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Man City can expect tough test from draw specialists Sunderland

Top-flight title second-favourites Manchester City (11/4) have never lost at home against their upcoming visitors Sunderland in the Premier League era in all competitions in 11 matches, winning nine. They are odds-on at 1/4 with Coral for victory again in this New Year’s Day fixture.

However, last season the Black Cats came so close to beating City on their own turf, before a late goal from Samir Nasri (6/1 to score last again) saw the game finish 2-2.

Sunderland are certainly the draw specialists of the season so far, getting 11 from their opening 19 games, four more than anyone else in the Premier League. A share of the spoils at the Etihad again is priced at 5/1, and a 2-2 outcome once more is 28/1.

But Gus Poyet will be hoping his team can take heart from that fixture last term, which was part of a remarkable run to top-flight safety, as well as Burnley’s recent result against the Sky Blues of that same scoreline.

The Black Cats last beat City last season, at the Stadium of Light, and away against them in the old Division 1 in 1998, both by 1-0. They are, therefore, 12/1 chances for victory and 45/1 by that scoreline. Sunderland have also kept four consecutive clean sheets on the road, and are 12/1 to not concede again.

A win may be all the more possible as the champions are still without star strikers Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko. However, they do have the likes of Yaya Toure and David Silva, who have stepped up into their colleagues’ scoring shoes in their absence, and both have netted against Sunderland before. They are both evens to get a goal again anytime.

Stevan Jovetic is available to start. The Montenegrin was on target this term against the Black Cats in his side’s 4-1 away win, and is odds-on at 10/11 to score again, and 4/1 for two or more.

For the visitors, they will be hoping Connor Wickham can carry on his impressive run against City. The English forward has three goals in his last two games against them, and is an enticing 5/1 shout in the anytime market.

Besides Aguero and Dzeko, Manuel Pellegrini has no new injury issues, but Sunderland will be without Patrick van Aanholt and Anthony Reveillere once more. Sebastian Larsson, meanwhile, could feature.