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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Sunderland vs. Manchester City

The Stadium of Light

26/12/12

15h00 GMT

The Black Cats versus The Citizens

A Merry Christmas to VMCers everywhere. City are in the hotel on Tyne and Wear ready for the next must win festive fixture...

Vital Quotes:

Martin O'Neill:
'These are big games and you shouldn't fear the games. You should go into these particular matches knowing that even at home you're the underdog. The games are very, very tough for us, but they're ones to look forward to rather than worry about.

'The reason the Christmas period has become so important is the number of games in quick succession. It took us eight or nine weeks to complete six or seven games with international breaks...suddenly now you're playing four games in quick succession and it can make a major difference to the course of the season.'


Roberto Mancini:
'I've forgotten everything about Sunderland (last New Year's Day). We lost the last two games there in the last minute. Always in the last minute. It's better that we don't think about what happened last time.

'Both games up there we played very well, we had lots of chances to score. But we lost both games because we were trying to win in the last second. We were attacking and conceded on two counter attacks. That is our mentality. If we can play like we did last year we have a big chance. But we know it will be tough.'

Sunderland Team News:

OUT:
Wes Brown
Lee Cattermole

LATE FITNESS TEST:
Sebastian Larsson
Adam Johnson

Player to watch: Steven Fletcher

Should the obvious choice of AJ fail to shake of a dead leg then wily Fletcher is going to have to be the one to watch. The 25 year old Scot has already notched 8 crucial goals for Sunderland this season following his 12,000,000 summer transfer from Wolves. An old style poacher who will need close attention.

Manchester City Team News:

OUT:
Maicon
Aleksander Kolarov
Gael Clichy
Micah Richards
Jack Rodwell
John Guidetti
Samir Nasri

LATE FITNESS TEST:
Vincent Kompany

Player to watch: David Silva

Rested, revived and back to his strings pulling best, Merlin is threatening an almighty performance any day now. 121 appearances for City in the bag, the 26 year old has many more kilometres to go on his clock as the club aims to build a dynasty.

Match Facts & Stats

THE NUMBERS GAME:
Sunderland beat City 1-0 at home in controversial circumstances on New Years Day via an injury time Ji Dong-Won winner. He has hardly been seen since. Oddly, our Boxing Day referee Kevin Friend oversaw that spectacularly offside goal.

The last goalless draw between The Black Cats and The Citizens took place in 1938.

The Mackems have won only 2 out of their last 15 games against City and both came in the last two season's home fixtures.

The Blues are the only Premier League team still unbeaten in away matches this season with 4 wins and 4 draws.

City, with 21 net bulgers, have scored the most goals in the final 30 minutes of league games this season. In the last 15 minutes of matches they have knocked in 11.

Sunderland have won only 1 of their last 8 Boxing Day games.

HEAD TO HEAD:
League: 57 City Wins, 21 Draws, 45 Sunderland Wins
FA Cup: 4 City Wins, 2 Draws, 2 Sunderland Wins
League Cup: 0 City Wins, 1 Draw, 1 Sunderland Win
Other Cup: 1 City Win, 0 Draws, 0 Sunderland Wins
Total: 62 City Wins, 24 Draws, 48 Sunderland Wins

THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME:
Sa 06Oct 2012 Man City 3 - 0 Sunderland PL
Sa 31Mar 2012 Man City 3 - 3 Sunderland PL
Su 01Jan 2012 Sunderland 1 - 0 Man City PL
Su 03Apr 2011 Man City 5 - 0 Sunderland PL
Su 29Aug 2010 Sunderland 1 - 0 Man City PL

BETTING: Sunderland 8/2 Draw 3 City 8/15 Racing Post Soccerbase

TV COVERAGE: BBC Match Of The Day
LiveOnSat.com

CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE GAME LIVE IN THE VMC FORUM

CLASSIC CITY: Sunderland v Manchester City, Sep 18th 1976

Ref Watch:

Kevin Friend from Leicestershire 4th Official K Wright. -Last Season: We 21Sep 2011 Man City 2 - 0 Birmingham CC, Su 01Jan 2012 Sunderland 1 - 0 Man City PL, We 11Apr 2012 Man City 4 - 0 West Brom PL -This Season: Su 12Aug 2012 Chelsea 2 - 3 Man City CS --2011/12: 33 Games, 120 Yellows, 3 Reds -2012/2013: 15 Games, 58 Yellows, 2 Reds.

Match Prediction:

Johnny On The Spot: This is a game to be wary of regardless of what we see in expert print. It's one that Mancio will have earmarked as a tricky fixture to negotiate at the season's outset. Sunderland are another side who tend to raise their game against City and at home, with their tremendous support behind them must never be taken lightly. However, The Blues have The Stretfords in their sights and have shown already this year that they like the thrill of the chase. This correspondent still believes that come the game where they score early, they'll go on to win comfortably. I'm banking on City's superior firepower taking the spoils despite the by now routine sizeable injury list. Sunderland 0 City 2

Next Fixtures:

all times East Manchester
Sa 29Dec 15h00 Norwich, Carrow Road, PL
Tu 01Jan 15h00 Stoke, The Etihad, PL
Sa 05Jan 15h00 Watford, The Etihad, FAC
Su 13Jan 16h00 Arsenal, The Emirates, PL
Sa 19Jan 15h00 Fulham, The Etihad, PL
Tu 29Jan 19h45 QPR, Loftus Road, PL




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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 25 2012

Time: 1:31AM

Your Comments

Merry Xmas All, looking forward to the game. Chattermole out will help us. Hope the boys are focused and Mancini attacks, this should be a win.
Barney Daniels
 

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