Sunderland - Manchester City Preview: Roberto Mancini's side look to end three-game winless run on Wearside
The Black Cats are hoping to improve on their dismal Boxing Day form against the Premier League champions who have the best away record in the top flight this season
By Simon Sinclair
Gardner, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose
Johnson, Colback, Larsson, McClean
Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy
Silva, Toure, Tevez
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill may stick with the same side that beat Southampton 1-0 on Saturday. The 60-year-old has no new injury worries ahead of the visit of the Premier League champions as only long-term absentees Wes Brown and Lee Cattermole (both knee) are out.
Phil Bardsley may be brought back into the team with Adam Johnson (ankle) facing a late fitness test which would allow Craig Gardner to move back into midfield and Sebastian Larsson to start out wide.
Manchester City could be boosted by the return of captain Vincent Kompany (groin) for the trip to the Stadium Light. The defender has spent the past two games on the sidelines but is expected to be fit to face the Black Cats.
Mario Balotelli may also come into contention after recovering from an illness while Aleksander Kolarov and Gael Clichy are expected to overcome the knocks which kept them out of the clash against Reading, with the Frenchman set to start. Samir Nasri (groin), Jack Rodwell (hamstring) and Micah Richards (knee) will all miss out.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Sunderland have won just one of their last eight games played on Boxing Day, drawing four times and losing three.
Manchester City have not won at the Stadium of Light since the 2008-09 season. In their last three trips to Wearside they have lost twice and drawn once.
The Black Cats were the only team that City did not beat last season when they won the Premier League title.
Steven Fletcher (pictured right) has opened the scoring six matches this season, which is more than any other player in the Premier League.
Martin O’Neill’s side have won just twice at home this season against Wigan and Reading.
Roberto Mancini’s men are unbeaten in their eight games away from the Etihad Stadium this campaign, the only team in the Premier League still to be so.
In the 14 games in which Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero have started together City have won every match.
Mancini’s side have scored 21 goals in the last 30 minutes of matches this season and have scored 11 in the last 15.
The last player to score for City at the Stadium of Light was Adam Johnson who is expected line-up for the Black Cats on Wednesday. He is 11/2 to score anytime with William Hill.
|William Hill: £25 in free bets|
|Sign up with bet365 for a 100% deposit bonus up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
Top 3 Predictions
Sunderland 1-3 Manchester City
- 15.02 %
Sunderland 0-2 Manchester City
- 10.91 %
Sunderland 0-3 Manchester City
- 9.84 %
|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|
|12 Apr 2014||Sunderland 0 - Everton 1||EPL|
|7 Apr 2014||Tottenham 5 - Sunderland 1||EPL|
|31 Mar 2014||Sunderland 1 - West Ham 2||EPL|
|26 Mar 2014||Liverpool 2 - Sunderland 1||EPL|
|22 Mar 2014||Norwich City 2 - Sunderland 0||EPL|
|24||Carlos Javier Cuéllar||Defender|
The Black Cats have improved recently but City will have just too much for them on this occasion as they’ve proven their mental toughness over the season which will be enough to end their three-games winless run at the Stadium of Light. Expect big days for Yaya Toure and David Silva in the City midfield as they will look to overrun Sunderland in the middle of the park, as O’Neill’s side will miss the presence of skipper Lee Cattermole who was instrumental in last season’s win over the champions.