Sunderland 1 Man City 0

by James, Junior Black Cats reporter

Junior Black Cats reporter James gives his take on the action.

Sunderland beat Manchester City for the fourth year in a row 1-0 on Wearside, with Phil Bardsley grabbing the 21st-minute winner.

The Scottish international scored his second goal of the week after netting against Southampton in the Capital One Cup.

Gus Poyet made two changes from the cup win in midweek, replacing Craig Gardner and Jozy Altidore with Seb Larsson and Steven Fletcher respectively. City, meanwhile, made five changes to the side that destroyed CSKA Moscow 5-2 in the Champions League.

The game started off quite slowly with neither side really able to hold onto the game, though Sunderland did move the ball around well and looked very comfortable when in possession.

Despite all the short passes, it was a long ball which cut the visitors open. Wes Brown, making his first Barclays Premier League start in a little under two years, played a ball forward toward his defensive partner Bardsley, who was making a break from deep.

Out-muscling James Milner, Bardsley was free with the ball on the left wing. With Emanuele Giaccherini standing free in the centre, the most likely option was a cross but the Scot decided to try and double his goal tally for the season and take a shot. The full back managed to wrap the ball around the on-rushing Costel Pantilimon in the City net and place the ball into the far corner, giving the Lads the lead.

The visitors, hoping to end their bad run at the Stadium of Light, started to put some pressure on Sunderland, who had previously been relatively comfortable despite the obvious quality of the opposition.

The best chance for City came in the 32nd minute where, after good pressure, Aleksandar Kolarov whipped in a cross toward the back stick and striker Sergio Aguero, who could not direct his header on target.

The away team began the second half well, and should have been level 50 minutes in, but substitute Jesus Navas saw his shot blocked by Bardsley and then caught by Vito Mannone. The move stemmed from Aguero, who quickly turned away from John O’Shea before crossing to Spaniard Navas.

Sunderland, though, were still posing the Citizens some problems. A Jack Colback run down the left resulted in the midfielder’s cross being headed out. However, the ball eventually fell to Ki, who was playing in a holding role. The South Korean unleashed a powerful shot from 20 yards that skimmed just wide of City’s left post.

Aguero then had two chances to score in three minutes, but could not convert both times as the 70-minute mark passed.

The pacy frontman managed to turn O’Shea and hit a shot that Mannone did well to parry away. His second chance from Mannone’s parry off a powerful Edin Dzeko shot. Despite his close range, Aguero could only slice his shot wide, thankfully for Sunderland.

Dzeko again came close to levelling matters before Kolarov brushed the side-netting with a well-hit shot but, despite all their possession, City could not find a goal, meaning that Sunderland held on for a vital three points for the second Premier League home game running.

Sunderland will play away to Stoke City after the international break in two weeks time, knowing an away win would bring them level on points with the home side.

Sunderland team: Vito Mannone, Ondrej Celustka, Phil Bardsley, John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Ki, Seb Larsson, Jack Colback, Adam Johnson (Fabio Borini), Emanuele Giaccherini (Craig Gardner) and Steven Fletcher (Jozy Altidore).

Subs not used: Cabral, Modibo Diakite, Keiren Westwood, Charis Mavrias.

Manchester City team: Costel Pantilimon, Micah Richards (Pablo Zabaleta), Aleksandar Kolarov, Yaya Toure, Javi Garcia (Jesus Navas), Samir Nasri, James Milner, Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo (Edin Dzeko).

Subs not used: Dedryck Boyata, Gael Clichy, Jack Rodwell, Joe Hart.