Pep Guardiola and David Moyes take charge of their new teams for the first time as Manchester City host Sunderland at the Etihad in an eagerly anticipated evening fixture.
On one hand, Guardiola starts in Manchester looking to build upon his recent successes at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, whilst on the other Moyes is eager to prove the doubters wrong after his abrupt end in the hotseat at Manchester United two-and-a-half-years ago.
The Citizens approach Saturday’s fixture off the back of a stale pre-season period, which saw them suffer two defeats to Bayern Munich and fellow title contenders Arsenal. However, the Spaniard’s men are sure to have enough momentum coming into the match as many players will be looking to impress under the new regime.
In the wake of Sam Allardyce’s departure to become England manager, the Black Cats will be hoping for greater success this season to build upon the foundations left by the former West Ham boss.
Moyes has been handed a tough start to the new season, but he will be looking for his team to put in a strong performance to get the club off to a good start, something they have failed to do in previous seasons.
A key aspect for Sunderland’s season will be whether Jermain Defoe can keep supplying the goals throughout the campaign as this, alongside some greater defensive stability, will no doubt see the men from the north-east clear of any relegation battles.
Both clubs wasted little time in adding fresh faces to their squads, with City making huge statements in their emphasis towards younger talent with the signings of Leroy Sane and John Stones.
Likewise, Sunderland have added a familiar name in Adnan Januzaj on loan from Manchester United, while they have also added Paddy Mc Nair and Donald Love from the Old Trafford outfit too.
For the hosts, new signing Ilkay Gundogan and skipper Vincent Kompany look set to miss out the opening fixture with long- term injuries, while Kevin De Bruyne and Nicolas Otamendi face late fitness tests.
Meanwhile, Moyes will be without Sebastian Larsson after he was ruled out for six months, while Jan Kirchhoff and Billy Jones are facing a race against time to be fit after picking up knocks in pre-season.
Last Season: Man City – 4th (66pts); Sunderland – 17th (39pts)
Last Meeting: Sunderland 0-1 Manchester City (February 2, 2016)
League Form: Man City – WDWLDD; Sunderland – WDDWWD
Key Men: Man City – Sergio Aguero: Sunderland – Jermain Defoe
Shoot Says: Manchester City 3-0 Sunderland