Manchester City welcome Sunderland at the Etihad on Boxing Day looking to bounce back from their shock defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates. The 2-1 defeat threw them six points behind the league leaders Leicester City and four points behind Arsene Wenger’s men, who have now usurped the 2013/14 Premier League Champions as the favourites for the title.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini will be much relieved after getting back a handful of players from injury, including skipper Vincent Kompany, without whom their defence have been hobbling this season. The Belgian has recovered from a calf problem and will take his favourite place at the heart of the defence, replacing Eliaquim Mangala, who has been extremely poor against Arsenal.
Up front, Sergio Aguero is back in action, having featured in the starting eleven at the Emirates, but the Argentine’s lack of sharpness has put Pellegrini in a dilemma whether to start with him again or not.
Here is the starting line-up for Manchester City and Sunderland.
Manchester City Starting Lineup:
Sagna, Otamendi, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Toure (C), De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling, Bony
Manchester City Substitutes:
Caballero, Kompany, Clichy, Demichelis, Navas, Delph, Aguero
Sunderland Starting Line-up:
Mannone, Jones, O’Shea, Coates, PVA, M’Vila, Gomez, Johnson, Borini, Graham, Fletcher.
Sunderland City Substitutes:
Pantilimon, Brown, Cattermole, Lens, Defoe, Toivonen.