Man City vs Sheffield United FA Cup Preview, Pick, Prediction

Man City vs Sheffield United FA Cup Preview, Pick, Prediction article feature image
Credit:

James Gill/Getty. Pictured: Ruben Dias.

Man City vs Sheffield United Odds

Sat, Apr. 22
11:45 a.m. ET
ESPN+

Man City Odds

-770

Sheffield United Odds

+1600
Draw+800
Over/Under3.5 (-134 / +102)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(-106 / -124)
Odds via bet365. Get the latest soccer odds here.

Man City looks to book their spot in the FA Cup final when they host Championship side Sheffield United on Saturday.

City are in incredible form at the moment, narrowing the gap at the top of the Premier League table to just four points while also taking out Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League semifinals. City are now the favorite in all three of their remaining competitions.

Sheffield United are on the cusp of being promoted to the Premier League, as the gap between them and third place Luton Town is seven points and they have a game in hand with four matches left in the season. The Blades are only three years removed from finishing in the top half of the Premier League table and still have virtually the same defense from their time in the Premier League.

Man City Adjusting Tactics Impactfully

Pep Guardiola is the best manager in the world and it's because of his ability to constantly tinker with his tactics to find the right balance and always reinvent himself to try something new.

For the last 6-of-7 matches, Guardiola has put Kyle Walker and Rico Lewis on the bench and is now playing four centerbacks on the pitch. Against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday, he went with a 3-2-4-1 formation, playing Bobby Akanji, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake in the back.

City were conceding way too many chances in transition, so Pep's resolution to combat that issue was to play more defenders. Granted all of his defenders are outstanding ball carriers and passers, so there isn't too much of a drop off and Manchester City can continue to play out of the back and control possession.

Guardiola used to be obsessed with playing through the middle of the pitch and maintaining numerical superiority there. Lately though, since Akanji and Ake can play more centrally, it allows Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bryune and Bernardo Silva to play more in wide areas, which creates one on one opportunities out wide to send in crosses to Erling Haaland.

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Sheffield United Are an Underrated Side

I know Manchester City just beat Burnley 6-0 in the FA Cup quarterfinals, but that Burnley team is set up to be very possession-based and hasn’t had to play a match where they were going to have less than 40% of the ball. Sheffield United are set up much differently than that Burnley team.

They typically play out of the same formation as we saw two years ago in the Premier League, a 3-5-2. They are still a direct style team despite being in second place in the Championship table. Per The Analyst, Sheffield United have the fourt-highest direct speed in the Championship and they also have 61 direct attacks compared to 48 build up attacks, so they’re set up structurally to not have the ball and they will look to counter City.

The news for Sheffield United in this match is two of their best players, James McAtee and Tommy Doyle, are Manchester City players on loan, so they will not be able to play.

Man City vs Sheffield United Pick

Manchester City are likely not going to rotate anybody for this match, but it is a sandwich spot after their 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich and the biggest match of their season against Arsenal on Wednesday.

Given the way Sheffield United are set up, I like the value on the under with a City team that is likely to be a touch subdued and/or looking ahead to Wednesday.

Pick: Under 3.5 (+102) 

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