Match Analysis: Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City

Sunderland's Phil Bardsley celebrates moments after scoring the opening goal against Manchester City on November 10, 2013
© Getty Images
Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Sunderland's shock 1-0 win over Manchester City at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.

Sunderland pulled off a major shock in the Premier League this afternoon, beating free-scoring Manchester City 1-0 courtesy of a memorable rearguard action.

Phil Bardsley scored the only goal of the game with a composed finish past Costel Pantilimon having got the better of James Milner.

Sunderland withstood heavy pressure from City in the second half to record a famous victory that puts them three points from safety in the Premier League table and leaves City down in seventh.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at a remarkable afternoon at the Stadium of Light.

Match statistics:

Sunderland:
Shots 5
On target 2
Possession 37%
Corners 0
Fouls 6

Manchester City:
Shots 24
On target 4
Possession 63%
Corners 14
Fouls 13

Was the result fair?

You would have to say that Manchester City deserved at least a point given their complete dominance in the second half, but it is hard to begrudge Sunderland the win after such an impressive defensive display. The hosts actually deserved their lead at the halfway stage having more than matched City in the opening 45 minutes, but it was one-way traffic in the second half and manager Manuel Pellegrini will be scratching his head wondering how his side didn't turn their possession into chances this afternoon.

Sunderland's performance

Superb. At no point today did they look like a team with the worst defensive record in the league, and they also showed some versatility in their game over the 90 minutes. They played slick football out of defence in the first half and matched their more illustrious opponents in terms of general play. Then, when they needed to get their backs against the wall, they stuck to that task with aplomb, producing a stirring defensive display that any side would have been proud of. City came into this game with 12 goals in their last two games, but they simply could not find a way through Sunderland today. The international break may be coming at the wrong time for the Black Cats, who will be full of confidence after this display.

Manchester City's performance

City just seem to lack something extra away from home. They are imperious at the Etihad Stadium but despite having two strikers in glistening form, they rarely troubled Vito Mannone in the Sunderland goal this afternoon. For all of their possession and domination, they only really had one gilt-edged chance in the match when Jesus Navas's strike was cleared off the line. They will need to find a cure for their poor away form if they are to launch a serious challenge for the title this season as they have already lost to Cardiff City, Aston Villa and now Sunderland on their travels.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Phil Bardsley: Any one of the Sunderland defenders can lay claim to this award, with a special mention going to the returning Wes Brown. However, Phil Bardsley gets the nod for his role in the two most significant moments of the match. One, needless to say, was his goal as he showed good composure to score for the second time in less than a week, and the other was his block from Navas on the line. Both were vital to Sunderland winning the game and, without him, it could have been 1-0 to City today.

Biggest gaffe

This one goes to the referee for missing a poor challenge from Sebastian Larsson early in the match. The Sunderland man went in high on Javi Garcia's ankle and was nowhere near the ball, but did not even receive a yellow card from Mike Dean when a red would have been appropriate. The tackle was significantly worse than the one for which Lee Cattermole saw red for last week against Hull City so, if there was adequate consistency among the referees, Larsson would have been sent off as well - and that would have made it a completely different game.

Referee performance

Aside from the above decision, Mike Dean had a fairly quiet game. He kept his cards in his pocket on a number of occasions when he could have used them, although that is not always a good thing, as shown by Larsson's tackle. Not a faultless performance by the official, but not a horror show either.

What next?

Sunderland: Next up for Sunderland is a crucial trip to fellow strugglers Stoke City after the international break.

Manchester City: City will look to get their title challenge back on track when they host Tottenham Hotspur in two weeks' time.

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini prior to kick-off against Sunderland on November 10, 2013
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