Premier League Stadium of Light Att:41107 Sunday, March 5, 2017 4:00:00 PM
- Januzaj Khazri 82’
- Gibson Rodwell 69’
- Unused subs
- Honeyman, Love, Mannone, Djilobodji, Manquillo
- Touré De Bruyne 78’
- Sterling Nolito 82’
- Sané Delph 89’
- Unused subs
- Bravo, Fernando, Otamendi, Iheanacho
Goals from Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane gave City a well-deserved 2-0 victory against Sunderland.
|As it stands Full League Table|
It was the Blues’ fourth Premier League win on the bounce and stretched Pep Guardiola’s side’s unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions.
As a result, City move back up to third spot in the table, eight points adrift of leaders Chelsea, though Sunderland battled well for long periods.
City had to battle to gain the upper hand in the first-half with Sunderland working hard and playing solid, disciplined stuff
The Blues occasionally knocked at the door in the early stages with Leroy Sane beating his man and then overrunning the ball with Aguero lurking in the six-yard box.
Sunderland’s confidence gradually grew as the half wore on and a snapshot from distance by Jermain Defoe smacked against the post on 19 minutes and the Fabio Borini was unable to head home the rebound.
It was a close call and a reminder that there was still plenty of work to be done if the Blues were to leave Wearside with all three points.
Billy Jones then saw his header saved by Willy Caballero from a corner, knowing if he’d headed it a yard either side he would have almost certainly scored.
But gradually, the continued threat posed from wingers Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane – usually prompted by the peerless David Silva -started to grow and Sane came close to claiming another assist but he slightly over hit the cross and the chance went begging.
Five minutes later – and crucially just before the break – City were ahead.
Sterling cut in from the right and spotted the run of Aguero before feeding a low ball into his path and the Blues’ top scorer did the rest, nipping in ahead of Jordan Pickford to slot home his 23rd of the season.
There was still time for Silva to see a goal rubbed out for offside, though the Spaniard had been onside, so presumably the reason was Sterling being deemed to be interfering with play.
With the Black Cats more adventurous, so the gaps in their defence began to appear and it seemed inevitable that City would eventually increase the lead – which is exactly what happened.
Silva drove into the Sunderland half and, spotting Sane’s sprint, played an inch-perfect pass into the young German’s path and the electric winger made no mistake with a low drive that struck the post on its way into the back of the net.
There were more half-chances at either end with home keeper Pickford keeping the score respectable, but that proved to be the last of the meaningful action as the Blues continue their impressive run of form.
Jermain Defoe striking the post and Fabio Borini missing the follow up on 19 minutes was a pivotal moment in the game.
With the hosts looking lively and the home fans in good voice, conceding a goal would have made life difficult for City.
Matchday App Man of the Match: Leroy Sane
What it means:
City move back up to third position with a game in hand on second-place Tottenham who beat Everton 3-2 in the early Sunday afternoon kick-off.
The win over Sunderland puts the Blues five points clear of fifth place Arsenal and six above sixth place Manchester United.
City also have a game in hand on fourth-placed Liverpool.
City host Stoke at the Etihad on Wednesday evening and will look to move into second spot and further reduce the gap to leaders Chelsea who will play against West Ham on Monday evening.
Depending on the result at the London Stadium, if the Blues beat the Potters, Pep’s men will be either eight, six or even just five points behind Antonio Conte’s side.
Stats and milestones
Sergio Aguero now has 23 goals in all competitions this season – 14 clear of the second top scorer Raheem Sterling.
The Blues have now won 10 away games in the Premier League this season – two more than leaders Chelsea.
City are unbeaten in nine games in all competitions