Jaymes Monte previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Sunderland and Manchester City, which may not be as straightforward as many would maybe expect it to be for the visitors...
"So far this season the Citizens have won only one and lost three of their five away league fixtures, including defeats at Cardiff and Aston Villa."
Sunderland v Man City
Sunday, 14:05 GMT
Sky Sports 1
On the face of it fifth-place Manchester City, who have scored 28 goals in 10 games this season, should have no problems disposing of a Sunderland side who have won one and lost eight of their 10 Premier League fixtures this season, only managing to score seven goals in the process. It should be a foregone conclusion, a mere formality.
But Sunderland-Manchester City games at the Stadium of Light rarely play out as you would expect. The Black Cats have now won the last three meetings on Wearside by a 1-0 scoreline and are unbeaten at home against City in the last four here.
Last season it was Adam Johnson who grabbed the winner against his former club, the previous year Ji Dong-Won scored in the 90th minute to take all three points and it was another last minute goal, this time a penalty from Darren Bent, that gave Sunderland the win in the 2010/11 season.
If you believe in 'bogey teams', 'hoodoos', witches and goblins then there's no disputing that you should be backing Sunderland this weekend at huge odds of 9.28/1.
But even if you're not into warlords and Harry Potter, and like to think about things a bit more pragmatically, then there's reason to avoid backing City at odds of 1.412/5 this Sunday.
First and foremost is City's poor away form. A record of just nine wins in 19 games away from the Etihad in the Premier League last season was at the crux of Roberto Mancini's sacking in the summer, and since taking over Manuel Pellegrini has been able to do little about the problem. So far this season the Citizens have won only one and lost three of their five away league fixtures, including defeats at Cardiff and Aston Villa.
It's also worth noting that Gus Poyet has a 100% record at the Stadium of Light since taking over from Paolo di Canio. Okay that's only two games, but there were positive signs in the games against Newcastle and the midweek Capital One Cup tie against Southampton, both of which they won 2-1.
I believe it's worth taking a chance on the hosts getting something from the game, whether that be by backing them at odds of 9.28/1 or laying City at 1.412/5, but then, as a long suffering Sunderland fan, I'm slightly biased.
Over/Under 2.5 goals
Again, if we look at recent meetings at the Stadium of Light then backing Under 2.5 goals at odds of 2.56/4 is a no-brainer. As mentioned above, the last three have finished 1-0, while the last four have had fewer than 2.5 goals. Furthermore, three of the five goals scored in the last four meetings on Wearside have come in the 90th minute, offering plenty of time to Cash Out should you have felt the need.
Even when we look at things a bit more pragmatically the Under 2.5 goals selection makes sense. Poyet's management style is based primarily on building things from the back - his Brighton team conceded an average of just 1.06 goals per game - and against Southampton in midweek, and in the second half at Hull last weekend, there were signs of this Sunderland team taking that on board.
City are also looking a lot more assured at the back in the past few games and have cut out the costly individual errors since Costel Pantilimon replaced Joe Hart between the sticks.
Best Cash Out Opportunity
Priced at odds of 32.031/1 the 1-0 scoreline in favour of Sunderland could prove a very profitable trading option. The danger, of course, is that if City score then the game is up. But for a result that has occurred in each of the last three prequels of this fixture, odds that big cannot be ignored.