The Etihad Stadium outfit have lost by the odd goal on each of their last three visits to Wearside…
Given the respective teams’ form, playing personnel and status, Manuel Pellegrini’s men are overwhelming favourites to collect three points in the clash.
However, the Stadium of Light has not been a happy hunting ground for the Manchester outfit in recent times, with the Black Cats beating their big-spending opponents 1-0 in the last three meetings of the sides in Wearside.
The run started back in August 2010, when a last-minute Darren Bent penalty secured victory for the hosts.
The next unlikely win came in January 2012, when another late winner broke City hearts. Ji Dong-Won netted in the third minute of injury time to cap an excellent substitute appearance and record the proudest moment of the South Korea international’s career.
Finally, history repeated itself once more last term, when Sunderland beat City 1-0 on Boxing Day 2012, with former charge Adam Johnson coming back to haunt his old employers.
You have to go back to August 2008 for the last time that the Citizens recorded victory on Sunderland soil, and Pellegrini will be keen to end the hex that the Black Cats had over the club under predecessor Roberto Mancini.
Should the same result occur once more it would be the unlikeliest of all. City are flying high after thumping CSKA Moscow in midweek to qualify for the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time, and have scored 12 goals in their last two games.
City will be without David Silva due to injury, but have in-form attackers such as Alvaro Negredo and October Player of the Month Sergio Aguero ready to get the goals here.
Sunderland are in need of points, and fast. Gus Poyet’s men recorded their first win of the season in an invaluable 2-1 victory over local rivals Newcastle, but slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Hull last time out.
Realistically, a draw would be an excellent result for Sunderland and a source of major frustration for City. The biggest challenge for the hosts in their search of another famous win will be preventing a prodigiously talented opposition frontline from hitting the net.
If they could somehow manage it, another 1-0 victory against the odds could be the catalyst to save the Wearside outfit’s season.
image: © Rach