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Kelechi retains place for Black Cats test



Kelechi Iheanacho's superb display against Aston Villa at the weekend has earned just his third Premier League start of the season.

While the 19-year-old keeps his spot, Manuel Pellegrini makes five changes to that side that beat Villa 4-0.

Starting XI plus bench...

City: Hart, Sagna, Demichelis, Otamendi, Clichy, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure (c), Navas, Silva, Aguero, Iheanacho

Subs: Caballero, Kolarov, Zabaleta, Fernando, Celina, Barker, Sterling

Big guns recalled...

Sergio Aguero will be looking to add to the 16 goals he's scored this season after being recalled the starting XI. Yaya Toure, David Silva, Martin Demichelis and Joe Hart also return after being rested at the weekend.


With two strikers playing, City will play 4-4-2 against the Black Cats with Jesus Navas and Silva the wider options in midfield and Yaya and Fernandinho playing the deeper role.

So impressive was Bacary Sagna against Villa that few would have been surprised if the manager had kept the Frenchman alongside Nicolas Otamendi, but it is Demichelis who wins the vote - his sixth start in the last seven matches.

Hart replaces Willy Caballero in goal.

Improving away form...

City have managed just four victories away from the Etihad in 11 Premier League attempts. Barely averaging one goal per game on the road, the Blues will hope to repeat the form that saw off the Black Cats 4-1 on Boxing Day.

That said, City have lost just one of the last six away games in all competitions, winning three and drawing two. The four goals at Villa Park also mean Pellegrini's side have scored nine in the last three matches on the road - a huge improvement.

Sunderland team:

Sunderland have been busy during the January transfer window manager Sam Allardyce could give debuts to defender Lamine Kone, midfielder Wahbi Khazri and striker Dame N'Doye as he strengthens the spine of his team.

This is a game where the hosts can ill-afford any bedding in period, so expect to see all the new boys in action at some point, if not all at the same time.

Starting XI: Mannone, Jones, O’Shea (c), Kone, Kirchhoff, van Aanholt, Cattermole, M’Vila, Borini, Lens, Defoe 

Subs: Pickford, Brown, N’Doye, Johnson, Khazri, Yedlin, Watmore

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