Wednesday night will see a dress rehearsal of the Capital One Cup Final take place at The Etihad Stadium as Manchester City welcome Sunderland.
Both teams are coming off the back of poor results on the weekend, with Sunderland losing 2-0 at home to Hull City and Manchester City failing to score for the second consecutive game, resulting in a 0-0 away draw at Norwich City.
Manchester City will be aiming to get back to winning ways at The Etihad after their last home game resulted in their first Premier League home defeat of the season. It could be argued that this is their first real blip in form under Manuel Pellegrini as they have now gone 2 games in a row without a win and a goal.
Their form in the last 5 league games shows them having 3 wins 1 loss and 1 draw. Certainly not poor form in the eyes of anyone, however, when you are challenging for the Premier League title, any dropped points are crucial. City currently sit third on 54 points from 25 games.
Sunderland come into the game with a very impressive recent away record. They have recorded a 3-0 victory away at local rivals Newcastle United and a 4-1 away win at fellow strugglers Fulham. In fact, in their last 5 Premier League games they have only lost once.
This up turn in form has seen them climb from the foot of the table up to 17th and out of the relegation places.
The 1-0 defeat to Chelsea was the first time in 61 home matches that Manchester City had failed to score.
On a similar note, Sunderland’s loss to Hull City was the 1st time in 5 matches that they had failed to hit the back of the net.
Manchester City will be looking for revenge following their 1-0 loss at The Stadium of Light earlier on in the season.
Manchester City will still be without injury victims Fernandinho, Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero. There is a question mark over Yaya Toure following an off the ball incident with Norwich City’s Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, which could result in him being suspended.
Sunderland are without long term injury victims Steven Fletcher, Carlos Cuellar and Kieron Westwood. Wes Brown will also miss out following his red card in the defeat to Hull City on the weekend.
David Silva is a magician and with both Aguero and Nasri missing then the creative responsibility falls squarely onto his shoulders. So far this season Silva has 4 Premier League goals and 7 assists. He has created 8 clear cut chances also and creates a clear cut chance every 168 minutes.
Adam Johnson has come to life for Sunderland in recent weeks, whether he has an eye on the plane to Brazil with England or not, his form has been exceptional. With 7 Premier League goals and 7 clear cut chances created, he is either scoring or creating a clear cut chance every 222 minutes.
Manchester City will be desperate to get back to winning ways. Although Sunderland will be difficult to break down, if Manchester City score early then it could be a long day for Sunderland. The longer they keep City out the better, the crowd will start to get anxious and that could affect City’s performance.
I still feel Manchester City will have too much for Sunderland and should run out comfortable 3-1 winners.