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PREVIEW: Manchester City vs. Sunderland

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Here we go again...

Michael Regan

Sunderland Team News

Gus Poyet has a growing list of absentees for this one. Steven Fletcher remains out, Liam Bridcutt is unavailable due to the recent birth of his child (pfffft), and Phil Bardsley is suspended. There are also other minor injury concerns over a few others, including Carlos Cuellar who misses out with a hamstring injury. Some youngsters may be involved on the bench.

Manchester City Team News

The major injury news for the title-chasers is that midfield behemoth Yaya Toure will be missing from their line-up. Javi Garcia is expected to deputise.

Predicted Line-ups

<a href="http://sharemytactics.com/9714/" title="Click to view tactic"><img src="http://sharemytactics.com/9714/Sunderland-Manchester-City-formation-tactics.png" alt="Sunderland vs Manchester City - Football tactics and formations" /></a>

Key Match-up: Lee Cattermole vs. Fernandinho

With no Yaya in the side a lot of responsibility will lie with Fernandinho to distribute the ball in the final third. Cattermole will need to be at his best to limit the supply to City's many matchwinners.

Recent Form: WWWDWL

Win: Hull City 0-2 Manchester City

Win: Manchester City 5-0 Fulham

Win: Manchester United 0-3 Manchester City

Draw: Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City

Win: Manchester City 4-1 Southampton

Loss: Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City

Last Time Around: Manchester City 3-0 Sunderland 06/10/12

Goals from Aleksandar Kolarov, Sergio Aguero and James Milner gave City the most routine of routine wins at the start of last season when life was considerably more cheery.

Referee: Martin Atkinson

The League Cup final between these two teams may be but a distant memory now, but the referee will be the same as it was that day at Wembley.

What The Managers Said

Gus Poyet

The situation is difficult for Man City now because it's not in their hands. They cannot make any more mistakes.

There is pressure on them to win and I hope we can take advantage.

We need something special now. They are difficult games this week, but the idea is to make it difficult for the opposition and believe.

I don't want anyone complaining before the game starts. Don't feel sorry yourselves, just go and perform.

Manuel Pellegrini

I think it is very dangerous, the position that they are in the table - more dangerous than a match that was one month ago.

Sunderland are in a very bad position and they know they have to win.

Roker Report Predicts

Tough to see any miracles on the horizon right now and the hope would only hurt anyway. I'll got for a 4-1 City win.