Sunderland v CITY

safcIt seems like an age since we last met, the first game of the Pep era at the Etihad back in August.  That was a dour game with little evidence that the Pep era was going to be any different to the Pellegrini era.  We were grateful to a Paddy McNair own goal in the last few minutes to give us the win.  It was the start of a run of ten wins in all competitions that had us installed as favourites to win the quadruple and even the one trophy that Mercer and Allison never won – the grand national.  With Sergio’s timely return to form, Sterling and Sane running defences ragged and Caballero’s steadying influence in front of the defence, this has got to be a City win.  We may concede, but equally, we’ll score.  I’m going for 3-1.

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38 thoughts on “Sunderland v CITY”

  1. If we can nobble Defoe or otherwise keep him quiet, we should see them off comfortably. The days of battering them for 90 minutes and losing are hopefully behind us (crosses fingers). Once again, we need early goals and NOT to allow them to score from their only shots. 4 – 1.

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  2. Typical City always nags away in the back of my head, but I think we should be ok here. Defoe is obviously their major threat, not sure they’ve that much creativity elsewhere though. I’ll err on the side of caution and go 1-0 City. It’s Stoke in midweek that concerns me the most.

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  3. I have a feeling in my water that this coming week is going to be very important (not that others aren’t). Now that the rags have dropped points (I had them down in my prediction league for a 2-1 win to my shame) I have a sneaking feeling Everton are going to come away from the Bridge with a point if not three (I’ve got them down for a 3-1 win! How foolhardy is that?) and Arsenal to win 2-1 at Loserpool.
    All this means, as you can guess, that City really need to be up for the Sunderland match. I think Sunderland (who I do feel are very much like City were and have very loyal and long-suffering fans, the same goes for Newcastle) are going to be relegated, but will fight all the way and will probably put more into games like this (David Moyes will try and stir up the Goodison spirit his Everton teams used to have against us) and not enough into games against the teams around them. They have been a bit of a thorn in our side for a number of seasons though we seem to be redressing the balance of late.
    However, I think City are in a far better pace than they were earlier in the season and as long as they apply themselves from the off, they should come away with what would be a significant 3 points. For me Sergio has to start. Difficult to predict the scoreline it could be 0-1 or 1-4.
    Jermaine Defoe, I think is a great player and I can envisage him terrorising the likes of Otamendi, but if we have the ball most of the time and take our chances, then all will be fine and the “likeable” Gollum will be left staring into the abyss and wondering how damaging a relegation will look on his cv.
    I’m surprised the game is Sunday at 4pm when we have the midweek game against Stoke on Wednesday. For some reason I was convinced the Sunderland game was a lunchtime kick-off today. Anyway the same approach against Stoke should get us 3 more important points. Whilst I acknowledge that Stoke now have some very decent players, for some reason I just can’t stand them, never have and never will. Maybe it’s because I had my scarf nicked in the Bootham End in the 70s and I still haven’t got over it.

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    1. Am I not right in thinking the Stoke fixture has only just been arranged due to our forthcoming cup match? I agree with all you say, Surrey Blue – including thoughts on Sunderland and their fans – but do have this nagging fear that if we don’t get an early goal Moyes WILL thwart us again. If we do make the breakthrough though I can see us putting on a show for the camera’s.

      I’ll go 4-0.

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    2. Never liked them since a New Year’s Day fixture at their old ground, when I saw a City fan who’d gone in fancy dress with a bloody nose having been punched by one of the local knuckledraggers.

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      1. That’s horrible Tony. My experience there has been just the opposite hence my soft spot for them.

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  4. See scum got a huge huge helping hand again today and still couldn’t beat Bournemouth. Big nose should be banned but I won’t hold my breath.

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  5. The Geordies may have huge crowds over the past 10 years, but they were poorly supported at other times, e.g. 1981 and 1991 – when they only averaged 16,000. Sunderland managed 22,000 and 16,000 in these years, too. Remember too that both of these places are one club towns. City had 33,000 and 27,000 for those years, and even when we were down in the depths of Division Three in 1999 and after 20 years of abject shite, we still managed an average of 28,000. Though both teams are well-backed now and often have been in the past, it’s not as black-and-white (as it were) as we are lead to believe. And Moyes is such a stiff that he couldn’t stir a cup of tea. Expect 10 men behind the ball for 90 minutes, tomorrow. Gotta batter them.

