Manchester City’s hopes of reeling Liverpool in at the Premier League summit mean they probably have to win every one of their remaining six matches to stand a chance, starting at home to hapless Sunderland.
Sunderland are rooted to the bottom of the table, seven points from safety with half a dozen matches left to save themselves, so for very different reasons Gus Poyet’s ailing side need to take maximum points.
However, as the match odds suggest, in all likelihood a potential Black Cats’ great escape will not begin at the Etihad Stadium.
Manuel Pellegrini’s title-chasers are worthy of their steadfast 2/13 favouritism despite losing the reverse fixture 1-0, with the draw a 7/1 chance and the away win a distant 17/2 opportunity.
Although Sunderland’s fate is not yet sealed thanks to games in hand over teams directly above them, a return of just one point from the last 24 available to them is relegation form all day long, as is conceding 13 times in their last four away matches.
City to score another 2/3 goals as they have in their last two home league games versus the Wearsiders and again in the Capital One Cup final, is a very appealing 11/10 chance.
And those would-be City backers worried about the absence of Yaya Toure, the club’s leading scorer and talisman, needn’t be.
The last nine times the Citizens have taken the field without their Ivorian midfield general they’re unbeaten, winning seven of those and in James Milner they also have a fine replacement.
Milner’s Anfield introduction changed the tide in the second half against Liverpool and with five career goals against the Black Cats already, the 5/1 about the England man scoring as part of a City win looks particularly palatable.
Man City winning in a game containing over 3.5 total goals appears one of the better value 1/1 bets available for the match also.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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