Following a turbulent summer transfer window, Sunderland have anything but an easy start to the new Premier League campaign.
David Moyes starts his tenure at Sunderland a trip to the Etihad. But what did Sunderland learn from the last time they faced Manchester City?
The Wearsiders succumbed to a 1-0 home defeat in early February but delivered a hearty and uplifting performance. If the Black Cats could replicate that they may just come away with something, Pep Guardiola or no Pep Guardiola.
More clinical finishing is needed
One thing that Moyes’ men just bear in mind, however, is that they must be more clinical with chances if they are going to walk away with anything other than a defeat.
Lamine Kone – who looks to have played his last game for the club upon handing in a transfer request – headed narrowly wide and arguably should have directed the ball more on target.
Billy Jones also went close to netting shortly before the break but his effort skimmed the wrong side of the post. The right-back then forced Joe Hart into a dramatic save in the dying minutes of the game and moments later Nicolas Otamendi made a heart-stopping goal line clearance off Dame N’Doye, preventing Sunderland an injury time equaliser. Allardyce’s side had five more shots than Manuel Pellegrini’s men, so it is clear that clinical finishing is needed this time out.
Kirchhoff must run the line
It is essential that Moyes trusts the current players at his disposal as well. Jan Kirchhoff more than impressed for Sunderland in his holding midfield role and resembled a wall for the Black Cats as he played in front of the back four.
The January addition made more touches than any other player on the pitch and his performance against City is just one of many that proves he deserves a place in the starting eleven as Sunderland commence their season.
Sunderland’s defence still needs some work but they need to learn from their last defeat against City. Sergio Aguero hit a deflected cross and unsurprisingly put his side ahead. Everybody knows the damage that the Argentinian can do and Sunderland must be on top of their defensive game if they are to prevent punishment from the well-known goalscorer.
Basically, if you stop Aguero, then your chances of taking something from the Etihad are a lot higher.