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Sunderland vs. Manchester City

Stadium of Light

Sunday, 29th August

15:00 GMT

The VMC Match Preview: MCFC v Sunderland

Four games played, four clean sheets to show for it. City face a tough away-day trip to the Stadium of Light to face the Elephant Man's extremely up-and-down Sunderland side.

Vital Quotes:

Vincent Kompany:

"Of course you can lose to anyone at any time in the Premier League because the competition is so fierce but you must minimise those to be successful. Everyone has to step up their level to stay in the starting eleven that is one of the keys."

"There are no games in this league that are not important or that do not have a high intensity. Last year the Champions League fourth place was decided by two points and we just missed out. You cannot at any time let your guard down. Sunderland will present a big challenge and we have to make sure we are ready for it."

Steve Burce:

'One thing's for sure, we have to play well on the day. We played very well against them last year, we're at home and there will be a big crowd. City had a sticky start against Tottenham but make no mistake, with what's happened to their group of players they will be a huge threat to everyone this season."

'They will need time to adjust and gel, but when you're hand-picking the best players available you're always going to be a threat. I am confident we'll do well; we'll be giving our best shot. Our aim is to play well on the day to get the crowd behind us and make life as difficult as possible for City.'

Titus Bramble:

'They can rotate 6 or 7 players and still bring in top quality internationals. That's what we're up against and the lads are looking forward to it.

'I played against all the top sides with Wigan and no-one ever expected us to win. City can't just come here and stroll away with the three points and we have to prove that point. 'The first game of the season was fantastic. I'm sure the fans will be even better against a big team like Man City and I can't wait.'

Sunderland Team News:

Steve Bruce welcomes back Lee Cattermole and Michael Turner back into the side after competing their relative suspensions. Cattermole`s de Jong-like presence was dearly missed when The Mackem`s succumbed to defeat last week against West Brom. City loanee, Nedum Onouha is unavailable for selection due to loan terms whilst John Mensah will be forced to sit out with a hamstring injury. Craig Gordon is still out with a broken arm.

Possible Sunderland Team:

(4-4-2):

22) Mignolet
-
2) Bardsley - 4) Turner - 19) Bramble - 3) K Richardson
-
27) Elmohamady - 10) Henderson - 6) Cattermole - 8) Malbranque
-
11) Bent - 9) Campbell

Player to watch: Darren Bent

Bent is not everyone`s cup of tea or choice of striker but even his worst critics have to appreciate his Premier League goals to games ratio. The hit man has netted three times already this campaign and his acceleration and running in-behind defences will surely cause the likes of Kompany and Toure some problems. However, it is the striker finishing ability Mancini should fear the most as he truly is deadly from in-and-around the box.

Manchester City Team News:

City also have a number of absentees due to injury; Aleksandar Kolarov is out after damaging ankle ligaments and is not expected to return until early October. Jerome Boateng however, could be back in action much earlier after a 'trolly dolly` rammed her equipment into the German`s knee. The defender could make his City debut in less than two weeks after a speedy recovery. Wayne Bridge will be out with a broken toe for about another month whilst Michael Johnson is slowly but surely climbing the steep mountain to regain match fitness.

James Milner is expected to return to action after being ineligible in midweek whilst Mario Balotelli`s fitness will need to be assessed to see if the Italian can take his place on the bench. With all that in mind, I expect Mancini to opt with the same team that took Liverpool to the cleaners almost a week ago:

Possible City Team:

(4-2-3-1):

25) Hart
-
2) Richards - 28) K Toure - 4) Kompany - 19) Lescott
-
34) de Jong - 18) Barry
-
7) Milner - 42) Y Toure - 11) A. Johnson
-
32) Tevez

Player to watch: Adam Johnson

Johnson has fond memories of the Stadium of Light after salvaging his side a draw last season with a sublimely curled effort which was correctly named City`s 09/10 goal of the season. In only six months, Johnson has developed his game incredibly; going from a scrawny, raw talent to a menacing wing demon. His ability to go inside then out, using both feet before opting to deliver a cross or fire a shot makes the twenty three year old incredibly difficult to defend against. Surprisingly, Johnson has only scored one goal for the boys in Blue but expect that tally to increase this season.

Match Facts & Stats

City are one of only two Premier League sides yet to concede a goal, along with Chelsea.

Sunderland ended a run of nine successive defeats against Manchester City when they earned a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light in March.

There has not been a goalless draw between these sides in league football since 1938.

Steve Bruce's side have kept only one clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League fixtures. That was in a 1-0 win at Hull on 24 April.

They won only six league games on their travels last season, compared to 12 at Eastlands.

Match Prediction:

Vincent Kompany is completely correct, after a promising start to the season the boys need to stay focused, avoid complacency and ensure no cheap points are dropped. Sunderland are a decent side and the likes of Bent and Campbell will pose a threat up front. So far, we`ve kept four clean sheets in four games and this record needs to remain favourable throughout the season if we intend to challenge for the title. Anyway, I expect Mancini to go for the same side that demolished Liverpool. Possibly moving Yaya Toure slightly deeper into midfield. I expect a hard-fought game in which Sunderland will try to break City`s passing triangles. I predict Milner and Johnson to once again be the key down the flanks against two relatively average full backs in Bardsley and Richardson. Match Prediction: Sunderland 0 - 2 MCFC

Next Fixtures:

Saturday, 11th September v Blackburn @ 15:00 (H)
Thursday, 16th September v Red Bull Salzburg. EUROPE @ 19:00 (A)




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The journalist

Writer: bigal84 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 28 2010

Time: 12:00PM

Your Comments

With you on that prediction Scragg if the side can maintain the determined focus set so far this season. These are the sort of games we need to start winning regularly if we are to aspire to where we want to be this season.
Johnny Baguette
Another great preview Scragg and i even go along with you on the score prediction. Wont be easy though, Sunderland are a tough nut to crack on their home turf.
Thaibluefan
This won't be a stroll in the park but I think we have what it takes to come away with the three points .....we seem to have a stronger mental approach in the last couple of games and if we keep that up we should do well this season......
Doody
Balotelli not travelled, so we wont see him today, RM may play the same team that beat Liverpool, a very cautious manager not prone to playing an attacking field, and I expect Tevez again to be a lone ranger up front.
Buzz Lightyear
anyone hear any rumours about which England players have gagging orders? So frustrating to hear there're 3 of them, and we have no idea who! Is it anything to do with Gerrard and his sister in law?
The Horses Mouth
I understand the whole England squad were served with goalscoring gagging orders at the end of last season mate but other than that, not a clue!
Johnny Baguette
This will be tougher than the Liverpool match, mark my words. Elephant Man has riled the troops, they are fairly strong at home, and they will be up for it (unlike the Dippers). Potential banana skin here, would be delighted with a win, have to win these sort of matches which we drew too much last season.
StuMCFC
And we slipped on the banana, though it seems like the football gods hated us today. Open net missed and probably the save of the season by their reserve keeper.
StuMCFC
 

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