Etihad Stadium – New Year’s Day, Thursday 1st January at 15.00 live on BT Sport 1
Manuel Pellegrini takes his Manchester City side into 2015 as the form team in the Premier League, having won seven and drawn one of their last eight games. In fact City are undefeated in 10 games since losing at West Ham back in October, a loss which was their only loss in the last 16 Premier League matches.
Gus Poyet’s Sunderland team are seemingly trying to avoid relegation almost exclusively with draws, they have drawn an incredible 11 of 19 games so far this season. When you consider that last year only one team had more than 11 draws all season, they are well on the way to breaking the record of 17 draws in one season.
Perhaps all these draws are a positive sign for the Black Cats because each of the three sides who ended a season with 17 draws, all avoided relegation. Almost unbelievably Newcastle United finished 5го and qualified for the UEFA Cup despite drawing 17 times in 2003/04.
Another good sign for Sunderland coming into this tough looking match away at the Champions is that, they are as close to a bogey team as the Citizens have got in the Premier League. City have only managed two wins from the last seven meetings between the two teams and they have also lost 1-0 three times against the Black Cats.
Understandably the Champions are priced up at just 1.25 for the win on New Year’s Day and just 2.10 to cover the -2 handicap line. This game has been priced up almost the same as City’s previous home match, where they were 1.20 to beat Burnley and 2.04 to cover the same -2 handicap.
After taking a 2-0 lead within 33 minutes, most City backers would have been spending their winnings but the Champions had a very poor second half and Burnley took full advantage to snatch an unlikely point with an 81st minute equaliser.
With Man City potentially welcoming back Kompany, Toure and Jovetic it would be a major upset if they failed to beat a solid but low scoring Sunderland side on Thursday. So, our recommendation is to back Manchester City -1.75 at 1.85 as the Champions should win with plenty to spare.
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Price correct at the time of writing.