It will be a case of the league’s best attack versus the worst defence on Sunday as title favourites Manchester City travel to the Stadium of Light to take on second-from-bottom Sunderland.
Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping for another goal glut after a 7-0 drubbing of Norwich City was followed up by a 5-2 midweek victory over CSKA Moscow (and qualification into the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League).
City will also be buoyed by the fact that a win on Sunday can potentially lift them up to third, a lofty position that does some justice to their superior goal-scoring exploits.
Sunderland, in comparison, will be looking to put last weekend’s disappointing 1-0 reverse at Hull City behind them, although a midweek Capital One Cup win over high-flying Southampton meant that they have at least won their last two home fixtures in all competitions.
The form table does not make for good reading for the Black Cats. Their last-gasp 2-1 win over bitter rivals Newcastle two weeks ago was their first win all season, having lost eight of their ten matches.
They also have lost all bar one of their last six Premier League fixtures, scoring a paltry four goals and conceding 14. Gus Poyet’s side also have the unwanted honour of having the worst home record this campaign, with just one win and four defeats.
And to sum it all up, Sunderland boast the worst defence in the league, having shipped in a whopping 22 goals. The visit of free-scoring Manchester City could therefore not come at a more inopportune time for Gus Poyet.
City’s 7-0 win over Norwich was not only the biggest win the league has witnessed all season; it also meant that City have now scored 28 goals in just ten games, a tally that is six better than league leaders Arsenal (22).
Pellegrini has also seen his side win five of their last six games in all competitions and scoring 12 goals in their last two ties. Of concern to the Etihad Stadium contingent will be their dismal away record though, which has seen them win just once and lose thrice in five away matches. In fact, of the 28 goals that City have plundered, only eight have come away from home.
The two sides’ head-to-head record is more of a mixed bag than anything else. City just nudge ahead of the Black Cats, with three wins compared to two for Sunderland in the last six matches in all competitions.
Another worrying statistic for Manchester City will be that their last three visits to the Stadium of Light have all ended in 1-0 defeats. In fact, the last goal scored by City at Sunderland was netted by Adam Johnson three years ago; and the winger has since moved to the opposition.
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