Man City v Sheffield United player ratings: Foden 9, Rodri 8; Osula 7, Slimane 4

Goals from Rodri and Alvarez give Pep Guardiola's side points in 2-0 win

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Manchester City closed the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to just two points as they cruised past bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Rodri opened the scoring for the defending champions with a low drive from the edge of the box after 14 minutes following a clever pass from Phil Foden.

With the Blades defending deep, City were limited to long-range efforts for much of the first half.

And it took another intelligent piece of play by Foden, excelling in the No 10 role, to open them up midway through the second half.

This time the England midfielder linked well with substitute Oscar Bobb before sending a low cross into the area that was neatly finished from close range by Julian Alvarez.

The victory lifts Pep Guardiola's side into third place in the table, level on 40 points with Arsenal in fourth and two points behind Liverpool and second-place Aston Villa, who snatched a late win over 10-man Burnley at Villa Park. City have a game in hand over Unai Emery's side.

Chris Wilder's Blades remain bottom of the table after their defeat at the Etihad Stadium and remain without an away win all season.

Guardiola said after the win: "Really good we – played the game we should play it's not easy to attack this defence so deep. It's compact and we had to make crosses but without Erling [Haaland] that's difficult. We had to find the small spaces. They moved really well and we played a solid game. Better second half than the first but what we wanted to go into the New Year with a good result.

"Sometimes you need time, when they defend so deep it's difficult. We had to be patient and they didn't want to push or press so you have to be calm and do it in the right moment. We had the momentum and we did really well."

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Updated: December 30, 2023, 6:06 PM