IT’S FITTING that Sunderland’s first game of the New Year is against Manchester City; a team who featured prominently against us in 2014.
The game at the Etihad last April saw Sunderland produce one of their best displays of the season, when only a Vito Mannone fumble at the death denied us all three points.
Sunderland also performed well against City at Wembley and it took a couple of world class goals from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri before they got the better of Gus Poyet’s team, who matched the eventual champions for long periods.
The one game though where we can have no complaints is the last encounter at the Stadium of Light, where City ran out comfortable winners with Sergio Aguero producing a performance that I haven’t seen bettered by any visiting player so far this season.
Aguero will miss the New Year’s Day clash through injury and that has to be good news for the Sunderland defenders, especially Sebastian Coates if he is involved.
The one thing in Sunderland’s favour is no-one is expecting anything from this game, so in that respect, the pressure is off and we usually perform better when there’s little or no expectation.