Manchester City - Sunderland Betting Preview: The visitors can keep things tight against Mancini's men

The hosts continue the defence of their Premier League crown when they welcome the unbeaten Black Cats to Etihad Stadium and Willie Duncan expects a close encounter
Both Manchester City and Sunderland will put their unbeaten starts to the Premier League season on Saturday afternoon.

Roberto Mancini’s side were fortunate to take a point from their Champions League tussle with Borussia Dortmund in midweek but the Italian will be targeting no less than three points on Saturday and City are rated as 2/7 (1.29) favourites with Paddy Power to win at the weekend.

Sunderland opened the season with four successive draws in the Premier League but Martin O’Neill’s men celebrated their first league victory of the campaign against Wigan Athletic last weekend.

They are chalked up at 9/1 (10.0) with Paddy Power to follow up with another win here while the same firm go 9/2 (5.50) that the match ends in a draw.

Sunderland have scored in six of their seven competitive fixtures this season while City, somewhat incredibly, are still looking for their first clean sheet on the season, despite having played no fewer than 10 matches, a statistic which is sure to worry Mancini and offer O’Neill’s men encouragement in equal measure.

With that in mind, the even money (2.0) quote from Paddy Power that both teams score here certainly carries appeal but even more generous appears to be the 5/6 (1.83) quote for unbeaten Sunderland (+2) in the handicap market.

That price looks particularly worthy of support when it is considered that the Black Cats took four points from a possible six against the champions in the Premier League last year.

Sunderland, too, boast an in-form striker in the shape of Steven Fletcher.

The former Wolves man, who earned a shock recall to the Scotland squad this week, has scored five goals in just four appearances for Sunderland and is chalked up at a chunky 12/1 (13.0) with Paddy Power to score first while the same firm offer a tempting 7/2 (4.50) that Fletcher nets at any time.

City, of course, have plenty of attacking prowess of their own and last season’s Premier League top scorer, Sergio Aguero, is priced up at 3/1 (4.0) to score first while Carlos Tevez, who has scored three goals for City so far this term, is available at 7/2 (4.50).

This promises to be an entertaining game and it is entirely possible that the bookmakers have underrated O’Neill’s hard-working side so the 5/6 (1.83) for Sunderland (+2) in the handicap market should be backed accordingly.

Sunderland (+2) at 5/6 (1.83) with Paddy Power
Steven Fletcher to score at any time at 7/2 (4.50) with Paddy Power

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter