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Beware The Premier League Champs On Form

Sheffield United vs Manchester City

They are the Premier League champions.

Over the past decade, they have produced tonnes more Premier League highlights than any other side.

And last time on their travels, they hit a newly promoted team (albeit an injury-hit one) for six on their own turf.

So should another team which has been promoted from the Championship last summer be wary?

 

Talking Points

Well, the answer is, yes of course.

Not only have they an array of world-class talent expensively assembled in their line-up, they also have the best player to have graced English football’s top flight in the last decade.

Indeed, in Sergio Aguero, who notched a hat-trick in that match to become the highest overseas goalscorer in Premier League history, they have a genuine world-class star.

The Argentine moved past Thierry Henry and joined Frank Lampard on 177 goals scored in England’s top flight and you would not bet against him overtaking that (if he hasn’t already by the time you’re reading this).

Only three men – Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Andy Cole – who played virtually all of their careers in England, remain in front of Aguero on the all-time Premier League goalscoring list.

His treble against Villa was Aguero’s 12th hat-trick, which is a Premier League record.

They travel to Bramall Lane to face one of the teams of the season.

Chris Wilder has worked wonders with Sheffield United and confounded predictions, proven by the fact his side were sixth in the table going into this weekend.

With a highly limited budget, he is outwitting some of the best teams in the country, including City’s Manchester rivals United in a six-goal thriller in Yorkshire in November.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder confident to challenge the Premier League champions on Wednesday
Sheffield United’s manager Chris Wilder waits for the start of the English Premier League soccer match vs Arsenal

It has been an eventful journey for Wilder to reach this point, featuring five promotions at four different clubs, since taking his first job at Alfreton Town in 2001.

Yet here he is, at English football’s top table, having recently extended his Sheffield United contract to 2024.

Of course, the difference in resources is not so much huge but a gulf.

The home team’s record signing, Oli McBurnie, recruited last summer, is a striker signed for just under £20 million.

Since being taken over in 2008, City have shelled out an enormous amount of money, spending a whopping £1.5 billion and have a net spend of -£1.2 billion.

That will surely show on the pitch in midweek. Football can be a funny game mind!

 

History

If you cast aside their meeting last month, when City ran out 2-0 home winners courtesy of goals from Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne, this will be their first meeting in Yorkshire for over a decade.

Sheffield United did cause an upset in the FA Cup in 2008 when, managed by Bryan Robson, they inflicted a surprise 2-1 defeat.

Their most recent Premier League meetings came in 2006/07 when the sides drew 0-0 at the Etihad Stadium before City won in Sheffield two months later, courtesy of a solitary Stephen Ireland goal.

Although Sheffield United beat City in the second tier in January 2000, the last time they beat them in the top flight was in 1992, the season before the Premier League was formed.

On that occasion, they secured a 4-2 home win when Mike Lake, Brian Gayle, home favourite Brian Deane and Dane Whitehouse scored the goals.

Keith Curle and Andy Hill were City’s marksmen.

Overall, Sheffield United have 38 victories to City’s 50 with a further 34 clashes ending level.

 

 

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