City’s quest to recapture the Capital One crown begins against the club they beat in the 2014 final.
Dick Advocaat’s Sunderland provide the opposition for this third round meeting where we will hope to bring an end to a run of two-successive 2-1 defeats.
Will City rediscover their winning form? Will any youngsters make the starting XI? Is the Stadium of Light curse lifted after victory there last season? Here are five things to look for our on Wearside…
One of the most interesting aspects of the early rounds of Capital One Cup is the opportunity to see the most promising starlets given opportunities to shine on the first-team stage.
City are certainly well stocked when it comes to talented youngsters pushing for full senior debuts, as evidenced in the pre-season tour of Australia and Vietnam.
Kelechi Iheanacho gave mouthwatering glimpse at his potential when he scored the winner at Crystal Palace last week and Patrick Roberts made a flying UEFA Youth League debut for City u19s against Juventus last week, assisting three and scoring a stunning solo goal himself.
Will there be any other youngsters involved in and around the squad?
City EDS played Sunderland yesterday and, intriguingly, Angus Gunn, Pablo Maffeo and Manu Garcia were all rested lending fuel to speculation that they may be in and around the match day squad at the Stadium of Light.
It’s impossible to meet Sunderland in the Capital One Cup without thoughts drifting to one of the great days in City’s recent history.
Just because we will take literally any excuse to watch Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri’s goals in the 2014 final, here are the highlights of our 3-1 win over the Mackems.
Has there ever been a Wembley final with two goals as good as these? 18 months later, it’s still no easier to choose which is the better strike.
Dare to Demichelis…
Eliaquim Mangala was withdrawn injured at half-time at the weekend giving us the prospect of an all Argentine centre-back partnership of Nicolas Otamendi and Martin Demichelis on Wearside… the same partnership which started the semi and the final of last summer’s Copa America.
Demichelis was one of City’s best players last season and he showed no signs of having tailed off any this year when he came on at half-time in Saturday’s game.
In game which became distorted into a surreal attack v defence training ground exercise, Martin was the one bringing the ball out of defence, his breadth of passing range opening up new angles of attack.
There are few better ball-playing centre backs in the Premier League so City will be in safe hands if Demichelis gets the start, as many expect, on Tuesday.
Let there be Light…
Did City finally lay to rest the curse of the Stadium of Light last season?
The manner of our 4-1 win over the Black Cats last season suggests that we may have but there are enough recent terrors to cause a shudder up the spine of those who’ve made soul-sapping pilgrimages to the North East before.
We lost four-successive games at the Stadium of Light by a goal to nil before December’s victory, so let’s just get at least one more win there before we declare the hex lifted, shall we?
A frustrating week…
It was a frustrating week for City domestically and continentally as we came away from matches against Juventus and West Ham wondering: “how did we lose?”
Defensive lapses in concentration undermined out title challenge last season and they came back to bite us again on Saturday as we switched off to allow Victor Moses the shooting opportunity and then conceded from a set piece after the ball pinballed around the box.
Manuel Pellegrini always emphasises that the team defends as a collective from front to back so no blame must go to individuals – it’s also worth remembering that we went nine hours and 26 minutes without conceding before Moses gave the Hammers the lead.
There are, of course, two sides to every coin…
99 times out of 100, we would have found a way past even the inspired Adrian and his lieutenant Winston Reid but the issue of failing to take our chances also reared its head once again as City only found the net once from 17 attempts.
Perhaps Sunderland, the Premier League’s basement club without a win from six games, could feel the full wrath of our recent frustrations on Tuesday night…
Join us for live text and audio coverage of Sunderland v City here on mcfc.co.uk on Tuesday evening and make sure you download the CityMatchday app.