Manchester City Preview (H) - December 26
Stadium of Light
SUNDERLAND BEGIN their festive programme with a visit from reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Boxing Day.
The Citizens currently trail their city rivals United by four points as they sit second in the Barclays Premier League at the halfway point.
Roberto Mancini's side have been far from consistent this term, crashing out the Champions League at the group stage but still find themselves unbeaten on the road this season.
Roberto Mancini on Adam Johnson:
"I didn`t say to him to leave. Adam said he wanted to play always and for this reason I let him go.
For me, Adam was an important player but I understand the situation. He is young, he wants to play every game."
Source: The Daily Telegraph
Sunderland Team News:
Wes Brown (ankle) out
Lee Cattermole (knee) out
Adam Johnson (thigh) late fitness test
Seb Larsson (knee) late fitness test
Player to watch: Steven Fletcher:
Back amongst the goals against Southampton, the former Wolves, Burnley and Hibernian forward has eight times in his first 14 games as a Sunderland player.
Manchester City Team News:
Gael Clichy (knee)
Mario Balotelli (illness)
Aleksandr Kolarov (thigh)
Samir Nasri (groin) out
Micah Richards (knee) out
Jack Rodwell (hamstring)
Player to watch: Carlos Tevez:
The Argentine is roaring back to his best form, and his partnership with fellow countryman Sergio 'Kun' Aguero is extremely potent.
The former Manchester United, West Ham United and Boca Juniors striker has gone the full circle at the Etihad Stadium in terms of popularity, and is now a key man for the Citizens once more.
Match Facts & Stats:
6 - The number of goals conceded away from home by the Citizens; the division's best.
3 - Sunderland are unbeaten at home against City in their last three meetings.
2 - Number of back-to-back clean sheets for the Lads when hosting City in their last two home ties with the Manchester side.
Mr Kevin Friend (Leicester) - Joined the elite group of referees in 2009. - Has since refereed 58 top-flight matches. - Dismissed 10 players & cautioned 203.
A comfortable City win - Sunderland's improved recent form aside, the Citizens are still a very strong team and should cause the Black Cats problems.
Tottenham Hotspur (H) - December 29
Liverpool (A) - January 2