Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Manchester City - Sunderland Preview: Hosts must get back in the goals against bogey team

Stevan Jovetic Norwich City  Manchester City EPL 02082014
Manchester City can hardly be dubbed goal-shy but they welcome Sunderland on Wednesday after drawing blanks in their last two Premier League games.

Manuel Pellegrini's side have caught the eye with a series of pulsating attacking displays in the top flight this season and have scored more goals than anyone else in the division with 68 in 25 games.

The Chilean will be keen for his wealth of forward options to rediscover their free-scoring ways against Gus Poyet's men at the Etihad Stadium after a 1-0 defeat at home to fellow title challengers Chelsea was followed by a disappointing 0-0 draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.

City's barren run, albeit a minor blip, has coincided with an injury to star striker Sergio Aguero, who missed both games with a hamstring injury.

The Argentina international has 15 goals in 17 Premier League appearances this season but will be unavailable again on Wednesday, meaning that the onus will be on the likes of Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko to share the burden.

As well as Aguero being out, midfield duo Fernandinho (muscle) and Samir Nasri (knee) remain sidelined, while Javi Garcia is doubtful with a knock.

If recent history is anything to go by then City will have their work cut out against a Sunderland side whom they have beaten just once in their last five league encounters.

That triumph came in a 3-0 win in the corresponding game last season, with the last two meetings between the sides finishing 1-0 to the Black Cats, including November's reverse fixture.

But Sunderland travel to Manchester on the back of a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Hull City at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

In a further blow to Poyet's hopes, experienced centre-back Wes Brown starts a two-match suspension following his red card against Hull for chopping down Shane Long, who was through on goal.

However, that loss ended a run of seven matches unbeaten across all competitions and Sunderland are sure to prove a stern test as they look to improve their survival prospects.

As well as Brown's suspension, Poyet's men remain without goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (shoulder) and striker Steven Fletcher (Achilles).

Manchester City - Sunderland Preview: Hosts must get back in the goals against bogey team Rating: 4.5 Posted by: Unknown

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