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  6. Looking forward to see what MotD makes of Ibrahimović’s foul tonight. Not looking promising with Jamie Carragher already saying that “I can’t justify him doing that, but the Bournemouth player deserved a slap for his earlier stamp.” Something tells me we won’t get a De Jong style witch hunt

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      1. My feelings are that no further action will be taken. MoTD did focus on it but made a point of saying that if the referee says he saw the incidents and dealt with it, Ibrahimović will escape further punishment. The following show just how spiteful and cynical some people at United are.
        1. Ibra tussling with Mings earlier and throwing him to the floor (that was a booking in itself)
        2. Ibra running his studs down Mings’ leg in the tackle where both he and Rooney clattered into Mings. Both fell over and as Mings attempted to jump over Ibra, he was put slightly off balance by Rooney and clipped the back of Ibra’s head with his studs. Not nice, but not deliberate.
        3. Ibra then elbowing Mings in revenge
        4. Ibra falling over theatrically after Surman’s gentle push.
        5. Rooney with a big grin on his face running over to the referee to remind he that he had already booked Surman.
        6. Mourinho telling the camera’s later that the referee had an excellent game and that he got both penalty decisions right, in order to sway the FA and the referee not to take any further action.

        Finally on MotD. The two co-hosts made a point of saying that no further action should be taken against Mings because how can you prove it was deliberate. This wasn’t the case when Balotelli was involved in a similar incident against Spurs in 2012

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  7. Tony C – I assume you are referreing to Stoke fans, not the Makems with your ‘bloody nose’ comment?

    I have to concur with previous comments – this is a game that could turn out any way.

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  8. With Mario, he wasn’t even looking in that direction when he trod on Scott Parker – who had also fallen down AFTER Ballotelli turned away. Cue rabid witch hunt, endless slo-mo and a long ban. Let’s see what the FA are made of….

    Still expecting a good result at the Mackems, but no KDB in the starting XI and a slow-looking defensive line.

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  9. Sterling did the difficult things brilliantly, and the simple things sloppily.
    In fact, apart from Sane, the whole team were too busy conserving energy for the games ahead.
    Alarmingly casual at times, but job done.

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    1. We made the same comments, Neil. If any team should know the importance of goal difference surely it’s us! Not sure if I’m right but I really thought Silva ‘goal’ just before HT should’ve been allowed.

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    2. It looked like it was shaping up to be one of those 0-1 disasters we encountered four
      times on the trot a few years back. I was very relieved that we were able to take the
      lead just before the break. Silva was masterful today.

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  10. Silva was definitely onside, but I could see why the linesman flagged, because Sterling was offside and in the goalkeeper’s line of vision.
    The main issue for me is the Swansea equalizer the other week, which should have been disallowed for the same reason.

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  11. Very comfortable wasn’t it, and we should’ve scored more goals but we’re far too casual at present which is a bit frustrating. And we still don’t shoot from outside the area. I’m convinced this side could be so much better, but on to Wednesday now and a big one against Stoke.

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  12. A slow start and as Blue Goldy says, there were times in the first half where I was worried they were going to snatch the lead and then shut up shop, especially that one which cannoned off the post, straight to their incoming player who headed wide. Once we scored though the result never looked in doubt. The M(U)EN was suggesting that Pep was going to recall Bravo for this game. Thankfully, he didn’t. Willy made three very good saves of which I’m not confident that Claudio would have got to. He also came out and played sweeper a couple of times too.

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  13. To be honest, if we’re going to play Caballero then I’d rather recall Hart, as I don’t see much difference.
    Bravo is completely different because not only is he more comfortable on the ball than our other goalkeepers, he’s also more comfortable than Clichy, Sagna, Otamendi, and Zabaleta.

    It’s going over old ground, but once you allow for the decent finishes, the own goals, and the suicidal backpasses, then you’re left with a mistake at Old Trafford, and maybe 3-4 efforts that Hart might/might not have saved.
    Hart was Man of the Match in Monchengladbach last season, but equally he made a disastrous blunder against Norwich and also conceded some pretty soft goals (Swansea near post at the ETIHAD etc)
    Also, it’s impossible to calculate how many chances the opposition created from throw-ins conceded from Hart’s aimless goal kicks.

    Ultimately, Pep’s decision will be judged by City’s final League position.

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    1. I would rather we recalled Hart. Unfortunately, that boat has sailed. I can’t agree with you Neil as I think Hart was our motm on many more occasions. I can recall him saving several vital penalties over the years, that one on one at Everton at 3-2 in 2014 that gave us three points springs to mind and so many more saves than the few errors everyone seems to be pointing out. As a shot stopper he was second to none. If his distribution was that poor, then that’s where Pep should have proven his worth as a coach and been prepared to coach him to pass the ball better. Quite honestly, I can’t recall many goals we’ve scored from a Bravo clearance. Goalkeeping position has cost us several points this season and ultimately the PL. For me Caballero isn’t as good as Hart but is twice the keeper Bravo is, at least in the PL where players make it much harder for keepers.

