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Preview: Manchester City vs Sheffield United – prediction, team news, line-ups

Manchester City vs Sheffield United Preview

Manchester City will continue their treble bid when they take on Championship side Sheffield United at Wembley Stadium in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final showdown.

Pep Guardiola’s Cityzens were held to a 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, while Sheffield enter the tie on the back of a 1-0 success over Bristol City.

The 2019 FA Cup winners saw their ten-match winning streak across all competitions come to an abrupt end on the continental stage when a vengeful Bayern rallied to a thrilling draw in Bavaria.

However, the result was inconsequential to Man City’s Champions League ambitions, having beaten the German champions 3-0 in first leg encounter in Manchester.

Guardiola’s side now take on the Blades, but they will be naive to let complacency kick in at the prospect of facing a lower-league team.

The Yorkshire club are chasing a Premier League return for the first time since the 2020/21 campaign when they were relegated from the English top flight.

They currently sit second in the Championship standings, ten points behind champions-elect Burnley and seven above the play-off places, having played one more game.

United have also won six of their last seven games, including each of their previous two, so there is no shortage of confidence despite facing the daunting task of taking on the top-flight champions.

An unlikely FA Cup success would be the icing on the cake on an impending promotion, and they will have a right go at the Premier League giants, who should have a fight on their hands.

Match Preview

Before preparing for a potential title decider against rivals Arsenal in the Premier League next Wednesday, Man City will fancy their chances of ending their FA Cup voodoo against lower league opposition.

Guardiola schooled his former protege Vincent Kompany and his Burnley team in the last round, with Man City running out 6-0 winners at the Etihad Stadium last month to reach the semi-finals for the fifth consecutive campaign.

They have lost four of their last five ties in that run, including the previous three in a row, and Guardiola will be keen to prevent lightning from striking four times in a row.

The Spanish manager has endured his fair share of FA Cup heartbreak, but not since the 2017/18 campaign when City fell to Wigan Athletic in the fifth round has a lower league team beat them in the tournament.

Since losing to Wigan in 2018, Man City have won their last 21 domestic cup ties against teams from a lower division, scoring 78 goals and conceding just 11 in that run, so another routine outing could be on the cards.

The Blades are plotting City’s downfall, but they have it all to do if they are to be named ‘giant slayers’ at full-time.

They have won all four of their FA Cup ties against Man City, but none after the 2007/08 campaign, and Guardiola’s side could prove too strong for the Championship side to overcome.

Much like their weekend opposition, United are looking to reach the FA Cup final for the first time since 1936 and have lost five semi-finals in that time.

The Blades stunned Tottenham Hotspur in the fifth round, ending a run of five consecutive defeats against top-flight sides in the competition. 

They will be looking to eliminate multiple top-tier opponents in a single campaign for the first time since 2013/14, but their Wembley form could prove their own undoing.

United are winless in their last six competitive matches at Wembley Stadium (D1, L5) – the last game they won at the ground was their first ever in the 1925 FA Cup final.

Manchester City vs Sheffield United Potential Line-ups

Manchester City (3-2-4-1): Stefan Ortega; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte; Kalvin Phillips, Rodri; Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan, Julian Alvarez, Jack Grealish; Erling Braut Haaland.

Sheffield United (3-5-2): Adam Davies; Anel Ahmedhodzic, John Egan, Jack Robinson; George Baldock, Sander Berge, Oliver Norwood, John Fleck, Max Lowe; Oliver McBurnie, Iliman Ndiaye.

We Say: Manchester City 3-0 Sheffield United

The Blades are outsiders for this clash, so they have nothing to lose. But that should spur them to throw everything at it in the hopes of thwarting the English giants.

Man City have won all four of their FA Cup games this season – including two against Championship clubs – by an aggregate score of 14-0.

While they have not had much luck at Wembley (W1, L4), the Cityzens should have no problems cruising to victory over the second-tier side.

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