Premier League
Sheff Utd0Man City1

Sheffield United 0-1 Manchester City: Sergio Aguero comes off bench to score winner

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero taps past Sheffield United's Dean Henderson
Sergio Aguero has now scored six goals in his last three Premier League games

Sergio Aguero scored his sixth goal in his last three games as Manchester City edged a gutsy Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

The Blades had looked on course to claim a hugely credible draw against the reigning Premier League champions, with Dean Henderson saving a Gabriel Jesus penalty in the first half as well as making a string of excellent saves.

But Aguero came off the bench to score the decisive goal, tapping in a cross from Kevin de Bruyne towards the end of the second half.

That strike came just moments after Sheffield United came close to taking the lead themselves - Oli McBurnie stretching to meet a cross but just failing to turn the ball into an empty net.

Victory for Manchester City means they strengthen their place in second. They have 51 points - 13 behind leaders Liverpool but six ahead of Leicester, who play West Ham on Wednesday.

Sheffield United, meanwhile, remain seventh on 33 points.

Aguero helps City come through tough test

It is hard to imagine that a manager who has won trophies wherever he has worked is claiming he can still learn from others, but that's exactly what Pep Guardiola said prior to this game.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss spoke highly of Sheffield United under Chris Wilder, saying they are a team he can learn from.

For large periods of this game the Blades certainly gave Guardiola plenty to think about, with their disciplined and organised defence frustrating City for well over an hour.

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Guardiola happy to have Laporte back

In the end, Guardiola had to turn to the ever-reliable Aguero to get the job done.

At 31, the Argentina international is in the twilight years of his football career but is arguably enjoying some of his best form.

It took him just six minutes to get on the scoresheet after coming on for Jesus, who had struggled to get the better of the Blades' defence.

Aguero has now scored 21 goals in just 23 appearances in all competitions this season, including eight in his last five appearances.

The league title may be increasingly out of reach for City but Aguero's form could be vital for their aspirations in other competitions.

Just as crucial, though, could be the return of Aymeric Laporte. Injuries have meant Guardiola has often had to field a makeshift defence this season but Laporte made a surprise return at Bramall Lane after five months out with injury.

The result was a first clean sheet since City hosted Sheffield United at the Etihad at the end of December and Guardiola was delighted with the French player's return.

"We miss him the lot," he said. "Imagine if the best teams in the world lose their best central defenders.

"We knew he could not play 90 minutes. He is an incredible guy. He was exceptional. It is good news for us."

Aymeric Laporte of Manchester City
Laporte played for 78 minutes on his return from a 143-day lay-off

Blades beaten but impress once again

It is difficult to find different superlatives to describe Sheffield United in the Premier League this season.

Match after match they produce impressive performances, frustrating supposed bigger sides and, rather than being sussed out in the second half of the season, they are seemingly finding new ways to keep their opponents on the toes.

That was the case once again on Tuesday night. At the start of the season, Sheffield United fans could have been forgiven for spotting this game on the fixture list and fearing a cricket score, but instead their side showed no fear and went toe to toe with their opponents from the outset.

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Blades picture is 'rosy' despite defeat - Wilder

They were strong in the tackle and organised in defence. On the few occasions Manchester City did get through they found Henderson in inspired form.

The goalkeeper made a superb stop to deny Raheem Sterling from close range in the first half before then guessing the right way to keep out Jesus' spot kick.

That save prompted chants of "England's number one" from the home fans and this performance will have only increased his chances of being included in Gareth Southgate's squad for Euro 2020 this summer.

Man of the match - Dean Henderson (Sheffield United)

Sheffield United's Dean Henderson saves a penalty from Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus
Dean Henderson has saved four of his last eight penalties faced in English league football

'An incredibly good victory' - what the managers said

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, speaking to Match of the Day: "We knew it would be a difficult place to come. We concede one or two clear chances, nothing more than that.

"In the first half, the keeper was excellent with the penalty and two incredible saves, it was an incredibly good victory for us to take a step towards securing Champions League football next season.

"In the first half we were a little bit shy to play, but in the second half we were a little bit more like we are. But we controlled it really well, the chance to score goals.

"What Sheffield United do, they do it perfectly. They've been together for five years so their spirit is so good. They are so good at the second balls and arrive with a lot of people in the final third."

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder, speaking to Match of the Day: "Kevin de Bruyne has found an amazing pass and the movement of Sergio Aguero, he's done that to everyone in Europe and the world, it's a great finish.

"I've got nothing but an enormous amount of pride for my team, we went toe-to-toe with them.

"When opportunities arise you have to show a little bit of quality and we didn't do that sadly. Games like this are what we're here for, we've worked really hard to get here, we want no regrets and I don't think there were any tonight.

"When teams come here, we want to make sure they go through the mixer to get a result and I do believe Pep, his staff, the players and the fans will believe it's been a difficult night for them."

