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BIG MATCH PREVIEW! SAFC v MCFC

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Can Big Sam's men cause an upset and take all three points against Manuel Pellegrini's title contenders?

Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Now that the transfer window has closed we now have a clear idea of just what Sam Allardyce has to work with and, because they were all signed before the cut-off point yesterday afternoon, all five of our January acquisitions are available for selection should we need them.

Sunderland need to learn how to defend, and need to learn fast. Staying up will be impossible if we don't start keeping clean sheets and taking more draws from games that we would usually be losing. Obviously, we'd love to be winning every game but being realistic, we won't, so ensuring we take something from our home games against sides like Manchester City would be a positive step in the right direction, win or no win.

Kick Off Tuesday, 2 February, 19:45

Venue Stadium Of Light

Last Season Sunderland 1-4 Manchester City

Odds H 13/2 D 7/2 A 1/2

Match Appointments

Referee Stuart Attwell

Assistants M Mullarkey & S Child

Fourth Official P Tierney

Team News

Sunderland

Sunderland have no new injury concerns following a weekend off, but the midweek clash with the Citizens will come too soon for Sebastian Larsson, whilst Younes Kaboul has an outside chance of making the match day squad.

New signings Lamine Kone, Steve Harper, Wahbi Khazri and Dame N'Doye are all available to make their debut.

Man City

Manchester City are without Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony.

Fit again Aleksandar Kolarov could return to Man City's starting line up.

Form

Sunderland

LLWWLD

23 Jan 2016 - Sunderland 1-1 AFC Bournemouth

16 Jan 2016 - Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Sunderland

13 Jan 2016 - Swansea City 2-4 Sunderland

02 Jan 2016 - Sunderland 3-1 Aston Villa

30 Dec 2015 - Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool

26 Dec 2015 - Manchester City 4-1 Sunderland

Man City

WDWDWW

30 Jan 2016 - Aston Villa 0-4 Manchester City

27 Jan 2016 - Manchester City 3-1 Everton

23 Jan 2016 - West Ham United 2-2 Manchester City

16 Jan 2016 - Manchester City 4-0 Crystal Palace

13 Jan 2016 - Manchester City 0-0 Everton

09 Jan 2016 - Norwich City 0-3 Manchester City

Fan Focus

Nayir Chowdhury of fellow SBNation site Bitter and Blue:

There are a few positions up in the air but I would predict Hart, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Sagna, Clichy, Fernandinho, Delph, Toure, Silva, Sterling, and Aguero in a 4-3-3. Sagna played at CB against Villa and it seems Pellegrini might want to do that again. If not, it'll be Demichelis. The only other position up for grabs is probably Delph's. I think he will start but if not, we'll see another attacker in the lineup in the form of either Navas or Iheanacho. I've got a good feeling going into this one with many players having hit good form recently. I'll go with 3-1 to City.

Read more of our interview with Nayir here.

Manager Craic

Sam Allardyce:

"He's (Agüero) the big difference between what Man City have been doing in terms of results.

"He seems to be the man who turns games in their favour on a very regular basis so we need to stop that threat he has; one by the service and two by getting two or three men around him when he does get the ball to try and stop his goal-scoring ability, which at this moment in time is outstanding."

This Season's Reverse Fixture

Head To Head

26 Dec 2015 - Manchester City 4-1 Sunderland

01 Jan 2015 - Manchester City 3-2 Sunderland

03 Dec 2014 - Sunderland 1-4 Manchester City

16 Apr 2014 - Manchester City 2-2 Sunderland

10 Nov 2013 - Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City

Stats & Facts

Head-to-head

Manchester City's 4-1 win at the Stadium of Light last season ended a run of four consecutive 0-1 away defeats to Sunderland.

Fifteen goals have been scored in the last three league fixtures between the sides - all of them won by Manchester City.

Sunderland

Sunderland have taken seven points from the last 12 available to them (W2, D1, L1).

They have claimed only four points from a possible 33 against sides in the top half (W1, D1, L9).

Sunderland have conceded a league-high 46 goals, an average of two goals per game.

Ex-Manchester City winger Adam Johnson has provided a league-high three assists since the turn of the year.

Manchester City

Manchester City are unbeaten in six league games, taking 12 points from a possible 18 during this period.

They have only won four of their 11 away league matches, although they have recorded a league-high six clean sheets on their travels.

City have scored a league-high 11 goals from outside the penalty area.

Sergio Aguero is the Premier League's joint-top scorer in 2016, along with Sunderland's Jermain Defoe. Both have scored five goals.

Manuel Pellegrini will become the third person to manage 100 Manchester City Premier League matches, after Roberto Mancini (133) and Kevin Keegan (105).

Prediction

See, I really do not know where this one will go. I know the neutral perspective is probably that we're going to be totally dominated from start to finish but for some reason the signing of Wahbi Khazri has given me a renewed sense of optimism. I'm going for a 1-1 draw.