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  14. We began slowly and struggled against their 2 tight lines of four, taking 30 passes to get beyond them – while they flew past our back line in 2 or 3 and threatened our goal. Luckily, we kept them out and once we scored, it became a lot easier – and the last half hour was a training exercise. They looked dead and buried at that stage and I feel that staying up is beyond them. We all saw the same situation at City in the early-80s, where we couldn’t buy a win and slid quietly into oblivion, so they have a little of my sympathy (but rather them than us)….

    On to midweek and like Aaron Paul, I feel the need for speed. Crank it up, get a couple of early goals and put Stoke away, before looking ahead to Boro. With Kev, Yaya and Merlin all having a rest over the past week, we should be in good spirits to keep the excellent run going.

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  15. As much as I don’t like the idea of taking our foot off the gas, we were comfortable today, similar job vs Stoke and Boro please! Then those big games all back to back to back. We’re going toned all the energy we can muster then.

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  16. I must say thanks to Match of the Day. Watching the game earlier on sky, I just didn’t realise how dominant Sunderland were. Three fortunate points today it would seem. Has anyone else noticed problems with using the blog via Internet Explorer? Problems include slow and intermitant typing. If so, it’s fine of Firefox or Chrome

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    1. … and from the post match comments it appears Sunderland were the better team for the 1st 40-minutes. I just didn’t get that impression when watching on Sky, when I was sure I saw we’d had 75% possession for about 1/2 an hour. My imagination running away with me again eh!

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  17. Although it was a comfortable win in the end they had good chances,a header that should have gone in had it been directed to either side of Cab. and a rebound from a Defoe shot that could have gone in. Stones dropped his usual clanger a game by passing the ball when under no pressure, to a Sunderland player, but apart from that is starting to look the business. When two goals ahead to a side that has run itself ragged the possession game works well. My frustration with Pellegrini was caused by his lack of any apparent strategy and for me he will always be the man without a plan, Pep is the antithesis of this and while plans do not always work I believe we are now starting to see the fruits of his “obsession” with detail even to the point where he gave Silva a lecture at the end of the game.
    Do a separate set of rules apply to Sterling whereby a red card is down graded to a yellow,a yellow is not given for obvious fouls and a straight forward foul is not given at all with the reverse for any perceived infringement by him?
    I can’t see Stoke being a problem but the two goal cushion will be needed for the Monaco game.

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    1. Not sure mate, Stoke are a bloody awkward side to play against. Anybody thinking this will be a cakewalk need to think again. Remember Diouf scoring the winner here a couple of seasons ago, saying that I expect us to just edge it.

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  18. Tony: I thought Hart was the best keeper in the Premier League in 2011-12, keeping us in the game at Anfield, as well as a vital last minute save to guarantee victory at Villa Park.
    However, just like your example at Everton in 2014, those saves are a distant memory.

    Whether through lapses of concentration or dangerous complacency, the mistakes and soft goals have since crept into his game. His distribution was awful, and City started to concede silly goals: PSG (Ibrahimovic) and Arsenal at home (Hart’s initially misunderstanding with Clichy) immediately spring to mind.

    Personally, I think Bravo has become a joke figure, mainly because of Hart’s popularity. I’m not sure either way, but we can’t get all excited when Pep arrives, and then start moaning the moment he does something we don’t expect.

    Meanwhile, would anybody like to hazard a guess as to the FA’s decision?

    A/ 3 game ban for both players
    B/ 3 game ban for Ibrahimovic, but Mings is cleared
    C/ The ref says he saw it so nothing is done

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    1. I blame Fernando more for the PSG cock up and it could be argued Hart’s penalty save against the big girl’s blouse won us that tie, but as you say it’s done and dusted or as Tony Blair would say a done deal. I’m going for “c” on your list. The newspapers have already started today saying that if both players are banned, Mings will be banned for longer (four games) as his foul was worse.

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  19. Tony, you beat me to it – I watched a recording of MOTD 2 this morning and hadn’t realised the hammering we took in the first half – wow, how did we survive that onslaught? Phil Neville even told all and sundry that Sunderland had been the better side! This is strange because watching the game live on Sky I thought it was one of our most comfortable performances, once their initial exertions had petered out after 15 minutes or so. Why did both Sky and the BBC show Defoe’s offside effort in the second half? It wasn’t as if it was a contentious decision – 3 Sunderland players were yards offside! Tottenham on the other hand were brilliant throughout……………..

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  20. Yep the beeb somehow managed to make it look like Sunderland matched us all the way. I swear media City is full of rag workers who it must kill to show City in a positive light.

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