Mar 3, 2017 11:34:53
Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League clash at the Stadium of Light
Manchester City head into Sunday's game at Sunderland in fine form and with few injury concerns.
Pep Guardiola's side have scored 10 goals in their last two games, with Sergio Aguero in the kind of touch that has been demanded of him by his new manager since the start of the season.
The Argentine has scored four goals in his last two appearances and Guardiola hailed his performance against Huddersfield in midweek as "the best I have seen from Sergio".
MAN CITY INJURIES
City will again be without long-term absentees Vincent Kompany, Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus.
Kompany has not played since November while Gundogan ruptured knee ligaments in December. Jesus' injury, a broken bone in his foot, was expected to impact heavily on City's attacking play, but Aguero is finding his feet in a fast-paced attack alongside Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane, who are both in fine form.
Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov were rested against Huddersfield and are expected to return at the Stadium of Light.
MAN CITY SUSPENSIONS
Neither City nor Sunderland have any suspensions, although Jason Denayer, on loan at Sunderland from City, cannot play against his parent club.
MAN CITY POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Willy Caballero will return in goal after Claudio Bravo deputised in the FA Cup – the Argentine is now Guardiola's No.1 goalkeeper.
The defence, as ever, is hard to predict. Kolarov has proven to be a Guardiola favourite and could return, with John Stones, rather than the sometimes rash Nicolas Otamendi, possibly selected to combat the tricky threat of Jermain Defoe.
Fernandinho could continue at left-back, as he has done in Premier League and Champions League games of late, with Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna contesting the right-back slot.
The midfield and forward positions should be easier to predict. Yaya Toure can slot straight back into the midfield, with David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne ahead of him. Sane and Sterling are almost certain to retain their roles on the wings, while Aguero will get another opportunity to demonstrate his ability through the middle.
SUNDERLAND TEAM NEWS
Sunderland have not been able to get going this season and are bottom of the Premier League table. David Moyes' men have earned victory in just one of their last 11 matches in all competitions, and have won just five league matches all season.
The Black Cats have a string of long-term absentees, including Lee Cattermole, Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore and Jan Kirchoff.
Steven Pienaar could return after missing last weekend's defeat at Everton, though Jack Rodwell is unlikely to make it. Denayer, as mentioned above, cannot play against City, his parent club, though he did not feature last time out anyway.
Jordan Pickford is due to continue in goal, despite Vito Mannone's expected return to fitness. Pickford has impressed this season, despite Sunderland's lowly position, and City are one of several clubs who will try to sign the Englishman this summer.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Sunderland have lost each of their last five Premier League games against Manchester City since a 2-2 draw at the Etihad in April 2014.
City have won their last two Premier League visits to the Stadium of Light since a run of four consecutive 1-0 defeats between 2010 and 2013.
Of Premier League teams the Citizens have played 25 or more times, they have the best win percentage against the Black Cats (68%, 17 wins from 25 games).
Sergio Aguero has been involved in six goals in his last four Premier League appearances against Sunderland (four goals, two assists). In all competitions, the Argentinian striker has scored in each of his last three games at the Stadium of Light (four goals).
David Moyes has only lost two of the 12 home Premier League games he has managed against Manchester City (W7 D3 L2). Indeed, only against Fulham (12) has he won more home Premier League games than against the Citizens (7).
Jermain Defoe has scored a goal in every single month of possible Premier League action since January 2016 (13 months in a row).
Defoe has attempted 64 shots in the Premier League this season; 40 more than any other Sunderland player.
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
The game kicks off at 16:00 UK time on Sunday, March 5, and is available on Sky Sports 1 in the UK.