Manchester City predicted XI to face Sunderland

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Just a week ago Manchester City were taking on Bayern Munich in a crucial Champions League tie that will be forever remembered after Sergio Aguero's remarkable hat-trick.

This week's fixture, a trip to mid-table Sunderland, may lack the glamour and glitz of that Bayern tie, but it's importance won't be lost on City boss Manuel Pellegrini.

The Black Cats played host to Chelsea on Saturday and claimed a 0-0 draw, allowing Pellegrini's men to close the gap on the Premier League leaders to just six points.

Now it's the turn of the reigning Premier League champions to travel to the Stadium of Light, hoping they can improve on Chelsea's result in the North East.

Having won their last two league fixtures, Citywill be hoping to make it three out of three ahead of a tricky test against Everton on Saturday evening.


No Kompany

The 3-0 victory over Southampton came at a cost for Pellegrini, with Eliaquim Mangala picking up a red card and Vincent Kompany limping off with a hamstring problem.

Mangala's red means he's definitely out of the Sunderland clash, while Kompany is unlikely to be available, although his injury isn't thought to be long term.

In their absence Martin Demichelis will definitely start at the heart of defence, with Pellegrini set to chose between offering Dedryck Boyata a rare start or asking right-back Bacary Sagna to do a shift in central defence.

The former Arsenal man had played in the position on two occasions under Arsene Wenger, and when asked if he could move into the centre on a more permanent basis, Sagna answered: "Why not? I’m getting old and at right back you need to put in a lot more effort.

“I don’t know how long I can do that to my maximum so maybe one day I will be able to play centre-back.”

Midfield options

City's central midfield of pairing Yaya Toure and Fernandinho were almost faultless on Sunday, meaning they should again link up against Sunderland

The one man who could breach their partnership is Frank Lampard - the former Chelsea hero shone against Bayern and wrapped up an impressive cameo display against Southampton with Premier League goal number 174.

There could be changes out wide however, with James Milner likely to replace Jesus Navas on the right after the Spaniard's anonymous display at the weekend.

Injured trio

City are once again likely to be without the injured trio of David Silva, Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov.

Pellegrini had said prior to the Southampton game that Dzeko may be fit this week, but he's unlikely to be risked with games against Everton and the Champions League decider with Roma on the horizon.

Predicted line-up

Hart; Zabaleta, Sagna, Demichelis, Clichy; Milner, Fernandinho, Toure, Nasri; Jovetic, Aguero

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