Pep Guardiola may not have been lurking along the sidelines as usual, but his impact on Manchester City was clear as they battled to a victory against Sheffield United.
As he recovers from minor back surgery, manager Guardiola was forced to watch Sunday’s match in Barcelona, while assistant coach Juanma Lillo led the team at Bramall Lane. However, City continued to show the type of tenacity that has helped them win 15 trophies in seven years under the Spaniard’s direction, including the Treble last season.
When Jayden Bogle balanced the score in the 85th minute, City was knocked back, but three minutes later, Rodri’s rocket gave them the lead again. As the only team to have won each of its first three games, it was sufficient to return City to the top of the Premier League.
The victory marked Guardiola’s 200th Premier League victory as City manager in just his 269th game, making him the fastest manager in the English top division to reach that milestone.
City struggled against a resolute Sheffield United defence for extended periods, despite having 30% of the shots on goal and 80% of the possession
City was unable to score a key second to end the match, following Erling Haaland’s missed first-half penalty, although he managed to score the game’s opening goal with a header in the 63rd minute
However, as a result of Bramall Lane’s bounce, City raised the stakes and created an excellent opportunity for Julian Alvarez right away, before Rodri scored when Kyle Walker’s pass was deflected into his path.