Sheffield United failed to trouble a controlled Manchester City to fall to a 1-0 defeat at Bramall Lane.
United went into the game looking to get their first win of the season, after winning only one point in six games. In contrast, City were looking for a victory to kickstart their underwhelming start to the season.
Chris Wilder made just one change from the narrow defeat to Liverpool last weekend, Max Lowe replacing John Lundstram. Pep Guardiola made three changes from the 1-1 draw with West Ham, Aymeric Laporte, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernan Torres replacing Eric Garcia, Ilkay Gundogan and the injured Sergio Aguero.
There was a minute’s silence before kick-off to commemorate Remembrance and for Nobby Stiles, the England World Cup winner who died on Friday.
City created the first chance of the game in the 8th minute. Torres glanced a good header towards goal from a Joao Cancelo cross. Ramsdale did well to palm it away.
The general pattern of the game was to be expected. The Blades got men behind the ball looking to make it difficult for City who dominated possession.
City continued to build up the pressure throughout the first half, two good interceptions by John Egan prevented City from getting into dangerous goal scoring positions. Meanwhile, Ramsdale was called into action, unconvincingly pushing a long-range Rodri effort over the bar.
City were looking particularly dangerous down their left-hand side, with Raheem Sterling at the centre of most of their positive play. In the 23rd minute, he played a dangerous ball across the United six yard box which Torres poked straight at Ramsdale.
Sterling was crucial in setting up the game’s only goal. His sublime bit of skill past George Baldock and Chris Basham got City into a dangerous position. They worked the ball back to De Bruyne who played it across for local boy Kyle Walker to fizz home from around 25 yards in the 28th minute. The conditions certainly played into Walker’s hand’s as the ball skidded in along the wet surface, taking it beyond Ramsdale’s despairing dive into his bottom right-hand corner.
There was a drop in intensity from Manchester City after the goal and United gradually grew into the game. Their first chance came courtesy of a Basham header from a corner, which was deflected over the bar by Walker.
City were much more subdued in the second half and United were able to enjoy more possession. Basham, Baldock and Sander Berge were seeing a lot of the ball down the right hand side. However, a lack of real quality in the final third meant they rarely troubled City’s backline.
City were also struggling to create any good quality chances with Sterling quiet and De Bruyne uncharacteristically poor in his decision making. Riyad Mahrez had one of their best attempts of the second half, forcing a good save from Ramsdale from a free-kick.
United’s best chance came in the 70th minute as a result of their most positive play of the game. A strong run down the right-wing from Berge gave him the opportunity to play a cutback to the Lundstram. The substitute fired over from about 15 yards when he should have done better.
There were not many more chances in the game, the best falling to Bernando Silva in the 84th minute after a nice one-two with Mahrez. However, the Portuguese star’s shot was straight at Ramsdale.
City never looked particularly troubled by United and merited the three points. Wilder may rue Lundstram’s missed chance and lack of attacking quality that leaves United locked in the bottom three.
Sheffield United: Ramsdale; Basham, Egan, Stevens; Baldock, Berge, Ampadu (Norwood 65’), Osborn (Lundstram 55’), Lowe (McGoldrick 81’); Brewster, McBurnie
Unused Subs: Verrips, Sharp, Burke, Robinson
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez (Gundogan 85’), Torres (Foden 81’), Sterling
Unused Subs: Carson, Stones, Ake, Zinchenko, Garcia
Sheffield United: None.
Manchester City: Walker 28.
Result: Sheffield United 0-1 Manchester City