On paper, Manchester City’s visit to the Stadium of Light should be a routine three points. Sunderland’s stadium has always been a bit of bogey ground for City, but in recent times we’ve had some good performances there. Sergio Aguero certainly enjoys it up on Wearside – the Argentine striker has three goals in his last three matches there.
There is none, thankfully. Vincent Kompany is back in training after suffering what Pep described as a “small injury”, but is likely to only be fit enough for the bench. Aleksandar Kolarov too has recovered from his knock and should start at centre-half alongside John Stones. The only other thing to note is that with the Stoke game only three days later, there’s a chance Pep could rest a few players. But I think the likely scenario is that someone like Yaya will play against Sunderland and start on the bench against Stoke.
Little to change?
It’s been getting gradually easier to predict Pep’s teams in recent weeks. The recent run of results and the scintillating form of Sterling and Sané has meant that there’s been no reason to change the team, and I expect tomorrow to be more of the same.
The only real question mark is around whether or not to play Fernandinho. Pep’s initial reaction was to try and shoe-horn him into the team, just like he did with Gundogan. But Fernandinho’s unfamiliarity in the full-back position was exposed against Monaco where he really struggled to deal with Bernardo Silva. My guess is that Clichy will start at left-back with Fernandinho on the bench, with a view to starting him and resting Yaya on Wednesday. As for the rest of the team, I expect it to be very similar to what we’ve seen in recent weeks.
Bearing all that in mind, here’s the team I think Pep will go with: