The match serves as both a reckoning for errors committed and a path to redemption. Erling Haaland’s missed penalty in the initial half and City’s denied goal seemed to epitomize their missteps. However, the second half saw Haaland make amends with a splendid header that secured the team’s advantage. Ultimately, the tide turned as the ball brushed against Rodri’s foot, altering its course and granting City a goal. A mere three minutes later, a powerful shot found the mark.
In a match symbolizing atonement for mistakes, Manchester City emerged triumphant over Sheffield United with a 2-1 scoreline. This victory marked City’s third conquest of the season, propelling the reigning champions to the summit of the league standings. As the week commences, City holds the pinnacle position, with no other contenders poised to accumulate a maximum of 9 points from the opening trio of matches.
Pep Guardiola’s absence from the City dugout stemmed from his recuperation following back surgery. In his stead, assistant Juan Lillo assumed control. Employing their characteristic style, Haaland-Julian Alvarez relentlessly pressed forward while retaining ball possession. In the 22nd minute, a free-kick delivery found Nathan Ake, who elegantly dispatched the ball into the Sheffield net. Alas, this effort was nullified due to Rodri’s offside positioning.
City came agonizingly close to scoring in the 27th minute, as Haaland found himself encircled by defenders within the penalty area. Alvarez later gained possession following a Sheffield player’s attempt, only to be thwarted by goalkeeper Foderingham’s spectacular save.
A mere ten minutes later, Alvarez’s cross into the box resulted in John Egan inadvertently handling the ball, leading to a penalty for City. Haaland stepped up and sent goalkeeper Foderingham in the wrong direction, but unfortunately missed the target, with the ball striking the underside of the post. Despite maintaining 83 percent possession and recording 12 shots, City entered halftime goalless.
Nonetheless, the 63rd minute saw Haaland expiate his penalty mishap with a remarkable header. Jack Grealish’s left-sided cross met Haaland’s precise execution, finding the net. Despite this goal, City found no respite as Sheffield continued to launch incursions into their box. The 85th minute saw Sheffield equalize via a similar attack. Substitute Zayden Bogle’s shot deflected off Rodri’s leg before nestling into the net. Although correctly placed, the goal proved elusive, leading Rodri to display frustration with himself.
Yet, Rodri, the 27-year-old Spanish midfielder, clinched victory for City three minutes later. A cross from Kyle Walker reached Phil Foden, who, unable to control the ball, found a nearby Rodri. A forceful shot ensued, propelling the ball into the net. City maintained their defensive stance for the ensuing ten minutes, securing a 2-1 triumph as the match concluded.
City’s perfect record of three wins in the opening matches of a season had not been achieved since 2016-17. This successful launch represents a continuation of the reigning champions’ three victories in the last 12 seasons of the Premier League. Prior to this feat, it was Liverpool who managed a similar beginning to the 2020-21 season, also securing three wins.