Signs are in place that Roberto Mancini’s vastly expensive squad is beginning to gel, which could be a good omen as Manchester City prepare for one of their favourite away fixtures of recent seasons at Sunderland.
Sunderland returned to the Premier League for the 2005/06 season after spending two years in the Championship and have not beaten City in the four campaigns since, including suffering three defeats at the Stadium of Light.
However, progress was made last season when they ended a run of nine straight defeats when collecting a 1-1 draw at home and it is 10/3 that they will improve again and gain their first three points of the season.
If Steve Bruce’s team are to achieve victory then it is virtually assured that striker Darren Bent will find the target as it is over a year since they won a game without him scoring.
It is 9/2 for Bent to be the first goalscorer and with City yet to concede in all competitions this season, 1-0 is the most probable scoreline in Sunderland’s favour, a result which can be backed at 8/1.
Meanwhile, Sunderland tend to be fairly strong at the Stadium of Light and only lost once their in the league last season, against Manchester United.
A draw is 5/2, although a league game between the two has not finished goalless since 1938.
Mancini is likely to return to full strength after rotating his squad for the midweek Europa League victory over FC Timisoara, with Carlos Tevez expected to start.
He is evens to find the target at any time and City are 5/6 to return to Manchester with the three points.
Sunderland will be without Nedum Onouha as his loan agreement from City stipulates that he cannot play against them, will that cause a massive problem? See the entire Sunderland vs Manchester City match betting market.