Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Saturday March 13 2010
The Stadium Of Light
Sunday 14th March 2010
Back to business at last after a seemingly never ending two week wait! Planet Blue turns it's attention to Sunderland with great expectations
'Now is a vital time for us. There are 11 games to go but it's important that we look back to how we played last time, especially how we kept our concentration against Chelsea.
'We will need that, but we defended very well against them and that's what I want for the rest of the season. We have to really want to reach that fourth place, and show that in the way we play each game, starting on Sunday.
'That's the reason for everything we will do now for the rest of this season. We have a lot of experienced, international players who will be important but all our players will need to play a big part. We have a good chance, we have games in hand over Tottenham and Liverpool, but it all depends on us. It won't be easy, so we'll have to keep our focus every time we play.
'There will be no such thing as an easy game for the rest of the season - they just don't exist! Every one of these last 11 games will be difficult.'
'They have had a meteoric rise and have brought in some excellent players thanks to the investment they have there. We need to be at our best to get something from a very good Manchester City side.'
'I've played at the Stadium of Light. Stewie Downing missed a penalty, which he won't thank me for saying, and we got beat. I'm hoping it will be a lot different on Sunday. We need the points with fourth place in mind. It'll be good to go back though I'll probably get a mixed reception as a former Boro player. But I've a soft spot for Sunderland, and all the north-east teams.'
'The thing now is for us to make sure we keep calling on the spirit that we showed at Chelsea, and continue to play the way we are doing. We must show that same character and personality so that we can win the game at Sunderland and keep up our challenge for the fourth place.'
Nigel De Jong:
'English competition suits me better than German or Dutch at the moment, so I am happy to be here and willing to give 100 per cent again this weekend. For me there is no holding back - not until I go back to Holland for a game. If you hold back you are going to get injured or get a red card. When it's a 50-50 you have to go for it 100 per cent.'
VMC City Video Link: Mancio Sunderland Press Conference
Sunderland skipper Lorik Cana is suspended for two games having racked up 10 bookings this season.
David Meyler is available after his own ban, but Lee Cattermole, Kieran Richardson and Jordan Henderson are doubtful. Cattermole is the more likely to start.
Bent is in a rich vein of form having scored 19 goals for The Black Cats this season including a hat-trick over nose-diving Bolton in midweek.
The excellent duo of Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott must contain Bent in order to ensure City come away with those crucial points.
Looking good at the City treatment table after a two week rest.
Only Michael Johnson and Martin Petrov remain injured with Emmanuel Adebayor suspended.
Patrick Vieira returns to the squad.
Tevez is City's talisman and driving force.
Firing on all cylinders again after an absence that saw him sorely missed, he's almost certain to score more than 30 goals for City this season.
Away from home and alongside Craig Bellamy, he is the man best equipped to wrestle opposition defences into submission as he showed in London last time out.
City have won 9 consecutive league games against The Mackems.
Sunderland have the worst disciplinary record in the Premier League. That's 63 yellow and 6 red cards and counting.
There is a myth that City struggle against allegedly lesser opposition. The Blues' only defeat in the last 16 matches against sides in the current bottom 10 of the Premier League came at Hull in February.
The Citizens have lost only 4 league games this season.
Going into this game The Blues have 14 more points than the same stage last season with a game in hand.
Carlos 'El Apache' Tevez has scored a superb 21 goals in 28 City starts.
Follow the action and debate Live in the VMC Match Day Forum!: MATCHDAY THREAD: Sunderland v Man City - Sun March 14 - KO: 16:00 UK Time
C J Foy Merseyside Mr. Foy takes charge of his fourth City game this season. He reffed City in Eastlands wins over Arsenal (League Cup when Arsenal's discipline collapsed), Blackburn and West Ham. He's overseen two defeats for The Black Cats including their 7-2 humiliation at Chelsea. A more reserved card flourisher than we've had of late and Sunderland's record this season could see him a busy man on Sunday.Current season record: Games:28, Yellow Cards:80 Red Cards:5
And so City embark upon a crucial run of games this month. If anything, all three are must win games. With almost a full deck of players to choose from and games in hand on our fourth place rivals following that superb win at Chelsea, opportunity knocks for Mancio and his men. Sunderland ended a terrible run with a resounding victory in midweek but I fully expect them to be beaten by a rested City side who now know what they are capable of. Having battled back into a terrific position again, anything less will be unacceptable.Johnny On The Spot: Sunderland 0 CITY 3
A: Fulham, Sun 21 Mar 15h00 GMT
H: Everton, Wed 24 Mar 19h45 GMT
H: Wigan, Mon 29 Mar 20h00 GMT
Date:Saturday March 13 2010
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