City laid siege to the Sunderland goal in the second half but failed to find a way past the Black Cats' stubborn defence as Gus Poyet's side recorded their fourth consecutive 1-0 win over City at the Stadium of Light.
You can read how a remarkable 90 minutes of football unfolded with Sports Mole's live coverage below.
1pmGood afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's Premier League clash between Sunderland and Manchester City at the Stadium of Light. On paper it looks like a foregone conclusion as a leaky Sunderland defence comes up against a free-scoring City attack, but will that be the case today? Let's take a look...
1.02pmWe'll start by looking at the Black Cats, who have had a rather torrid time of things so far this season. The Paolo Di Canio era was as eventful as it was brief, leaving new boss Gus Poyet with an uphill struggle to keep Sunderland in the Premier League.
1.04pmSunderland have only one won of their 10 league games this season, while a solitary draw gives them a meagre points tally of four from a possible 30. That is the joint-lowest in the league alongside Crystal Palace following their draw with Everton yesterday, and a defeat today would see Poyet's men drop to the bottom of the pile on goal difference.
1.06pmDespite their precarious position, however, there is a growing air of optimism around the club. Poyet's immediate impact was memorable for all the wrong reasons as Sunderland lost 4-0 to Swansea in his first match in charge, but he then followed in the footsteps of his predecessor with a derby day victory over Newcastle - Sunderland's first and only league win of the season. They will also be buoyed by a win over Southampton in the League Cup in midweek, a result that flew under the radar somewhat despite the impressive nature of it against an in-form team.
1.08pmDespite having picked up two wins in their last three games, however, Sunderland's recent Premier League form is simply not good enough. They have only won once in their last 14 games in the top flight and have not kept a clean sheet in that time either.
1.10pmOn the face of it, their home form this season has not been too bad with four wins and four defeats from their eight matches, but again just one of those victories have come in the Premier League, with the other three coming in the League Cup. One thing they can hang on to, however, is that Gus Poyet has a 100% record as manager of Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. It would be some achievement if he could keep that up this afternoon.
1.12pmTo do so, the number one priority will be to keep City's prolific strikers at bay, something much easier said than done by any defence, yet alone the worst in the Premier League this season. Sunderland have conceded a league-high 22 goals and have a joint worst goal difference in the Premier League with -15.
1.14pmThey haven't been much better at the other end either. Only Crystal Palace have scored fewer goals than Sunderland's seven so far this season, while perhaps the most damning statistic of the day is that they have managed just 24 shots on target all season - four less than City have scored goals in the current campaign. They also have the lowest shooting accuracy in the league this season with just 31%.
1.16pmIt should be noted, however, that luck has not been on Sunderland's side. They have been on the receiving end of three own goals already this season - the same amount as the other 19 Premier League clubs combined. Incidentally, City have benefited from more own goals than any other side this season with two.
1.18pmDisciplinary problems have also played their part in Sunderland's troubles so far. They have picked up three red cards already this season, which is a quarter of the amount given out in the entire division. Those figures include the two red cards shown to Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena in last week's loss to Hull, something that will rule the duo out for the next three matches.
1.20pmToday is not a match that Poyet will welcome with open arms as his side try to rebuild after that defeat to Hull. Sunderland had just 30% possession in that loss, figures skewed by the fact that they had nine men but still damning, while City had 68% in their 7-0 rout over Norwich. The Black Cats don't have a good record against top six teams in recent times either, losing eight of their last 10 home games against them.
1.22pmSunderland are something of a bogey team for City, however. The Black Cats have won their last three matches against the blue half of Manchester at the Stadium of Light, all by a 1-0 scoreline. A repeat performance today would stunt the visitors' growing title challenge as they begin to find their best form.
1.24pmAn incredible 12 goals in their last two games - seven against Norwich and five against CSKA Moscow - brings them into this game in fine form, but questions still linger over their performances away from home this season. They have steamrollered sides at the Etihad, but only the bottom four and Hull City have worse records on their travels than City so far this season.
1.26pmThat has contributed to then sitting down in seventh in the Premier League table, although they could move as high as third with a win today, depending on the result in Tottenham's match against Newcastle (which you can follow live with us right now here.) That would also bring them within three points of Arsenal at the top of the table, with the Gunners facing Manchester United later today.
