Kick Off: 17:30pm GMT, 13th August 2016
Venue: The Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: Bobby Madley
Last Season: MCFC 4-1 SAFC
Dafabet Odds: MCFC - 1/4 Draw - 5/1 Sunderland - 11/1
The first game of the Premier League season is finally upon us and, well, I'm not really sure how I feel. The chaotic nature of this pre-season has seen my enthusiasm dip and rise far too many times for my liking and, on the back of the disappointing Lamine Kone situation, things took a mental turn this afternoon when David Moyes confirmed the signing of Adnan Januzaj from Manchester United and also that Kone will be offered a new contract once the transfer window is over.
Trying to focus on the game this weekend has been difficult. You do have to remember that we went right through pre-season unbeaten and ended the last campaign brilliantly, so there's that. Sunderland need to go to Manchester tomorrow and spoil the party for Pep Guardiola, with the eyes of the world firmly focused on watching how his expensively assembled team of superstars will perform against little Sunderland.
The expectation is that they'll crush us - just look at the bookies odds for a Sunderland win for an indication of what people outside of Wearside are hoping to see this weekend. City just spent more on John Stones than we have across the last two transfer windows. It's no surprise that many feel that Guardiola's side will toy with Sunderland as they look to score high and take the early initiative in the Premier League title race.
That's where we can prove to the world that Sunderland mean business this year, though. Even despite all of the carry on we've suffered in recent weeks we do have a hard working bunch of players and it's not entirely stupid to suggest that we will go there and frustrate them to a draw, is it?
David Moyes confirmed this afternoon in his press conference that he is without three of his central midfielders for tomorrow's game, which of course now means Sunderland will be forced to shuffle their pack after pre-season preparations hinged on the fitness of Lee Cattermole and Jan Kirchhoff, who are both missing.
Seb Larsson has been ruled out for six months due to injury, and that is a blow - it now means that Sunderland will have to recruit more players in that position if we are to be well covered.
Billy Jones will also miss the game, leaving the door open for Donald Love to make his debut at right back.
Also expected to make his debut is Paddy McNair, who will likely go into a makeshift central midfield alongside Wahbi Khazri and Jack Rodwell.
Predicted XI: Mannone, Van Aanholt, Kaboul, Kone, Love, Rodwell, McNair, Khazri, Borini, Lens, Defoe.
Jesus... I just don't know what to think anymore. I'll level with you - I already had this preview written but when David Moyes threw a spanner in the works with his press conference this afternoon it made me rethink a number of things.
The life of a Sunderland supporter, eh!
The game tomorrow should really be a certain Manchester City win but with so many new young players being thrown straight in tomorrow I honestly have no idea what on earth is going to happen.
2-1 Sunderland. There, I said it. We're going to win 2-1 and the winner will come from Joel Asoro.
I'm off to boil my head. Bye!