Manchester City looked indestructible after winning eight games in row after losing only two points from 36 from late November till late January. The run took them top of the Premier League and most experts made them favourites for the title.
Two matches and 5 dropped points later doubts have resurfaced as to whether City have what it takes. Jose Mourinho and his stubborn Chelsea destroyed City’s 100% home record in what was a superior tactical display and Norwich managed to hold on to a draw in last round’s lacklustre 0-0 draw. Manuel Pellegrini’s men, however, are firm favourites when Sunderland visit and need the three points to keep up with Chelsea and Arsenal.
Hull City, and former Black Cats manager Steve Bruce, stopped Sunderland’s good run of three wins and one draw after Wes Brown was sent off early on. Before that, reinvigorated winger Adam Johnson had been appointed the Barclays Premier League Player of the Month after his four goals in four games had put him back in contention for those sought after seats on a certain plane to Brazil and he now faces his former club. Gustavo Poyet will do everything in his power to replicate Sunderland’s 1-0 November victory over City but away sides have found little luck at City this season.
KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 7.45pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Sunderland 1 (Bardsley) Manchester City 0, Premier League, November 2013
Sunderland 1 (Johnson) Manchester City 0, Premier League, December 2012
Manchester City 3 (Kolarov, Aguero, Milner) Sunderland 0, Premier League October 2012
Four Manchester City players have scored 15 goals or more this season. Sergio Aguero (26), Alvaro Negredo (23), Edin Dzeko (17) and Yaya Toure are the prime danger men.
Sunderland have scored 10 goals in their last five games. Out of those, Adam Johnson has got six.
Sunderland’s longest winning sequence this season is two.
The Black Cats have the seventh best record versus top-half opposition. Against bottom-half opponents they have the worst.
City have the best record in the league against top-half opposition. Against the bottom-half they are ranked eight.
Manchester City to win: 1.18
Sunderland to win: 21
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.35pm