1.28pmUnsurprisingly considering their 7-0 win over Norwich, City are the league's highest scorers so far this season with 28 goals in 10 games. They also have the best goal difference with +17, but they have received criticism for some of their defensive performances. Joe Hart has been dropped, a decision that continues this afternoon, while Kompany's injury leaves the City back line without its natural leader. Still, they have managed six wins in their last seven matches, with their last defeat coming against Chelsea when another defensive error allowed Fernando Torres to score a late winner.
1.30pmCity have the best conversion rate in the Premier League this season with 22% and have scored first in seven of their last 11 away matches, despite winning just once on their travels in the league this season. They will be without the creative force of David Silva through injury today, however. The Spaniard has made more chances than any other player this season, laying on 27 for his teammates.
1.32pmTEAM NEWS: Right, the team news is in for both sides, and there are some interesting selections from the visitors. Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott play, with Zabaleta dropped to the bench and Matija Nastasic not deemed fit enough for the squad. As mentioned earlier, Pantilimon once again starts in goal and it is no surprise to see the in-form duo of Aguero and Negredo up front for City. For Sunderland, there is a notable return for Wes Brown, who makes his first Premier League start for 22 months while Vito Mannone remains in goal with the returning Westwood on the bench. Full team news on the way.
1.36pmMANCHESTER CITY SUBS: Hart, Rodwell, Clichy, Navas, Boyata, Dzeko, Zabaleta
1.38pmSo, what can we make of those two sides? Well, the biggest surprise in the Sunderland side is the lack of Craig Gardner, who is forced to settle for a place on the bench. It will be interesting to see how Wes Brown copes with a return to Premier League action, and he couldn't have wished for a tougher test on his comeback.
1.40pmAdam Johnson scored the winner for Sunderland last time these two teams met here, and he was also the last Man City player to score at the Stadium of Light, so this is a fixture of note for him. He will provide a threat from the wing while Sebastian Larsson will look to cause problems with his notorious dead-ball deliveries whenever possible.
1.42pmThe biggest threat for City's defence today, however, is Steven Fletcher. Sunderland's poor record in front of goal reflects quite badly on the Scottish striker, but a bit of digging shows that he is not really at fault. His chance conversion rate this season is actually the same as Sergio Aguero's - the league's joint top scorer - it's just that his teammates haven't been giving him adequate service.
1.44pmAs for City, they will no doubt miss the creativity of Silva Kompany's injury has been an issue for a while now, but they are still able to name a squad teeming with quality. Milner and Javi Garcia are midfielders that do a job rather than providing much flair, and that could be an important factor for City today as they look to overcome their away day blues. Toure is in fine form and has enough quality to win games on his own, but in front of him he has two men who are on a roll.
1.46pmSergio Aguero comes into this match on the back of being named October's Player of the Month, and it is an award he thoroughly deserved. The Argentine has scored seven goals and provided three assists in his last five league games and averages a goal every 85 minutes this season. Negredo netted a hat-trick against CSKA Moscow in midweek, a match that also saw Aguero score two more goals as their strike partnership continued to flourish. They have now scored 15 goals in the six matches they have played together - more than twice the amount of goals that Sunderland have scored in the league this season.
1.48pmOne area of potential weakness for the visitors, however, is their defence. I would say that none of the back five would have been in City's starting XI at the beginning of this season, with Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic and Clichy making way for Pantilimon, Richards, Demichelis, Lescott and Kolarov this afternoon. Such a big change of personnel in defence could create confusion, and that could be a route to success for the hosts.
1.50pmCity don't have a great record in the Stadium of Light. I have already mentioned that Sunderland have won three in a row against them here, but City's last since came back at the end of August in 2008. Since Sunderland were promoted back into the top flight, City have taken just seven of a possible 18 points off the Black Cats.
1.52pmOne thing we should be guaranteed today is goals. Even ignoring the fact that the league's leakiest defence takes on its most prolific attack, there has not been a goalless draw in this fixture since 1938. We have come close a few times, with Sunderland nicking 1-0 wins in the 90th minute in two of the last three meetings here, but there has always been a goal.
