chances were few and far between for Erling Haaland last weekend as reflected in the narrow margin of victory. We expect the Norwegian to start again as he looks to expand on his opening day brace against Burnley.
It’s not been the easiest start to the season for Jack Grealish, but we predict the 27-year-old to retain his place, completing the side for Sunday’s game against Sheffield United!
Predicted XI: Ederson; Lewis, Dias, Ake, Gvardiol; Rodrigo, Kovacic, Foden; Bernardo, Haaland, Grealish.
Substitutes: Ortega, Carson, Walker, Gomez, Phillips, McAtee, Palmer, Doku, Alvarez.
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