Preview: Manchester City vs. Sunderland

Sports Mole looks ahead to the Premier League clash between Manchester City and Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium.

In the wake of Sunday's 3-2 defeat away at Liverpool, the Premier League title race is no longer in Manchester City's hands.

They have two games in hand on the Merseysiders, one of which will be played against Sunderland on Wednesday night, but even if they were to win both, the Citizens would still be one point worse off than the leaders.

However, if they are to keep pace with Liverpool with a victory over the Black Cats at the Etihad Stadium, they will have to do so without the services of midfielder Yaya Toure. The Ivorian has picked up a leg injury that manager Manuel Pellegrini has hinted could keep him out for the remainder of the campaign.

Captain Vincent Kompany is also a doubt because of a knee complaint, which could see Joleon Lescott promoted to the starting lineup along with James Milner, who impressed from the bench against Liverpool. Sergio Aguero is also fit again and may lead the attack, with Edin Dzeko dropped to the bench.

As for visiting Sunderland, their time as a Premier League club appears to rapidly running out. Like City they have played two games fewer than their direct rivals, but they are seven points from safety.

In terms of selection, Gus Poyet will be without striker Steven Fletcher, which should hand another opportunity to England Under-21 international Connor Wickham. In midfield, Liam Bridcutt may also return, potentially at the expense of Jack Colback.

These two sides met in the final of the League Cup last month, with City coming out on top 3-1 at Wembley.

Recent form

Man City: WWWDWL

Sunderland: DLLLLL

Possible starting lineups

Man City: Hart; Kolarov, Lescott, Demichelis, Zabaleta; Garcia, Fernandinho; Milner, Silva, Nasri; Aguero

Sunderland: Mannone; Bardsley, Brown, O'Shea, Alonso; Cattermole, Ki, Bridcutt; Johnson, Wickham, Borini

Sports Mole says: 2-0

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho celebrates after scoring his team's third goal against Manchester City during the Premier League match on April 13, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City24212170185265
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd24165349163353
3Chelsea24155445162950
4Liverpool23138254282647
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal24126645311442
7Leicester CityLeicester249783632434
8Burnley249781921-234
9Everton2477102639-1328
10Watford2475123344-1126
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2468103042-1226
12Bournemouth2467112536-1125
13Crystal Palace2467112237-1525
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2466121941-2224
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2465132234-1223
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2458111733-1623
17Stoke CityStoke2465132550-2523
18Southampton2349102334-1121
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom24311101931-1220
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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