1.54pmSunderland are looking to maintain their perfect home record under Gus Poyet this afternoon and, if they manage to do so, they would have recorded back-to-back home wins in the Premier League for the first time this year.
1.55pmPREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes from kickoff at the Stadium of Light, which means that it is time for my match prediction! Sunderland have given Man City a hard time at this ground in recent seasons and should be relatively high on confidence following their midweek win, but City are flying at the moment and should just have too much for Gus Poyet's men. I don't see anything like a repeat of the 7-0 win for City last week against Norwich, but I do think they will run out fairly comfortable winners. I'll go for a 3-1 away win.
1.57pmSunderland's overall record against City in the Premier League isn't great, having only beaten them four times - including the three in a row here. They have drawn on two occasions and City have won the remaining 12 meetings.
1.59pmSome good news for City is that Tottenham Hotspur have fallen to a surprise home defeat at the hands of Newcastle today. That match has just ended, with Loic Remy getting the only goal of the game. It means that City will definitely move third with a win this afternoon. You can have a look at our match report for that Spurs game here.
2.01pmCity are certainly favourites going into this match, but in the back of their minds they will be fully aware of their poor away record so far this season. They have already been beaten by Cardiff and Aston Villa on their travels, both games they expected to win, and Sunderland may fancy their chances of pulling off a similar upset this afternoon.
2.03pmThe last players to score in a Manchester City win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light were Stephan Ireland and Shaun Wright-Phillips. They seem to belong to a different age in City history following their influx of cash, but all of their money has not been able to buy them a win here yet. Could this be that day?
2.05pmThe customary remembrance weekend silence is impeccably observed by the vast majority of those inside the stadium in memory of the servicemen and women who have lost their lives in conflict.
1 minKICKOFF: Sunderland get us underway at the Stadium of Light. Can they pull off a major shock and record a fourth consecutive win over City at the Stadium of Light, or will the visitors continue their fine recent form?
3 minCity are forcing Sunderland back early on here, but the hosts resist the opening attack from the visitors and hit back with a good spell of possession of their own. Both teams looked to have settled into this one quickly.
5 minThis is Manchester City's seventh different centre-back partnership of the season, which is an alarming statistic for the visitors. You'd think that Sunderland would have to exploit that situation if they are to get any joy from today's game.
7 minThis has been a confident start by the hosts, are are knocking the ball about nicely and gaining confidence in possession. They look reluctant to hoof the ball long, instead playing it out of defence and patiently building an attack.
9 minSuperb defending from Larsson as he produces a perfect sliding tackle to dispossess Milner on the right flank, keeping the ball in play before advancing back upfield and launching a Sunderland attack. The home fans enjoyed that one!
11 minAdam Johnson gains possession on the halfway line and tries to bend the ball behind the defence and into the path of Giaccherini, who points exactly where he wants it. The pass is a few yards ahead of the Italian, but it was the right idea from Johnson.
13 minSHOT! Lovely build-up play from Sunderland as they patiently knock the ball about before moving it out to Larsson on the right. He puts a good cross into the box and Fletcher has found a yard between two defenders, but his stooping header bounces a few yards wide. That was a decent opening for the striker, who probably even had time to take a touch before going for goal.
15 minPossession has been shared 50/50 in the opening quarter of an hour to this match and it has been a very steady start from both sides. Sunderland are just about controlling the tempo of the game a little better than City, which is making it a slower match.
17 minAguero has struggled to get into the game so far and has started dropping deeper to look for the ball more often. The Argentine is wearing a curious combination of short sleeves and gloves this afternoon, something I have never really understood.
18 minNegredo makes a good run down the left, showing good strength to reach the byline. He drills it across towards Aguero in the middle, but the ball had just gone out before he crossed it and it will be a goal kick to Sunderland.
19 minLarsson goes in with a crunching tackle on Javi Garcia and the referee correctly awards a free kick. On the replay, we can see exactly how bad the challenge was and, in truth, that could have easily been a red card for Sunderland. It was significantly worse than Cattermole's tackle against Hull that earned him a red card, that's for sure.
