Fourth take on thirteenth when Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City side welcome Sunderland to the Etihad stadium.
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Both sides are unbeaten so far this season although Manchester City’s performances have yet to reach the heights of last season’s title winning success. Last weekend’s 2-1 win over Fulham, secured thanks to a late goal from Edin Dzeko, saw them become the first reigning champions to concede six goals in their opening six games and was followed up a Joe Hart inspired fortunate draw at home to Borussia Dortmund in Europe.
City have found clean sheets hard and back to back wins hard to come by this season and are still searching for both this season. Wins over Southampton, QPR and Fulham have been sandwiched in between draws with Liverpool, Stoke and Arsenal with 8 goals conceded.
Sunderland meanwhile was the only side not to lose at City last season and was also the only side to manage to grab at point at the Etihad. Despite being unbeaten so far this season they were forced to wait until last weekend before getting their first win with Steven Fletcher grabbing his fifth goal in five games in the 1-0 win over Wigan.
Adam Johnson will be keen to show his former employer’s what they are missing out on while Irish fans will be hoping to see James McClean put in a strong performance ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Germany.
Man City: Hart; Zabaleta, Richards, Lescott, Kolarov; Milner, Barry, Y. Toure; Silva, Balotelli, Tevez
Sunderland: Mignolet; Gardner, Cuellar, O’Shea, Rose; Johnson, Colback, Larsson, McClean; Sessegnon; Fletcher
Javi Garcia is set to sit out the clash with Martin O’Neill’s side after suffering hamstring injury midweek in the Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund while Jack Rodwell could feature after making his comeback against the Germans.
Rodwell could be joined in Premier League action by Maicon who is set to return after a heel injury.
The Black Cats have no injury worries ahead of the trip to Manchester although Lee Cattermole is suspended. Phil Bardsley, Carlos Cuellar and Wes Brown are all back in training but unlikely feature as they work on their fitness.
One to Watch:
Edin Dzeko: Scored the winner against Fulham last weekend and he will be hoping that he gets the chance to build on that appearance from the bench with a rare start.
Steven Fletcher: Adam Johnson would seem the obvious choice as the one to watch for Sunderland especially as he has a point to prove, however with five goals from five shots Fletcher, back in the Scotland squad, is the man on form and his poaching ability will be crucial to any hopes Sunderland have of a win.
1-1: Manchester City stumbles to continue with a home draw