MX23RW : Thursday, September 23 19:02:11| >> :120:11589:11589:
Sep 22, 2015 at 7.45pm UK at Stadium of Light
Man CityManchester City
Toivonen (83')
FT(HT: 0-4)
Aguero (9' pen.), De Bruyne (25'), Mannone (33' og.), Sterling (36')

Preview: Sunderland vs. Manchester City

Sports Mole previews Sunderland's League Cup clash as they welcome travelling Manchester City to the Stadium of Light in the third round.

Manchester City travel to the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night looking to get back to winning ways against hosts Sunderland in the third round of the League Cup.

Dick Advocaat's charges, meanwhile, are still trying to get their campaign moving after a troublesome start to the new season, which has left them winless after six fixtures in the Premier League.


Dick Advocaat (1st R) manager of Sunderland looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Sunderland at Vitality Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom.© Getty Images

Sunderland have found things tough going in the early stages of the new season, and are without a win after six games in the top flight of English football.

What has perhaps been most worrying for boss Advocaat is that the Black Cats have already suffered defeats at the hands of two newly-promoted clubs in the shape of Norwich City and Bournemouth.

Sunderland currently find themselves rooted to the bottom of the league table after picking up just two points, and are also having to deal with the issue of conceding goals at an average of over two per game.

The League Cup does, however, provide the opportunity for the club to come up against City free of expectation and their recent history in the tournament suggests that they do have the potential to run Tuesday's visitors close. As it stands, Sunderland have won six of their previous seven home League Cup games, scoring 19 goals in the process.

Last time out in the competition, the Black Cats produced a hard-fought performance to eventually see off Exeter City 6-3, in a game that saw Jermain Defoe bag himself a hat-trick on home soil.

On some occasions cups such as these can become an unwelcome distraction for clubs aiming to beat the drop, but producing a shock win over City could inspire Sunderland towards reaching the kind of form required to come back from what has been an incredibly difficult opening gambit this campaign.

Recent form (all competitions): DWDLL

Manchester City

Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mate Sergio Aguero during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on September 19, 2015© Getty Images

City's impressive start to the new season came to a halt as of last week following consecutive losses at home to Juventus and West Ham United.

Until those defeats, Manuel Pellegrini's charges had progressed to five straight wins in the Premier League and appeared in dominant form in the early stages of the 2015-16 campaign.

The Manchester side had produced five continuous clean sheets prior to conceding two goals in their first defeat to Juventus, while the loss at Etihad to the Hammers saw the former league champions concede their first domestic goals this term.

Pellegrini will be hoping that his side can bounce back with a win at the Stadium of Light with the help of a return to their originally impressive defensive performances displayed just a few weeks ago.

The Sky Blues have a standout record away from home in the League Cup, having scored in 16 consecutive games on the road in the tournament that they won back in 2014.

City have strengthened in some key areas over the summer period, and the additions of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Nicolas Otamendi should provide the club with enough strength in depth to challenge on all fronts this season.

Tuesday's fixture does not represent the simplest of tests for Pellegrini's men, who could have quite easily been handed a softer tie, but they will be out to send a message with a performance that suggests that last week's showings were just a minor blip.

Recent form (all competitions): WWWLL

Team News

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City is congratulated by teammate David Silva of Manchester City after scoriing the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad Stadium on May 10, 2015© Getty Images

City were without David Silva as they lost to West Ham at the weekend, and the midfielder could miss out again if Pellegrini decides to rest him following a calf problem.

Vincent Kompany has been struggling with a similar issue and may also be given a rest by the City boss, potentially opening up a chance for Otamendi to gain some League Cup experience.

Pablo Zabaleta has been missing for a month following a knee injury, but he could make his return at the expense of fellow right-back Bacary Sagna. It is unknown as to whether Eliaquim Mangala will play a role in the game given that he was brought off with an injury at the weekend.

As for Sunderland, Wes Brown could make a return to the club's starting XI after some indifferent showings under Advocaat, as John O'Shea finds himself fighting against the clock to fully recover from an illness.

Centre-back Younes Kaboul will be unavailable for selection following his red card against Bournemouth, but the Black Cats will be able to call upon both Jack Rodwell and Defoe, who proved the difference against Exeter in the second round.

DeAndre Yedlin may also get the chance to make a starting debut for the club.

Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Pantilimon; Yedlin, Brown, Coates, van Aanholt; Rodwell, Gomez, Toivonen, Lens; Borini, Defoe

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Hart; Maffeo, Otamendi, Mangala, Zabaleta; Toure, Fernandinho; Navas, Roberts, Sterling; Aguero

Head To Head

The pair have met three times previously in the League Cup, with their most recent clash coming in the 2014 final that City claimed with a 3-1 victory.

Since that victory Sunderland have only been able to claim one point from City in their past three meetings, which have all been in the Premier League.

City have been able to beat Sunderland during their two previous meetings following a 4-1 away win at the Stadium of Light and a 3-2 home victory back in Manchester last season.

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We say: Sunderland 1-3 Manchester City

Pellegrini could decide to rest a number of key players against a Sunderland side that has been struggling for form of late, but whoever the City boss does field the club will be itching to get back to winning ways after two straight defeats.

The Black Cats may sense that they have a chance of pulling off an upset against a potentially weakened City side and they too know that a win could help to kick start their season. City might find this tough away from home, although they have more than enough quality across their squad to gain progression.

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Victor Moses of West Ham United celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on September 19, 2015
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