21 minGOAL! Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City (Phil Bardsley)
21 minSunderland have the lead, and through the most unlikely of scorers despite Bardsley also finding the net in midweek! The full-back was played onside by Lescott and showed great hunger to win the ball, bundling Milner over inside the box before looking up for support in the middle. He doesn't find any and instead curls his shot into the far corner from a tight angle. Very accomplished finish, and Sunderland are on course for another shock victory over City here.
23 minSunderland immediately push on looking for a second, but City rebuff the attack this time. There is a good atmosphere around the stadium right now, and if they can hold on to this scoreline then much of the doom and gloom over their situation will quickly evaporate.
25 minMilner will feel aggrieved at what he thought was a foul in the build-up to that goal, but for me the referee made the right decision. It was a shoulder to shoulder challenge and Bardsley simply out-muscled his man.
26 minYELLOW CARD! Javi Garcia becomes the first man in the book for a frustrated kick out at Larsson. He can have no complaints at going in the book himself, but he is understandably unhappy that Larsson wasn't cautioned for his earlier tackle.
28 minAnxious moment for Sunderland as they fail to deal with Nasri's corner into the box. Negredo flicked it on at the near post and John O'Shea swung a leg at it without making adequate contact. It looks for a second like it will fall to Aguero, but it is hacked away before it can reach the striker.
30 minCity have started to put a bit of pressure on Sunderland in the last few minutes, the first time they have done so for a prolonged time today. Wes Brown makes a couple of crucial blocks from long range strikes to deny City. Inspirational stuff from the returning defender.
32 minThat is a real waste from Ki as Sunderland break with four on four. The South Korean midfielder has space to run at the defence with teammates in support, but he rushes his pass and puts it too far in front of Fletcher.
33 minCHANCE! City's best chance of the match so far falls to the man of the moment Sergio Aguero, but he can't steer it in. A good move resulted in Kolarov fizzing a cross towards the back post where Aguero was waiting. The ball was slightly high and behind the striker, but he probably should have still scored given his recent form. Instead, he could only nod the ball wide of the post despite having most of the goal to aim at.
34 minNegredo plucks the ball out of the air with a sublime piece of control, taking him past Larsson and giving him a shooting chance from the edge of the box. The final strike doesn't match that earlier touch, however, as he drags it well wide.
36 minThe Sunderland fans want a penalty, but Mike Dean waves it away. Johnson looked to have stolen a yard on Milner inside the box, but the City winger showed good strength to battle his way back in front of Johnson and make an important challenge. Correct decision from the ref.
38 minNasri puts a free kick into a dangerous area in the box and Sunderland struggle to get it clear. Aguero picks it up but is eventually crowded out and the ball deflects off him last for a Sunderland goal kick.
40 minCity have another free kick from a similar area and again Nasri and Milner play a one-two before the former lifts it into the box towards Negredo at the back post. The striker nods it back across, but Mannone is well placed to intercept.
41 minBright break from Sunderland as they play it out from the back before releasing Johnson down the left flank. The winger cuts inside Demichelis before trying to find Fletcher with the outside of his boot, but his cross is off target and runs out for a goal kick.
43 minJohnson aims a free kick towards the back post where Wes Brown has found a bit of space. The defender just slips when he goes for the header, however, making it easy for Pantilimon to collect.
45 minMan City are queuing up on the edge of the box but can't find a way through a crowded Sunderland defence. In the end the ball is crossed towards the back post, but Celustka makes an important clearance behind for a corner.
45 minThere will be just the one minute of added time at the end of the first half.
2.55pmWell, well, well, what an interesting half that was. Sunderland take a surprise lead into the halfway stage against Manchester City, and they are deserving of it too. The hosts have looked like a different team to the one that has struggled so often this season and City don't seem to have an answer for them at the moment.
2.57pmThe only goal of the game so far was provided by Phil Bardsley, who found the net for the second time in less than a week having also scored in the League Cup win over Southampton on Wednesday. City felt that there was a foul in the build-up but it was a decision that could have gone either way. The referee chose to play on, and Bardsley took full advantage by slipping the ball past Pantilimon from a tight angle.
2.59pmSunderland are playing very disciplined football in defence, but perhaps the biggest difference between Di Canio's Sunderland and Poyet's side on today's evidence is the willingness to play the ball out from the back. The hosts are keeping possession whenever possible when a side in their position could be forgiven for hoofing the ball clear at every available opportunity.
