Recent history gives Man City reason to be wary of Sunderland
If Manchester City have had a bogey team in recent times, you would be hard-pressed to find a more credible candidate than Sunderland. The Black Cats have cost them 11 points out of the last 15 available in this fixture.
Admittedly Sunderland have done most of their damage at the Stadium of Light but, with City without a win and a goal in two, Manuel Pellegrini can be forgiven for approaching this encounter with caution.
City, who are once again 11/10 favourites for the Premier League title after Chelsea dropped points, are nonetheless odds-on at 1/5 to return to winning ways at the Etihad. So remote are Gus Poyet’s prospects of a result, Coral offer 16/1 on an away victory. It’s 11/2 for a draw.
This fixture pits manager of the month for January, Pellegrini, against a former City winger, who picked up the first Premier League player gong of 2014, in Adam Johnson.
England international Johnson spent two-and-a-half seasons at the Etihad between 2010 and 2012, but is enjoying his best campaign in the top-flight with Sunderland that may result in an international recall.
Johnson, who is 4/1 to go to the World Cup in Brazil this summer, is going through a purple patch with six goals in his last five Premier League outings.
Punters can get a tasty 11/2 on him scoring at anytime against his former club where he may well want to prove a point.
Poyet put together a smash-and-grab 1-0 win for Sunderland in the reverse fixture on November 10th. Of City’s 24 efforts at goal that day, only four were on target. Unlike then, they are without top-scorer Sergio Aguero.
In Argentina international Aguero’s absence, Serbia wingback Aleksandar Kolarov may be a reliable source of goals for City. He has scored on each of the last two Black Cats visits, so is 6/1 to do so at anytime here. Kolarov is also a 16/1 shot to score first and punters can get the same price on him netting last.
The time of the first goal may be of the essence for punters as in three of the last four Etihad meetings, this has come in the opening 10 minutes and there are odds of 2/1 on another early opener.
When it comes to corners, you can get 6/5 on there being 13 or more awarded here. That has happened in three of the last four match-ups between City and Sunderland.