In Sunderland’s position, the last thing you need is a Champions League club as your next opponent, but that is what Sunderland face when Manchester City head to Wearside on Sunday.
I have heard some in the media say City are having a disappointing season, but they are third in the Premier League, still in Europe’s premier tournament not to mention the FA Cup – what we as Sunderland fans would give for just a bit of all that.
There was a time when Sunderland always used to beat City 1-0 at the Stadium of Light, but those days are long gone and City will be big favourites to take maximum points on Sunday.
The one thing Sunderland can take heart from is they seem to be better at home when they are written off; it is when the expectation of winning against mid-table teams like Stoke and Southampton is high that they crumble and let themselves and the fans down.
The reverse fixture on the very first day of the season saw Sunderland come agonisingly close to a draw until Paddy McNair’s late own goal, and if Sunderland had got a morale boosting point that day who knows what effect making a good start to a season for a change might have made.
City’s latest superstar signing Gabriel Jesus – after a great start to his City career – is out injured which normally would be an advantage to Sunderland, but it only allowed Sergio Aguero – so often a thorn in our side – to get his place back and he will be licking his lips at the prospect of playing against a team he always seems to score against.
As well as Aguero there is also Silva, De Bruyne and many more – their attacking options are scary but they are not as good defensively and whenever I have seen them, they take chances at the back and that is something for Sunderland to try and exploit.
I watched their 5-3 Champions League win over Monaco last week and that game probably summed City up, exhilarating going forward, but leaky at the back and it could easily have ended up a 5-5 draw.
David Moyes reckons we need another five wins to have any chance this season, but it will take a major upset if he is to get one of them against City on Sunday.