There was a time in the not-too-distant past when Sunderland were an obstacle that Manchester City found exceedingly hard to hurdle. However, the problems always came when the Black Cats were playing hosts.
At the Etihad Stadium it is a different story. City are historically heavy scorers in home games against Sunderland in the Premier League and, with their attack well-oiled in 2015/16, that should be the case once again.
The Citizens have scored two or more against the Stadium of Light outfit in six consecutive home battles against them in the top flight, winning four of those matches.
Given that the foes currently inhabit opposite ends of the table as well, there’s plenty of scope to suggest Sam Allardyce’s visitors could be on the wrong end of a similar beating, this time on Boxing Day.
Manuel Pellegrini’s charges may have swallowed a bitter pill in losing to title rivals Arsenal prior to Christmas, but the onus on returning immediately to winning ways could well prove another bad omen for the men from Wearside.
While City remain fallible against top sides, their home form is the most impeccable in the division, seeing them collect 2.33 points per game at the Etihad.
Befitting of their position of 19th in the table meanwhile, the Black Cats are the third worst travellers in the Premier League and make the trip staring a fourth consecutive top-flight defeat in the face.
There is nothing attractive about 1/5 on the straight up City victory as a direct consequence, but there is something far more alluring about Sergio Aguero and co running riot against the league’s leakiest defence.
A more risqué ploy, but one which would have rewarded punters handsomely in two of the three most recent meetings between the sides, is the three-goal winning margin for the blue half of Manchester at 19/5.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.