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Foden slices through Blades as City end year on high

Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez

Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez

Manchester City climbed to third in the Premier League (PL) table, closing the gap on Liverpool to just two points after a Phil Foden-inspired victory over Sheffield United, extending their imperious H2H record to 12 games without defeat (W9, D3).

Heading into this match, City had conceded first in four of their last five PL encounters (W2, D2, L1) – a concerning habit Pep Guardiola was no doubt keen to see the back of. In typical fashion, the hosts dominated possession, and after some patient probing, they made the breakthrough when Foden laid off Rodri, who drove at the Blades’ backline and picked his spot with a low strike.

Foden was involved again shortly after when he slipped in Bernardo Silva, whose shot from a tight angle was turned behind before Kyle Walker curled an effort from distance wide of the mark against his boyhood club. A pair of late first-half chances was the best the visitors could muster, with William Osula forcing Ederson into his first stop.

Having failed to find the net in the first half, Chris Wilder’s side remain the only PL team yet to score in both halves of a league match this season. Nonetheless, a one-goal deficit meant that they remained in the contest as City continued where they left off after the break. In the thick of the action, Foden was posing plenty of problems for the Blades, and after a neat pass from Oscar Bobb set him free in the box, the England international picked out a sliding Julián Álvarez at the back post, marking his 50th PL appearance with a goal.

City maintained control of the match to see out a comfortable victory against Sheffield United, who are yet to keep a PL clean sheet on their travels this campaign as they continue to prop up the table, seven points adrift of 17th-placed Everton. Meanwhile, a win here means that City haven’t lost a home H2H since 1987 (W9, D5), last conceding a goal in 1991, as they move above Arsenal in an increasingly intriguing title race.

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