Merry Christmas to one and all from the whole of the Roker Report team. Will Santa deliver us a surprise this year? Seems like every club is pulling shock results off left right and centre all season, except us.... Oh, and Villa. Any hopes of Boxing being the day of a shock result have melted away fast with the latest injury news. The most alarming thing of it is how 4 injuries and a suspension can look and make us look so weak on paper. Rivals like the Mags have had up to 10 long term injures most of the season and are trying to compete. Could we even put a team out with 10 injuries? We're struggling badly with the gaps we have. This where my Christmas wish comes into play and it's not to Mr Claus.
Dear Mr Short,
We fans have been extremely good again this season averaging a very impressive 42,000 for home fixtures. Our die hard followers travel the length and breadth of the country selling out away game after away game. Even the derby game went off with very few incidents and we once more collected a win.
The thing you need to understand Mr Short is had you bought the club a few miles up the road, the bed sheets would have been out and you'd have been met with indignant protests long ago.
But instead you purchased a club with one of the best fan bases and facilities in the country and you've failed. You've failed by continuously surrounding yourself with the wrong people. You've failed in spending the club's money wisely. You've failed in keeping us competitive with our rivals and now you're failing in keeping us up.
The January window is upon us and our last chance of adding to a squad which is only going one way at the moment. The scenario where a Manager comes to you and says 'I want this much' has been and gone. That was Dick Advocaat who pleaded after every game for you to do the necessary. You refused and we lost our head coach. Now the time has come for you to give the manager what he needs. Whether it be it 10m or 50m When Sam asks for it you better believe we need it. Without it you are going to relegate this wonderful and truly great club.
My patience with your running of our football club ran out a long time ago. Since then, you continued to starve our squad of what is required.
My Christmas wish is for you to wake up and smell the coffee Mr Short and show the same commitment from your cheque book which you expect from the team on the pitch. You are in the process of relegating us unless you do something. Everything is in your hands Mr Short and with that comes the responsibility. I urge you Mr Short to do what is necessary to ensure that it's not too late. You're abusing our club and our loyal well behaved fanbase by undernourishing us. It's in your hands Mr Short.
Yours with dread,
A very fearful fan,
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistants: R West & S Ledger
Fourth Offical: C Boyeson
Vincent Kompany is available for selection after a long lay off. Pablo Zabaleta and Fernando are also available for selection while Samir Nasri remains sidelined
Sunderland are without Younes Kaboul, Seb Larrson and Adam Mathews.
Lee Cattermole has an outside chance of making the match squad while Jack Rodwell is suspended.
Mon 21 Dec
Sat 19 Dec
What Big Sam Has To Say
"We are faced with the types of pressures that come with being talked about as relegation candidates week in and week out, about people being dissatisfied with our performances, which if you lose football matches, is going to happen.
"We would have been ahead of ourselves a couple of weeks ago when we got back-to-back wins and we got three wins out of six, but now we have slipped back again to being under where I would have liked us to have been, on the basis that we have lost too many games instead of drawing a few."
Man City 2-2 Sunderland
We look back to the Great Escape of 2014 where Connor Wickham struck twice at the Etihad to keep our survival hopes alive.
Last Corresponding Fixture
Manchester City 3-2 Sunderland
Last 10 League Games
Facts 'n' Stats
- Manchester City are unbeaten at home against Sunderland in the top flight for 13 matches spanning 34 years, winning 10, drawing three and scoring 36 goals.
- Sunderland last won at Manchester City in January 1998 in the second tier. Their last top-flight away victory in this fixture came in December 1981.
- City have only taken seven points from their last six matches (W2, D1, L3).
- They have already lost five league games this season. No side has won the title after losing as many times by Christmas since Everton in 1986-87.
- Manchester City have won 15 of their 19 Premier League home games in 2015 (D1, L3).
- However, Manuel Pellegrini's side could go eight successive league matches without a clean sheet at home for the first time since 1991.
- Sergio Aguero's last 11 Premier League goals have all been scored at the Etihad Stadium.
- Sunderland have lost their last three Premier League games - they haven't fared worse since a five-match run ending in April last year.
- They have earned just one win and five points in their last 11 away games (W1, D2, L8).
- The Black Cats have won only two of their last 10 Premier League Boxing Day matches (D4, L4).
- The team that has been 19th in the Premier League on Christmas Day has gone on to be relegated in each of the last four years.
- Sunderland have conceded a league-high 33 goals and have allowed their opponents the most attempts on target (106) in the Premier League this season.
- Jermain Defoe has scored six goals in 10 Premier League appearances on Boxing Day.