Manchester City - Sunderland Preview: Mancini's side target 21st Premier League home win in a row
The second-placed club had a tough time in their 1-1 draw at Stoke City last weekend, while the Black Cats will want to bounce back from Tuesday’s FA Cup quarter-final exit
By Miles Chambers
Richards, Kompany, K Toure, Clichy
De Jong, Barry
Nasri, Y Toure, Tevez
Meyler, Kyrgiakos, Turner, Bardsley
Larsson, Cattermole, Gardner, McClean
Carlos Tevez could be in line to start on Saturday after impressing in the reserve team’s 6-1 win over Morecambe and could replace Mario Balotelli, who has seen indifferent form lately. His case is strengthened by Sergio Aguero's unavailability due to a foot injury.
Club captain Vincent Kompany looks to have recovered from a calf problem that has kept him out for three weeks, but the Etihad Stadium showdown will come too soon for Joleon Lescott, who has a groin strain. Expect Micah Richards to shift back over to right-back at the expense of Pablo Zabaleta.
Sunderland will be without defender Wayne Bridge, who is ineligible to play against his parent club. John O’Shea is a doubt after a knee injury forced him off in the club’s 3-1 win over QPR last Saturday. Wes Brown, Titus Bramble, Kieran Richardson and Kieren Westwood are all unlikely to feature for Martin O’Neill’s men as they recover from various knocks.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester City have won every single home league game this season so far in a run of 20 consecutive home victories. Their only two losses at the Etihad Stadium this season have been against Manchester United and Liverpool in the FA Cup and League Cup, respectively.
- Although City are favourites to triumph on Saturday, they will not have forgotten their injury-time 1-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light on New Year's Day.
- Nicklas Bendtner (pictured right) has scored three goals in his last four Premier League matches. He had scored three in 18 top flight matches for Sunderland prior to this run.
- Should Carlos Tevez be named in the starting XI, it will be his first league start for Roberto Mancini's side since September 10 at home to Wigan. Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick to down the Latics 3-0 on that day.
- Having been knocked out of the FA Cup on Tuesday with a 2-0 loss at home to Everton in a quarter-final replay, the Black Cats look to have lost their final chance of Europa League football this season. Martin O’Neill’s side sit 10 points behind sixth-placed Newcastle United with only eight games remaining.
- David Silva has five goals and 14 assists to his name in the league this season, but his last seven top-flight appearances have yielded just the solitary assist.
- A win for Manchester City will put them top of the Premier League table on goal difference, although Manchester United would retake the position with a win or a draw at Blackburn on Monday night.
- Sunderland have not won away from the Stadium of Light in the top flight since a 1-0 win at Stoke City on February 4. They have not scored more than one goal on their travels in a league match since a 4-1 thrashing of Wigan in January. Manchester City are 4/5 with Paddy Power to keep a clean sheet in this game.
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Top 3 Predictions
Manchester City 3-0 Sunderland
- 18.9 %
Manchester City 1-2 Sunderland
- 12.97 %
Manchester City 1-1 Sunderland
- 11.05 %
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||2 Mar 2014||Manchester City 3 - Sunderland 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||10 Nov 2013||Sunderland 1 - Manchester City 0|
|Club Friendlies (FRC)||27 Jul 2013||Sunderland 0 - Manchester City 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||26 Dec 2012||Sunderland 1 - Manchester City 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||6 Oct 2012||Manchester City 3 - Sunderland 0|
|9 Mar 2014||Manchester City 1 - Wigan Athletic 2||FA|
|2 Mar 2014||Manchester City 3 - Sunderland 1||CCUP|
|22 Feb 2014||Manchester City 1 - Stoke City 0||EPL|
|18 Feb 2014||Manchester City 0 - Barcelona 2||UCL|
|15 Feb 2014||Manchester City 2 - Chelsea FC 0||FA|
|34||Nigel De Jong||Midfielder|
The Italian manager relies on the former Barcelona star to link the defence with the attack in the centre of the park and - against a resilient side such as Sunderland - this will be key.
His goal and assist at home to QPR last weekend helped get the north east club all three points - should he put in a repeat performance on Saturday he could end up terrorising the City right-back all match.