Sunderland v Manchester City Betting Tip & Odds: Pretty much expecting a Manchester City bounce back. How many games can you see them going without scoring a goal? After they were shut out in the last game, you would expect them to find the back of the net this time out, and with Sunderland lacking goals, that should at least secure a point for City. Would comfortably take a Manchester City -1 Asian Handicap for Evens at Bet365 for a bit of value and coverage.
EPL Match Preview: Can Sunderland make City fire blanks at the Stadium of Light on New Year’s Day? That is what they will be hoping, because keeping a clean sheet may be the Black Cats’ only way to three points here. There is such an imbalance of fire power shown between these two sides, City firing in 53 goals this season compared to Sunderland’s 22. So it hardly suggest that Sunderland are going to out gun City in an open game, so they will be hoping to do what West Brom managed to do at the Hawthorns against City on Boxing Day, and that is stop City from scoring. City dropped more valuable away points on Boxing Day, their third away match in a row where they have dropped points. Are the wheels starting to come off the challenge of City for the title? Are they feeling the pressure from the upward swing in form from Manchester United? City can’t really afford to drop points on New Year’s Day, as they are level on points with United at the top of the league. Sunderland are also flirting with the relegation zone, and can neither afford to see points go down the drain, so that is why a big defensive effort is expected from them. The impetus will be on City to go and break down the home side, and boss Roberto Mancini will be hoping that his strikers find their range again after firing blanks at West Brom.
Sunderland Form: Sunderland look as if they might just be turning a corner and starting find more wins, but those are not coming easily at the moment. After just two wins in their opening fourteen league matches this year, Sunderland have notched up two in their last four. Granted those were tight victories against Blackburn and QPR, but they have picked up those valuable points nonetheless because they were in need of them. There has been just one defeat in the last four for Sunderland, who really could use a boost of firepower, but at least points are starting to come their way. The Black Cats have not been as solid or as strong as people were anticipating them to be, and at the Stadium of Light this year, they have managed just two wins, along with four draws and three defeats. That is just a 22% success rate at home, not great stats there. But they are undefeated in their last two at home, so that is something to build upon, and they have scored in their last three home matches as well. On the flip side of that, they have also conceded in their last three home matches, so they are having to work hard for their rewards. Sunderland have netted thirteen times in their nine home matches this season at a rate of 1.44 per game. They have conceded eleven though and that has been their problem, definitely not being as tight at the back as they were supposed to be. Sunderland have conceded an average of 1.2 goals per game at home, and have only managed one home clean sheet. Sunderland haven’t been prolific up front, but their best period for scoring has come in the last fifteen minutes of games. They have conceded and scored most of their goals in the second half of matches, and have only opened the scoring in 33% of all their matches this season. So that suggests that if they get behind to City, then they are going to struggle to get anything out of the game. Sebastian Larsson has been the most effective in front of goal for the Black Cats this season, with five goals, backed up with three each from Sesegnon and Bendtner. Certainly nothing prolific there. Sunderland’s most frequent score lines at home have been 2-2 draws and 2-1 defeats.
Manchester City Form: Are there signs of a stumble at the Etihad Stadium? Well there have been five dropped points in their last four matches, and suddenly points are starting to slip through City’s hands. The Blues have already seen their rivals Man Utd pull level on points with them at the summit of the Premier League and now they have to go and face another tricky away test on New Year’s Day. The other title contenders will have already played by then, so City will know the situation ahead of kick off at the Stadium of Light. City dropped two points on Boxing Day, when they found West Brom in a stubborn mood at the Hawthorns. City are actually now on a run of three away fixtures in the Premier League without a win, drawing against Liverpool and West Brom, and suffering that defeat at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea, which broke their unbeaten run from the start of the season. Overall in the Premier League this season, Man City have won five, drawn three and lost one match away from home, so they are going along at a 55% success rate on the road. But it is their recent away form which may be a bit troubling to boss Roberto Mancini. Equally as interestingly, West Brom became the first team to shut Manchester City out completely this season, something which is obviously not easily done. City have rattled in 25 away goals this season, which is an average of 2.78 goals per match, but they have been guilty of lapses at the back, conceding an average of 1.2 goals per game away from home. So opponents do get a look in, however, the Man City attack usually wins out on the day. 78% of all Man City’s away games have ended Over 2.5 goals. Manchester City are a very strong second half side in the goal scoring department, of that there is no doubt. 70% of all their league goals have come in the second half of games, and they have kept things so very tight in the first half of matches at the back. City have conceded just four first half goals this season. Sergio Aguero is the man leading the goal scoring charts with 13 goals, with Edin Dzeko stuck on 10 behind him, and Mario Balotelli back on 8. There has been such a valuable team contribution going forward, that you do expect City to win out more often than not, not matter how many they concede. But things are getting just a little bit sticky away from home for them.
Head to Head: Sunderland lead the head to head between these two at home, winning 35 of the 65 meetings between the two there. City have picked up just 18 wins at Sunderland in their history. However, the home side will have fond memories last season’s corresponding fixture, as they ran out 1-0 winners over City, before City hammered the Black Cats 5-0 back in Manchester. While City haven’t picked up a win in their last two trips to the Stadium of Light, before that, they did win the previous four matches there in a row. So while the stats suggest that Sunderland should get on the score sheet, you have to look at the current firepower which City have and would back them to get ahead.
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