Free-scoring Manchester City will be plotting to heap more misery on struggling Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have scored 12 goals in their last two games against Norwich and CSKA Moscow, meaning Sunderland – who sit second-bottom in the Premier League – are likely to have their work cut out as they go in search of just their second win of the season.
City will be full of confidence having qualified for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League for the first time with a 5-2 beating of CSKA in midweek – a result that followed up a 7-0 hammering of Norwich last Saturday.
But they must address their away form if they are to challenge for the Premier League title, having won just once in five matches on their travels this term.
Pellegrini’s men will also need to improve their poor recent record at Sunderland. The 2011-12 champions have lost 1-0 on each of their last three top-flight trips to the Stadium of Light.
However, in Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo, City have a strike duo in fine form.
Aguero was named Premier League player of the month on Friday, after scoring nine goals in his last six games in all competitions.
Negredo, meanwhile, scored a hat-trick in the victory over CSKA, meaning he has five goals in his last three matches.
Negredo’s Spain international team-mate David Silva will play no part against Sunderland, though, after he was ruled out for up to a month with a calf injury sustained against CSKA.
The playmaker joins captain Vincent Kompany (thigh) and striker Stevan Jovetic (calf) on the sidelines, while Brazil international Fernandinho and centre-back Matija Nastasic will undergo fitness tests after they picked up knocks in midweek.
Second-bottom Sunderland failed to build on their 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Newcastle in Gus Poyet’s first home match in charge when they were beaten at Hull City last weekend.
A League Cup victory over Southampton in midweek was a tonic for Poyet’s charges, but they need to start picking up points in the league if they are to avoid a relegation scrap.
Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is a doubt after missing their midweek victory with concussion, but Wes Brown could make his first top-flight start since January 2012 after featuring against Southampton.
Striker Steven Fletcher is set to return to the starting line-up, but defender Andrea Dossena and midfielder Lee Cattermole are suspended after being sent off at Hull.