De Bruyne, the assist king - the stats

  • Manchester City have scored more away league goals than any other team in Europe's big five divisions this season (34).
  • Only at Selhurst Park (22) have there been fewer Premier League goals scored at a single stadium this season than at Bramall Lane (24), with the Blades netting just 13 and conceding 11.
  • Manchester City have won three consecutive away league games against Sheffield United for the first time since a run of four between 1905 and 1908.
  • Sheffield United have won just one of their last 16 league games against reigning top-flight champions (D3 L12), losing their last six in a row without scoring.
  • Kevin De Bruyne is the first player in Premier League history to provide 15+ assists in three different campaigns (15 in 2019-20, 16 in 2017-18 and 18 in 2016-17).
  • Sergio Aguero has been directly involved in 43 goals in 43 Premier League appearances against newly-promoted teams (35 goals, 8 assists).
  • Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus has failed to score three of his five Premier League penalties (60%) - of all players to have taken at least five in the competition, no-one has a worse success rate than the Brazilian (level with Stewart Downing and El Hadji Diouf).

What next?

Sheffield United travel to Championship side Millwall on Saturday, 25 January (15:00 GMT), while Manchester City host Fulham on Sunday, 26 January (13:00 GMT).

Line-ups

Sheff Utd

  • 1Henderson
  • 6BashamSubstituted forRobinsonat 78'minutes
  • 12Egan
  • 5O'Connell
  • 2Baldock
  • 27BesicBooked at 13minsSubstituted forLundstramat 78'minutes
  • 16NorwoodBooked at 24mins
  • 4FleckBooked at 43mins
  • 3Stevens
  • 10SharpSubstituted forMoussetat 59'minutes
  • 9McBurnieBooked at 84mins

Substitutes

  • 7Lundstram
  • 11Robinson
  • 15Jagielka
  • 18Freeman
  • 21Verrips
  • 22Mousset
  • 23Osborn

Man City

  • 31Ederson
  • 25FernandinhoBooked at 45mins
  • 30Otamendi
  • 14LaporteSubstituted forGarcíaat 78'minutes
  • 2Walker
  • 17De Bruyne
  • 16RodriBooked at 53mins
  • 11Zinchenko
  • 26Mahrez
  • 7SterlingSubstituted forBernardo Silvaat 90+2'minutes
  • 9Gabriel JesusSubstituted forAgüeroat 67'minutesBooked at 83mins

Substitutes

  • 1Bravo
  • 8Gündogan
  • 10Agüero
  • 20Bernardo Silva
  • 27Cancelo
  • 47Foden
  • 50García
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
31,285

Match Stats

Home TeamSheff UtdAway TeamMan City
Possession
Home33%
Away67%
Shots
Home4
Away18
Shots on Target
Home1
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away13
Fouls
Home13
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Sheffield United 0, Manchester City 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Sheffield United 0, Manchester City 1.

Hand ball by Enda Stevens (Sheffield United).

Foul by Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City).

John Lundstram (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Rodrigo (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Sergio Agüero.

Foul by Sergio Agüero (Manchester City).

Jack O'Connell (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Bernardo Silva replaces Raheem Sterling.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Jack O'Connell.

Attempt blocked. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne.

Attempt blocked. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by George Baldock.

Offside, Sheffield United. George Baldock tries a through ball, but John Lundstram is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Nicolás Otamendi following a corner.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Oliver McBurnie.

Booking

Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card.

Rodrigo (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Callum Robinson (Sheffield United).

Booking

Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jack O'Connell (Sheffield United).

Attempt blocked. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sergio Agüero.

Offside, Manchester City. Ederson tries a through ball, but Riyad Mahrez is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Sheffield United. John Lundstram replaces Muhamed Besic.

Substitution

Substitution, Sheffield United. Callum Robinson replaces Chris Basham.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Eric García replaces Aymeric Laporte.

Attempt missed. Rodrigo (Manchester City) header from the right side of the six yard box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Jack O'Connell.

Kyle Walker (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Enda Stevens (Sheffield United).

Goal!

Goal! Sheffield United 0, Manchester City 1. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne with a cross.

Attempt missed. Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United) right footed shot from very close range misses to the right. Assisted by Enda Stevens with a cross.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by George Baldock.

Offside, Sheffield United. Dean Henderson tries a through ball, but Lys Mousset is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Sergio Agüero replaces Gabriel Jesus.

Foul by Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City).

John Egan (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Fernandinho.

Attempt saved. Lys Mousset (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool22211052143864
2Man City24163565273851
3Leicester23143648232545
4Chelsea2412484132940
5Man Utd239773627934
6Wolves2381053430434
7Sheff Utd248972523233
8Tottenham238783631531
9Southampton2494113142-1131
10Arsenal2461263234-230
11Crystal Palace247982228-630
12Everton2486102835-730
13Newcastle2486102436-1230
14Burnley2383122638-1227
15Brighton2467112734-725
16Aston Villa2474133145-1425
17West Ham2265112634-823
18Bournemouth2465132337-1423
19Watford2458112136-1523
20Norwich2345142345-2217
View full Premier League table

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