Black Cats to get lucky
Manchester City v Sunderland - 12:45 - live on Sky Sports 2
Man City turn their attention back to domestic matters in the form of the Premier League following a late penalty from Mario Balotelli which gave them a point in the Champions League. Their opponents will be a rested up Sunderland who have been somewhat of a bogey team over recent seasons, however they are unbeaten in 32 Premier League home games but the Black Cats are one of three teams they have dropped points against in that run.
Man City (3/10) were extremely lucky in midweek against Dortmund and they were heavily indebted to keeper Joe Hart whose string of saves earned them a point. They are still unbeaten domestically but have failed to click properly this season and the quick turnaround in fixtures will likely test the depth of Mancini's squad as changes will have to be made.
Mancini will be eager to get his side back to winning ways to stop a gap opening up and also to stop the fans getting twitchy having not seen their side win at home since the 1st September. Joleon Lescott (20/1 First/Last, 7/1 Anytime) was rested in midweek and could be set for a return to a leaky defence and is always a threat going forward from set pieces. There will be a tough call on who starts up front for Man City as none of Sergio Aguero (7/2 First/Last, 10/11 Anytime), Carlos Tevez (7/2 First/Last, 10/11 Anytime) or Mario Balotelli (4/1 First/Last, Evs Anytime) have been firing as expected, they will come good soon and Sunderland will have to hope it's not today!
Sunderland (10/1, Draw 4/1) were the only side to take points of Manchester City at the Etihad last season as they took a 3-3 draw (a repeat is a huge 80/1) however they were so close to taking all of the spoils being 3-1 up with just 5 minutes to play. They have a good recent record against the Citizens too - in the last five games they have won 2, drawn 2 and lost just 1 and could take advantage of Man City's European exploits to snatch another draw.
Sunderland waited until the fifth game of the season again to record a first victory however this year they are looking a lot more resilient and can boast that unbeaten record. They also have one of the hottest strikers in the Premier League in Steven Fletcher (11/1 First/Last, 4/1 Anytime) with the Scottish international scoring all five of his sides Premier League goals. The hitman will need some support from his misfiring teammates and this would be the perfect opportunity for former Man City player Adam Johnson (16/1 First/Last, 6/1 Anytime) to show his old employers what they are missing, especially against a defence that has failed to keep a clean sheet all season.
I think if Sunderland can keep it tight at the back then they can take advantage of a tired Man City in order to claim another point on the road - a fourth successive Premier League draw on their travels. The Man City side isn't settled like last season and a 1-1 (10/1) and 2-2 (22/1) draws look good value so my banker would have to be both teams to score at 21/20 (7/10 not too). A similar script to last season looks plausible with City coming from behind to claim a share of the spoils, (Man City to come from behind and draw is a generous 14/1 or come from behind and win or draw at 9/2).
Don't forget we also have our regular offering of enhanced anytime wincasts on this game and every other Premier League game, Sergio Aguero to score and Man City to win is enhanced from 6/5 to 6/4, while Steven Fletcher to score in a Man City win gets a boost from 14/1 to 25/1!
Draw @ 4/1
Both teams to score @ 21/20
Worth a Punt
Adam Johnson anytime @ 6/1
Man City to come from behind and win or draw @ 9/2