Second-bottom meets second-top as Sunderland welcome Manchester City to the Stadium of Light, a venue that has proved troublesome for City in the past.
Sunderland won this fixture 1-0 four times in a row between 2010 and 2013, but their impressive run came to an end in comprehensive fashion last season as the Citizens ran out 4-1 winners.
Sam Allardyce’s side drew 1-1 with AFC Bournemouth last time out in the Premier League, a result which left them four points off safety with 15 matches to play. The Black Cats have become renowned for ‘great escapes’ in the past few seasons and it looks like they will need to achieve another this campaign in order to beat the drop come May.
The Wearside outfit have picked up just three wins on home soil in front of their sizeable and loyal fanbase this season, so they will have to be at their very best to make it four against a rampant City.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men swept Aston Villa (0-4) aside in the FA Cup at the weekend to prove that there is considerable quality in their squad beyond just their starting XI.
Kelechi Iheanacho – who has impressed in his cameo appearances this season – bagged a hat-trick at Villa Park and looks an exciting prospect to add to City’s wealth of attacking options.
City have already won once at the Stadium of Light this season in the Capital One Cup; they were 4-0 up after 36 minutes before eventually running out 4-1 winners. They also won the Premier League reverse fixture on Boxing Day by the same scoreline.
Midfielder Jack Rodwell is a doubt for Sunderland and may struggle to be fit to face his former club. Meanwhile boss Allardyce could hand a debut to new £8m Tunisian midfielder Wahbi Khazri, who joined from Bordeaux last week.
Manchester City have been rocked by the knee ligament injury suffered by forward Kevin de Bruyne which soured their Capital One Cup semi-final win over Everton last week, with the Belgian set to be out until around April.
Defenders Eliaquim Mangala and Vincent Kompany, plus striker Wilfried Bony are also set to miss the trip to the Stadium of Light.
League Positions: Sunderland – 19th (19 pts); Manchester City – 2nd (44 pts)
Previous Meeting: Manchester City 4-1 Sunderland – December 26, 2015
League Form: Sunderland – LLWWLD; Manchester City – WDWDWD
Key Players: Sunderland – Adam Johnson; Manchester City – Sergio Aguero
Shoot Says: Sunderland 0-3 Manchester City