Manchester City v Sunderland AFC
English Premier League – Saturday 6 Oct 2012
With 18 goals in the last three corresponding fixtures between these sides, it’s a game that would excite the most demanding fan. The Manchester City rampant attack scored 93 times last season on the way to becoming the Premiership’s top entertainers and champions. It’s enough to wet anyone’s lips – especially considering that City and Sunderland are two of the three remaining unbeaten Premier League teams this season, the other being Chelsea. However, as the dating saying goes ‘three’s a crowd’.
The Sunderland fans love affair with Stephen Fletcher grows ever stronger (even Scotland boss Craig Levein now has the hots for him following a 2 year tiff) as he became only the second Premier League player ever, to score his club’s first five goals. Given half a chance he will be all over the City defence like a hormonal teenager on a first date. No doubt, enthusiastically assisted by ex-City winger, Adam Johnson, who will be moodily prowling the touch-line like a spurned lover? Now please excuse me while I take a cold shower.
If the opposite to love is hate then club captain, Lee Catermole, who will be serving his second of a three match ban must be thinking of the classic Kenneth Williams quote from Carry On Cleo, ‘Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me’ given some of the caustic messages on fan bulletin boards. To date he has collected a staggering 32 yellow cards (not of the Valentine variety) and five reds (not roses). Given he has only made 79 appearances in red and white this makes him Sunderland’s ultimate bad-boy in the clubs 133 year history.
Martin O’Neill will be tempted to string five players across his midfield and defend deep, looking to launch surprise counter attacks using the pace of Johnson, Sessegnon and McClean. However, such rear guard actions are fraught with danger against a side with the stunningly attractive attacking qualities that City possesses. Fletcher will therefore be expected to hold-up the ball in the hope that his teammates turn up – feeling like a nervous suitor on a blind date.
The Manchester City billionaire owners have lavished over £930m worth of baubles on their Sky Blue passion. However, this hasn’t prevented them becoming the first champions of the Premier League era to concede goals in each of their first six matches. So it seems they are not that good in protecting their honour!
Its pointless identifying the key City threats as they have so many including the rampaging titan-Toure, the startling quick-Silva, super-sub Dzeko, with their world-class goalkeeper brave-Hart protecting the rear. No doubt their most famous fan, Liam Gallagher, will be an Oasis of calm as the national press will be predicting a home win for the City-slickers.
The Man City victory last week ended their worst run since 2009; likewise Sunderland’s win ended their groundhog day of draws (10 in 13 games) having previously become only the third team ever to draw their first four games of a new season. For that reason it seems a little too predictable to go for another draw – so it’s a home win for City.
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