Undoubtedly, the biggest game of this Premier League weekend is the marquee clash between Manchester United and Arsenal at the Theatre of Dreams. However, as big as that clash is, Manchester City's trip to Sunderland could be an epic match.
City might have swatted aside CSKA Moscow and Norwich City in their last two games, but their away form remains patchy at best. On the other side of the coin, there is the club’s impregnable home form. Chelsea and City have the best-equipped squads (at least on paper) to last the distance in the grind of a full Premier League season and City’s away form or lack of it may prove decisive.
Up next for City is a trip to the Stadium of Light, which has been nothing but a source of dark results for the Citizens over the last three years. Sunderland maybe in the relegation zone, they maybe struggling, but they do hold the Indian sign over the Manchester club.
The last three seasons have resulted in three home wins for Sunderland. City haven’t looked themselves in these clashes. It’s almost become a psychological barrier for the club.
Of course, it’s a new season with a raft of superb signings and a new manager in Manuel Pellegrini, who has brought a sense of calm to the club after the fireworks of Mancini’s tenure.
But overcoming Sunderland will not be as easy as it looks on paper. Sunderland’s hoodoo over Manchester City apart, there is the more practical consideration of Sunderland’s win over Newcastle followed by a morale-boosting second half performance against Hull City with nine men on the field.
With one-man goal machine Steven Fletcher fit again, the black cats are not an easy proposition at home. In a nutshell, Sunderland’s improving form, City’s atrocious away form along with Sunderland’s Indian sign over the Citizens makes it a very difficult fixture for City. Definitely its not the walk in the park that it looks on paper.
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