EPL

Manchester City 1-0 Sheffield United: Gabriel Jesus goal makes it 12 wins on the bounce

By Sports Desk January 30, 2021

Manchester City extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to four points as they beat Sheffield United 1-0 to make it a club-record 12 wins in a row in all competitions.

Pep Guardiola's side continued a renaissance that has restored them to the summit of the English top flight and marked them out as clear favourites to clinch the title.

Gabriel Jesus' ninth-minute strike decided the game but, while City failed to add to their advantage as a result of a blunt performance in the final third, they never looked like conceding an equaliser.

Sheffield United arrived at the Etihad Stadium with a renewed sense of hope following their shock midweek victory away to Manchester United.

But City quickly set about extinguishing any optimism, Ferran Torres capitalising on a defensive mix-up before showing great feet to beat his man on the byline and teeing up Jesus for a tap-in.

Although the nature of the opener will have disappointed Blades boss Chris Wilder, he will have been pleased with his players' response to such an early setback.

They restricted the hosts to just one more shot on target before the break thanks to more of the sort of solidity that had earned them three points across Manchester on Wednesday evening.

Unsurprisingly, City looked to up the tempo following the restart, and went close through a Ruben Dias header from Ilkay Gundogan's cross within two minutes.

But they continued to struggle to carve out clear opportunities, their next big chance again coming from a corner as Aymeric Laporte's header forced Aaron Ramsdale into a save.

Sheffield United enjoyed their best spell of the match in the final five minutes, with a John Fleck long-distance effort whistling just past the post in that period.

However, they had left it too late to put sustained pressure on the hosts, who saw out the remaining minutes to claim yet another victory in a remarkable run of form.

What does it mean? City juggernaut rolls on

City's previous title successes under Guardiola have been built on a simply unstoppable attack occasionally covering for a less-than-convincing defence, but that certainly isn't the case with this team.

The Blues have conceded the fewest goals (13) and kept the most clean sheets (12) of any side in the Premier League this season, and that is driving a renewed charge to regain the title.

Laporte proves worth

Ruben Dias' role in City's recent defensive improvement means only the spot next to him is up for grabs when it comes to Guardiola picking a team.

Laporte strengthened his case to start more regularly, winning a team-high eight aerial duels out of the nine he contested against physical opposition.

The defender also took more touches than any player on the pitch (137) and completed the most passes (119).

Brewster struggles continue

Brought into a team that pulled off a huge shock at Old Trafford, Rhian Brewster failed to stake a claim to more regular starts.

The Englishman managed just one speculative shot from distance and fewer touches than any other starter (20).

What's next?

Manchester City will look to extend their winning run against Burnley at Turf Moor on Wednesday, while Sheffield United must try to get back to winning ways at home to West Brom 24 hours earlier.

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