3rd April 2011
Manchester City will have a great chance to increase their advantage over the fifth-placed Tottenham, but they are definitely in for a difficult task, even if Sunderland have been struggling of late. Having taken just one point from last six league games, the Black Cats are very motivated to finally end the dismal run.
Manchester City are starting to feel ill-effects of the big number of games they played this season and Roberto Mancini could regret the fact that he hadn’t rotated his players more during the season. The Citizens have not only been eliminated from Europa League, but they have started to struggle in the Premiership as well, with their Champions League spot now in real danger. City have continued their good home run, but games against Fulham, Wigan, Reading and Dynamo Kiev at Eastlands proved that they are no longer as convincing as in the first part of the season and the side like Sunderland are likely to cause them problems. On top of that, Roberto Mancini still struggles to control his star-studded squad, which is one of the reasons why the Citizens are still not playing to their potential. Carlos Tevez will undergo late fitness check, but he should be fit to feature, unlike Shay Given, Kolo Toure, Jerome Boateng and Micah Richards.
Sunderland’s heavy investments in the playing squad have finally started to pay off this season as the Black Cats proved on numerous occasions they can match even the best sides in the league, and it was really remarkable how Steve Bruce’s side just kept going despite numerous injury problems. However, the busy schedule finally caught up with them and Sunderland slowly started slipping down the Premier League standings. In all fairness, the difficult fixture list played a part in their latest poor run of form but that cannot be an excuse for the fact they picked up just one point from last six games. Nonetheless, the international break is expected to have a very positive effect on the players as it gave them the chance to recharge their batteries and that was exactly what they needed to turn this season around. The visitors will be without Onuoha, Meyler, Richardson and Turner, but that shouldn’t be too big a problem.
Manchester City are still not playing to their potential and after struggling against bottom table sides at Eastlands, I am not convinced they can win this game. Sunderland boast an excellent record against the top table sides this season and I can see them getting at least one point from Manchester.
Verdict: Draw (X)
Best Odds: 16/5
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