Fan Focus: We're Off To See The Citizens

Laurence Griffiths - Getty Images

It's time for another edition of Fan Focus, the Roker Report feature that really lets you know that matchday is just around the corner. This week we welcome Bitter and Blue, SB Nation's Manchester City site, your one-stop-shop for all of your City needs. Be sure to check them out.

With six Premier League played you're sat in fourth position with 12 points, are you happy with how the season has started?

Bitter And Blue: On the whole, yes. Perhaps it was inevitable that as title holders, anything less than a fast start would result in questions being asked as to what has gone wrong.

Looking at the table they are well placed, unbeaten and have played better than they have been given credit for. Unlike last season though, there have been lapses in concentration and errors that has cost them.

All told, it's been a satisfactory start.

Despite looking excellent going forward, there have been times where you have scored and sat back, leading to you conceding (Arsenal, Real Madrid) - is this something that is causing you problems?

BAB: I'd disagree it has been a case of sitting back. Certainly in Madrid (and also against Dortmund) there was an argument that they should have deployed a more defensive set up, but whereas they closed games out superbly there has been an issue with concentration that has cost them.

How did you rate your summer in the transfer market? Which of the new boys has made the biggest impact so far?

BAB: It's all very early of course, but slightly underwhelming given the players who have arrived in previous summers. All are still finding their feet but none have made you sit up and think they will dominate.

I have been impressed with Nastasic in his limited minutes. He seems like a big upgrade on Savic and looks like he could settle quickly.

Many people would argue that they wouldn't expect Sinclair or Rodwell to see much playing time. Do you think they are there to be in the first team?

BAB: Not immediately. They will see playing time (and more than people assume) but they will be brought along fairly slowly with the hope they develop over the next couple of seasons.

How do you rate Sunderland's transfer activity?

BAB: I may be wrong but it looks like O'Neill has bought players to specifically fit his system.

Johnson will be a good addition opposite McClean if he can add consistency to his game, something that was missing from his time at City for all the outside plaudits he received.

After some flaky attacking signings in recent times it appears as though Fletcher could be a very good signing. We know he can score goals at the lower end of the table so the challenge will be if he can now do it at a higher level.

The final minutes of last season were incredible. Is anything other than retaining the title going to be seen as a failure this season?

BAB: They are now at the stage where trophies are expected. Success brings expectation and having won the title, repeating is the principal focus of the season despite all of the other competitions.

We managed to take four points from you last season, and were leading the game at the Etihad for long periods. What did you make of us last term?

BAB: From what I remember you took your chances well at City. They weren't a whole lot of opportunities but it was a big shock given how City had dominated, but you could argue it was a point that ended up being so crucial in the end!

Bruce needed to go. The team wasn't progressing and once you lose the crowd it is very difficult to turn things round and O'Neill gave the side an immediate boost.

And have you seen much of us this time around?

BAB: Aside from a couple of times on MoTD I can't say I have. You look set up well and possess a threat going forward from what I saw though.

Do any memorable Manchester City v Sunderland games stick in your head... For either good or bad reasons?

BAB: Not that you'll want reminding, but I guess but the two wins at home in the seasons you set record low points totals stand out. Both were fairly late on and you looked a demoralised side, although the fans had that resigned humour you glean from such situations.

Looking at the game itself, which of your many incredible strikers can we expect to see at the weekend?

BAB: Aguero will be a cert and after sitting the past couple of games I see Tevez being brought back with Balotelli and Dzeko on the bench. That said, trying to second guess Mancini is a difficult task!

And do you expect there to be a part of the Sunderland side that you will be looking to exploit?

BAB: I think, especially at home, City will look to play 'their' game. David Silva has been very good the past couple of games, so I expect him to get the ball early and bring in the rest of the attack.

With a squad as strong as yours, is there anyone in the Sunderland team that you don't fancy coming up against?

BAB: I'm a huge fan of Steven Fletcher. Being keen on the analytics side of football I was interested to see if he could maintain his conversion rate at a bigger side who can create more. So far he has done - and I can see him scoring for sure.

And finally, can we get a prediction from you?

BAB: City to win and, while I think Sunderland have a goal in them, I'll take City to get the first clean sheet in a tight 1-0 win.

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