Sunderland will be in for a big test on Sunday as they welcome second-placed Manchester City to the Stadium of Light in the match week 27 of the Premier League.
David Moyes’ side are rotting at the bottom of the table and look destined for the drop. Sunderland will be licking their wounds from a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Everton last weekend and a positive result against Pep Guardiola’s team seems extremely unlikely. City will come into the game high on confidence after thrashing Huddersfield Town 5-1 in the FA Cup.
The two clubs have met twice this season, once on the opening day of the league when City won 2-1 and a month later in the third round of the EFL Cup where Sunderland were thrashed 4-1. David Moyes will look at the fixture as an opportunity to go all out, with nothing to lose and we could be in for a few surprises in the team selection.
The Black Cats have been hit hard by injuries, with as many as 10 players on the treatment table for them. Jason Denayer will have recovered from his illness but will be ineligible to play against his parent club. Jack Rodwell and Billy Jones’ involvement is doubtful along with Jan Kirchhoff and Victor Anichebe, Paddy McNair and Duncan Watmore remain long-term absentees.
Sunderland predicted line-up to face Manchester City:
Jordan Pickford (GK)
The Englishman has been the Black Cats’ brightest spot this term. He will rightfully take his place in goal against Pep Guardiola’s side.
Javi Manquillo (RB)
The Spaniard is expected to come into the fray after Billy Jones suffered a head injury against Everton late in the game last weekend.
Lamine Kone (CB)
Has been a stalwart at the back for Sunderland this season. He will have his work cut out to contain a buzzing Manchester City attack led by Sergio Aguero.
John O’Shea (CB)
The captain of the team is a sure starter. His experience and know-how will be key for Moyes’ side if they are to come out with something on Saturday.
Bryan Oviedo (LB)
The former Everton man has straight away gone into the playing XI post his arrival in January. He should start once again on Sunday at the Stadium of Light.
Adnan Januzaj (RM)
The Manchester United loanee hasn’t had the best of spells in the Wearside. But the chance of getting one over United’s derby rivals should fire him up for the occasion.
George Honeyman (CM)
The 22-year old could provide the legs and energy that Sunderland lacked against Everton last week. With Jason Denayer unavailable, expect him to replace Darren Gibson in the starting XI.
Sebastian Larsson (CM)
The senior pro does not possess the energy and pace and will be in for a tough test against the City midfield. But Moyes trusts the Swede and he will feature from the get-go at home.
Didier N’Dong (CM)
Gave a good account of himself against Everton last weekend. He will be tasked with providing the thrust forward for Sunderland against the Citizens.
Fabio Borini (LM)
Sunderland’s primary attacking outlet. When he is fit and available Borini is a definite starter and expect it to stay the same come Sunday.
Jermain Defoe (ST)
A no-brainer here. Defoe is their leading goalscorer and can prove to be in a shaky Manchester City defence with his smart movement and expert finishing.