Kyle Walker scored on his return to his hometown club as Manchester City climbed the Premier League table with a 1-0 win at toothless Sheffield United.
The Blades had failed to score in three of their first six matches of the season. And a tepid first-half display from the Blades contributed to their downfall again. As it was, it was left to Walker – who started his career at Bramall Lane – to score what was to prove the winner.
City made a bright start and forced Aaron Ramsdale into three smart saves early on. Ferran Torres was unfortunate not to break the deadlock when Ramsdale turned his header away.
The Blades were struggling to get out their own half and Torres was denied again when Ramsdale pushed his close-range effort wide after the Spaniard latched on to Raheem Sterling’s clever ball.
The breakthrough though did emerge just short of the half-hour mark when Walker drove a rasping drive beyond Ramsdale. It was his first goal in almost a year and marked his 100th appearance for City.
The goal came after more incredible work from Sterling, the player being labelled “unplayable today” by BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand.
Let's talk about Raheem Sterling's quick feet ⚡️⚡️
A great piece of skill in the build-up to City's goal! pic.twitter.com/C1yWC34Bsb
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 31, 2020
Kevin De Bruyne was the next to hit the target. The Belgian cleverly drove a free-kick under the wall but the over-worked Ramsdale was wise to the danger.
City again started the second half on the front foot and a De Bruyne drive, after the ball fell to him on the edge of the box, flashed just wide.
Ramsdale was then forced into a smart low save to push out a Riyad Mahrez free-kick.
That seemed to be the cue for the game to hit something of a lull. The slower pace though appeared to suit the Blades, who clawed their way back into the reckoning.
With 67 minutes on the clock, Sander Berge showed neat feet to flash a low cross through goal which eventually fell into Ederson’s grasp.
A smilar burst down the right a few minutes later saw Berge cut the ball back for John Lundstram. However, his first-time shot fizzed narrowly over the bar.
Rhian Brewster then found his way on goal, only to be flagged offside.
That match then slipped into quite a laborious tempo. City were happy to soak up all the hosts could throw at them and tried to hit them on the break.
City did find themselves in one or two promising situations. However, in Ramsdale they found the Blades keeper a tough nut to crack.
As it was, City held on for a win to climb to seventh. For Chris Wilder and Sheffield United, they remain stranded in the bottom half with just one point from seven games.