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Five changes for Man City at Sunderland

TWIN THREAT: Aguero and Sane

TWIN THREAT: Aguero and Sane

Pep Guardiola makes five changes ahead of today’s game against Sunderland.

Willy Caballero, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Aleks Kolarov and Bacary Sagna all return to the starting line-up as City look to extend their unbeaten run to nine matches.

Kevin De Bruyne starts on the bench.

Team: Caballero, Sagna, Stones, Kolarov, Clichy, Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Sane, Aguero

Subs: Bravo, Otamendi, Fernando, Nolito, Iheanacho, Delph, De Bruyne

Formation:

It looks likely City will play an attacking 4-1-4-1 against the Black Cats with Fernandinho possibly taking up the midfield anchor role.

With Stoke to come on Wednesday night, Guardiola will hope his team can get a healthy advantage then rest the likes of Sergio Aguero, Silva or Yaya Toure around the hour-mark to keep their legs fresh.

DELPH STRIKE: Fabian's deflected goal gave City a late win against Sunderland last August

However, if the hosts are level, ahead or pressing to get back in the game, the boss will perhaps keep his strongest XI out for as long as necessary.

Sunderland’s struggle

The Black Cats prop the rest of the Premier League up going into this game and are desperate for points.

With Leicester, Crystal Palace and Swansea all winning yesterday, there is a gap beginning to emerge as several relegation rivals start to get their act together.

The visit of the best away team in the top tier couldn’t have come at a worse time for David Moyes, with the Blues winning nine of 13 games on the road so far this campaign.

Expect the hosts to try and keep things compact and look to hit the Blues on the counter-attack – but can a team who have conceded 48 goals to date keep a Blues side who have averaged three goals per game during their current eight-game unbeaten run?

Black Cats XI:

Pickford, Jones, O’Shea, Ndong, Gibson, Oviedo, Larsson, Januzaj, Borini, Defoe, Kone Subs: Mannone, Manquillo, Djilobodji, Rodwell, Khazri, Honeyman, Love

Stats and facts:

  • City have won the last six games against Sunderland, including three at the Stadium of Light.
  • With eight goals against the Blues, the only club Jermain Defoe has only scored more goals against in his career Wigan Athletic (10)
  • If the Blues win today, it will be the best run of Premier League wins since September when City won the first six matches of the campaign
  • It’s almost eight months since City narrowly beat Sunderland 2-1 on the opening day of the season, courtesy of a late Paddy McNair own goal

 

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Media Watch

Guardiola plotting £115m triple swoop?

Media Watch

Guardiola plotting £115m triple swoop?

THE BOSS: Pep Guardiola surveys the situation

You wouldn’t know it was matchday for Man City with the amount of transfer gossip flying around…

This afternoon’s trip to Sunderland comes secondary to the rumours of potential incomings and outgoings, according to the morning papers.

Match Preview

Sunderland v Man City: TV, kick off and team news