3.01pmAs for City, they haven't got going at the moment. All the pre-match talk was about Aguero and Negredo, but they haven't been able to breach the Sunderland defence so far today. The hosts are crowding out the middle of the park and giving City's attackers very little room to manoeuvre.
3.03pmManuel Pellegrini's side just look like a different team away from home in the Premier League. This would be their fourth away defeat of the season having already dropped points to the likes of Cardiff and Aston Villa on their travels - certainly not the form of a team that wants to be champions.
3.05pmOne of the biggest talking points from that first half will be Larsson's tackle. Poyet suggested last week that Cattermole's red card due to his reputation, and you can't help but feel that if he had made the same tackle as Larsson today, it would have been more than just a free kick. Larsson didn't even receive a yellow card when he could have easily seen red.
3.07pmA red card would have certainly made this a different game and, coupled with a potential foul by Bardsley on Milner before the goal, Pellegrini will be feeling that the decisions have gone against his side today. However, even with the decisions, they have not been good enough so far today and will need to improve in the second half.
3.09pmMANCHESTER CITY SUB: Pellegrini makes a change at the break as Jesus Navas comes on for Javi Garcia, who is apparently suffering from an ankle injury picked up in that Larsson tackle.
46 minKICKOFF: Man City get us back underway at the Stadium of Light. Can they find a goal in the second half or will Sunderland keep up their remarkable record against City here?
47 minCLOSE! Navas makes an immediate impact as he uses his pace to beat Johnson and reach the byline. His cross is slightly behind Negredo, forcing the striker to lean back and loop his header narrowly over the bar.
48 minNavas makes an identical run down the flank and this time aims his cross towards the back post, but it is flicked away before it can reach Aguero. Sunderland are struggling to deal with the pace of Navas in these early stages, though.
50 minOFF THE LINE! What a huge chance for City that is! Aguero rolls O'Shea from a throw in to have a clear run at goal. He reaches the byline before pulling it back to Navas in the middle, but the winger's powerful strike is brilliantly blocked on the line by Bardsley. City want a penalty for handball, but I think that struck the Sunderland man in the stomach.
52 minSunderland look to be in for a long half if it carries on like this. City have started very brightly and are breaking through the Black Cats' defence with a lot more regularity now than in the first half.
54 minCity make another quick break through Aguero, who is eventually tackled only for the ball to fall to another blue shirt. It is eventually worked out to Navas yet again and he plays an intelligent low pass into a very dangerous area, but no-one is able to get a touch as it skims along the six yard box and out for a goal kick.
56 minThe hosts have steadied themselves a little in the last few moments but City are still on top. 30% of the play has taken place in Sunderland's third so far in this second half, with just 3% happening in City's third.
58 minCLOSE! Nice play from Sunderland as City only clear the ball as far as Ki. He resists the initial urges to shoot from range, ghosting past Toure before finally letting fly with a thunderous effort that whizzed a couple of yards past the post.
60 minMilner embarks on a good run through the middle but turns down the opportunity to shoot in favour of passing the ball to Navas. This time the winger's cross isn't good, however, flying into the arms of Mannone.
61 minBardsley comes steaming through the back of Navas, just to let him know he is there. He is fortunate that the referee doesn't book him for the challenge to be honest. A yellow card against Navas in this mood would be a dangerous combination.
62 minNasri can't find a way through the defence so settles for a square ball to Milner, who goes for goal from 25 yards. His effort is badly sliced but takes a deflection off Toure on the way through which sends it closer to Mannone's top corner.
64 minSunderland have less than half an hour to hang on now and they have looked capable of doing so in the second half so far. City have been in control since the break but are yet to really test Mannone so far.
66 minSAVE! City are really probing for an opening at the moment, but it just isn't coming. Nasri is again forced to play a square ball across the edge of the box, this time finding Richards. The full-back makes space for the shot well, but his low drive from the edge is gathered by Mannone.
67 minRichards produces one of the most spectacular dives you will see all season but wins a corner out of it for his side. They work it out to Kolarov who is the latest player to shoot from range, horribly slicing his shot high and wide.
