The Premier League, and the visit of Sunderland, will come as welcome relief to Man City after their fortunate draw at home to Borussia Dortmund in midweek (12.45pm, Saturday).
In a match between the defending English and German league champions, City were outplayed, outclassed and out-thought and only a highly debatable penalty in injury time saved Roberto Mancini’s side.
Not since City changed owners and attempted to reach the summit of English football have they been so outclassed on a football pitch, let alone at home. Were it not for another inspired performance by England goalkeeper Joe Hart then it could have got ugly. Dortmund deserved to win by a couple at least.
City did escape with a point and this home match against a Sunderland, one of only three teams left in the league that are unbeaten, will not be easy. Manchester City’s problem this year has been their midfield and the lack of creativity that it possesses.
David Silva is yet to hit the highs of last season and with Samir Nasri, Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell yet to really get going, City are hugely reliant on Yaya Toure. Toure has been the one outstanding player this year and his work rate, pace and passing ability has provided City with the majority of their chances on goal.
Javi Garcia picked up an injury early on in midweek and his place will likely be taken by Jack Rodwell. Maicon may also return to the side but with Mario Zabaleta playing well at the moment one of the two may well switch to left back. Edin Dzeko should start up front after his first goal, against Fulham last weekend, when City came back from 1-0 down to take all three points late on.
Sunderland may be unbeaten in the Premier League but they are only in thirteenth position, although they have played a game less than everybody else. Their first and only win of the season came last weekend at home against Wigan and it was long overdue after draws against Arsenal, Swansea, Liverpool and West Ham.
Sunderland have won two games in the Capital One Cup but they have been against Morecambe and MK Dons. Unbelievably Sunderland took four points from their two matches against Man City last season as they beat them 1-0 at home and managed to grab an entertaining 3-3 draw at the Etihad. That draw was the only game that City failed to win at home last season and it underlines Sunderland’s resilience and tenacity under manager Martin O’Neill.
Ex-City midfielder Adam Johnson will be out to impress for Sunderland against his former club and he could well give Clichy or Maicon a tough afternoon.
Man City v Sunderland Betting Tips
City have rarely lost at home in recent seasons but this year they have failed to break down teams that they would expect to beat easily. With fit-again Aguerro and Dzeko likely to start, City will want to show their home fans that they are a better side than they showed in Europe on Wednesday.