Manchester City: Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho & Samir Nasri - Out; Javi Garcia - Doubtful
Sunderland: Carlos Cuellar, Steven Fletcher & Keiren Westwood - Out
Manchester City: None
Sunderland: Wes Brown
Form - Last five games
Manchester City: WWWLD
After their mini drought, Sunderland would have been the absolute last side Man City would have wanted to play next. Since Man City fell into a bottomless pit of money most teams have not been able to stand in their path, Sunderland have and not just once either. In the last six matches these two sides have played, Sunderland have beaten City three times, drawing once and losing twice.
In those matches, Sunderland's main tactic was to get all 11 men behind the ball and then hit City when they are vulnerable; therefore I would expect Sunderland to use to same tactic that has served them so well recently.
With this in mind, City will be dreading playing Sunderland. They are without several first attackers who give them a different dimension to the way they play and although the likes of David Silva, Yaya Toure, Jesus Navas and Negredo are available, it is all of a sudden rather predictable to work out what City are going to do next - two blanks in front of goal in the last two matches certainly suggest so.
If City's woes in front of goal continue, former City player Adam Johnson must fancy himself against left back Kolarov or Gael Clichy. Johnson has been in great form of late and as both City left backs are susceptible to letting players get in behind them, Johnson is due to continue his great form.
Whether or not that will be enough will depend on what Sunderland can do at the back. It is a no brainer Sunderland will be under the cosh for most of the match, City's attack may be depleted, but there is still more than enough to down a team like Sunderland on a good day.
With Brown out, in comes Argentine center back Santiago Vergini. Much is unknown about him but he is a tall center back and along with John O'Shea who is also a man mountain, you would assume it is out of the question Negredo and Dzeko (presuming they are the preferred duo) will physically out-muscle the Sunderland pair.
Instead, I believe Jesus Navas will hold the key to any goal, at least that is if Marcos Alonso plays. Alonso who is a left back has been dribbled 7 times already since coming to Sunderland in January. He is good going forward but abysmal at the back. Granted Sunderland will remain camped in their own area, therefore Navas is unlikely to get many clear sightings of Alonso on a one on one. Still, as most of Man City's attacks are based on the right, I would expect Navas to have enough chances to create a key opening.
Furthermore, with Sunderland's midfield not being the biggest nor the best at tackling, Yaya Toure should overcome the recent negativity surrounding his name to produce a big performance.
Manchester City 2-1 Sunderland