68 minSAVE! That is a fine save from Mannone to deny Aguero. The strike rolled Celustka well, creating space to shoot where there seemingly wasn't any. He curls an effort towards the bottom corner and it looks like it is bound to go in, but Mannone is at full strength to tip it wide. Fabulous stop.
70 minBardsley has dealt with Navas quite well since taking over the responsibilities from Johnson. He stays with the winger and concedes a corner, which comes to nothing.
71 minMANCHESTER CITY SUBS: Double change for City as Negredo makes way for Edin Dzeko and Richards goes off for Zabaleta. Dzeko needs just one more goal to equal the Premier League record for goals away from home as a sub. How's that for a stat?
72 minSAVE! Dzeko makes an immediate impact with a shot from just outside the box that Mannone manages to keep out with a flying save. The ball falls to Aguero, but he can't react in time to steer the rebound in.
73 minSUNDERLAND SUB: This is a slightly defensive sub from Poyet as he brings Craig Gardner in to crowd the midfield even more. Off comes Giaccherini.
75 minSunderland have just 15 minutes to hold on now and things are largely out of Pellegrini's control now. He has made all three subs and it is now solely up to his players to produce a comeback.
76 minGreat play from Larsson as he blitzes out of defence to win the ball from Kolarov as he was looking to lay the ball off to Nasri on the edge of the box.
77 minSUNDERLAND SUB: Fletcher's afternoon is over as Altidore comes on to replace the striker. The big American will be able to hold the ball up better for the hosts in the closing stages, so that is a wide move from Poyet.
78 minThings are getting very panicky for for Sunderland now. Lescott manges to win a header in the box, flicking it on towards the back post when Aguero just manages to keep it in. His cut back is hoofed behind by Larsson, however.
80 minSunderland dare to dream as they make a rare break out of their own half through Altidore. His pass towards Gardner goes astray, however, wasting a good chance for the hosts to break away.
81 minCHANCE! Dzeko does well to beat his man in the air from a corner, but his glancing header flies a couple of yards wide of the post. Aguero is inches away from making contact with it at the back post for what would have been a simple tap in.
83 minCLOSE! City are getting closer and closer here as time continues to run out. They pepper the Sunderland box with crosses, one of which sees Aguero tap the ball back Kolarov, who unleashes a thunderous strike inches past the post. That was not far away, and Mannone was beaten.
84 minA brief moment of respite for Sunderland as Altidore holds the ball up well before eventually finding Johnson, whose low strike is easy for Pantilimon.
86 minThe relentless waves of City attacks continue to crash against the Sunderland defence, but they are holding firm so far. It is hard to believe that they have conceded the most goals in the Premier League this season - they have been brilliant this afternoon.
87 minSUNDERLAND SUB: Time to while down a few more seconds for Sunderland as derby day hero Fabio Borini comes on to replace Adam Johnson.
89 minWes Brown has been immense at the back for Sunderland today. He is starting his first Premier League game for 22 months but has made countless clearances City crosses. Superb defending.
90 minThe fourth official indicates three minutes of added time at the end of this match. The tension in the stadium is unbearable right now! Can Sunderland hold on for another famous victory?
90+2 minFrustration is creeping in for City now. Nasri and Aguero have made rash challenges in the last couple of minutes, which have just given Sunderland chances to wind the clock down ever further.
90+3 minColback concedes a free kick in a very dangerous position. City have one last chance to deliver this one into the box now...
90+3 minKolarov fizzes it in, but Bardsley makes a vital clearance at the near post. The resulting corner goes out for a goal kick via the head of Lescott, and that could be that.
3.58pmIncredible scenes at the Stadium of Light at Sunderland record a fourth consecutive 1-0 win over City at their home stadium. They remain second from bottom but the gap to safety is now just three points. It was a performance full of character from the hosts, while City's feared attack simply couldn't find a way through an incredible defensive performance. The Blues' away woes continue this season.
4pmRight, that is all we have time for today! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for a remarkable afternoon at the Stadium of Light. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction and analysis, which will be on site shortly. There is plenty more live football to come, not least at Old Trafford where Manchester United and Arsenal look to take advantage of City's dropped point. You can follow that match here, while Sunderland fans may be more interested in events in Wales where Swansea take on Stoke. That match is also been covered by us here. From me, though, it is goodbye!