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All the stats and facts as Man City take on Sunderland in the Capital One Cup Final

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Manchester City vs Sunderland: Capital One Cup Final Preview

This weekend the first competitive English competition will be settled as giants Manchester City take on the underdogs, Sunderland. It’s a perfect David vs Goliath encounter with a large fraction of the neutrals cheering the team in stripes.

What it means for the two sides

A few weeks back Manuel Pellegrini and his team of stars were dreaming of completing a quadruple. Those hopes were put in serious doubt with the Citizens losing 2-0 at home to Spanish giants Barcelona in the first leg of their Round of 16 Champions League tie. The loss all but ended their hopes of a fantastic four trophy haul but galvanized the side into winning the Capital One Cup, especially after going last season without any silverware to their name and a shocking 1-0 loss in the FA Cup final to Wigan Atheltic. They haven’t won a piece of silverware since triumphing in the Premier League in 2011, following that up with a Community Shield victory. But the City players will be on guard to ensure they aren’t guilt of complacency again, as they were against an excellent Wigan side.

For Sunderland, it’s been a mixed few months. The side have struggled with relegation dating back to last season, and have had to make managerial changes to protect their Premier League status. But while most sides seem to struggle with cup runs, Sunderland’s progress in both the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup (they are currently in the Sixth Round/Quarter-Final stage with a game against Hull yet to come), seem to have spurred on the side and tilt them towards another relegation escape. The side were bottom at Christmas and are now just a point away from survival with a game in hand. A League Cup win would be an added bonus for a side whose objective remains survival.

The key men to watch-out for

Man City will have all their four strikers —  Aguero, Negredo, Dzeko, Jovetic, fit for the clash against Sunderland. Sergio Aguero has been City’s main player this season, scoring 26 goals in all competitions; but the Argentine has been ravaged by injuries throughout the campaign. He’s missed City’s past five games and the side have failed to score in three of those fixtures. But the former Atletico man returned to training this past week and is set to feature in the game, a vital inclusion for Pellegrini’s plans. Sunderland will have to be vary of the striker, who has the best minutes to goal ratio in England, scoring a goal every 80 minutes. Even if a start isn’t likely, Aguero is a vital man to have off the bench.

It’s a familiar face to lead Sunderland’s attack in the Capital One Cup. The Black Cats in form man, Adam Johnson, spent 2 and a half seasons at the City of Manchester stadium before making the jump to Sunderland.  The winger has been labelled an inconsistent performer throughout his career, but seems to have hit form towards the second half of the campaign under Gus Poyet. Adam Johnson has scored 7 goals and 5 assists in 10 games in 2014. His creative ability and runs in-field will be something Man City will have to look out for.

Both Sergio Aguero and Adam Johnson were part of the City side that won the Premier League title in the 2011/12 campaign. It was the last major trophy either of the two have won in their careers. Johnson has 1 goal and 2 assists in the Capital One Cup this season, while Aguero has 1 goal and 1 assist in the competition.

Key Stats and Facts

— The leagues top scorers are both Manchester City players, Eden Dzeko & Alvaro Negredo, both of whom have scored 6 goals

— Sunderland’s top scorers are Fabio Borini and Phil Bardsley, both of whom have 2 goals to their name

— Man City’s James Milner is 1 assist away from equaling Chris Burke’s record of 4 assists in this season’s Capital One Cup

— Manchester City have scored an impressive 19 goals and conceded just 1 on their run to Wembley

— In comparison, Sunderland have scored 9 goals and conceded 5 in their run to the final having won 4 and lost 1 as they required extra-time against Manchester United in the semi-finals

— Sunderland have been the giant killers of the tournament beating 3 sides above them in the Premier League on their run to the final (Southampton, Chelsea, Manchester United)

— Manchester City are averaging nearly 4 goals per game in the 2013-14 Capital One Cup

— Sunderland’s Sung-Yueng Ki has the joint-most yellow cards in this season’s League Cup with 3 yellows

Man City - Sunderland Attacking Stats (1)

— Manchester City’s superior attacking prowess shows in the stats with 42 of their 84 shots hitting the target

— Sunderland certainly have the superior wing play, attempting more crosses (94) and more importantly having 36 of them find their target

— Both seem fairly shy of scoring from outside the box with only 2 long-range goals to their name

Man City - Sunderland Defensive stats

— Defensively City have been solid at the back making as many successful tackles as Sunderland have attempted

— But Sunderland have a better tackles attempted to tackles successful ratio with an 84.84% successful tackles rate compared to City’s 65.3% tackles won rate

— Both Manchester City and Sunderland have lost just 2 of their last 10 games in all competitions

— Manchester City and Sunderland have faced each other 19 times, with City winning 12 of those fixtures while Sunderland have won just 5

— In the games against each other, City have scored 37 times while Sunderland scored 17 times

— There has never been a sending off when City and Sunderland have faced each other

— Sunderland have beaten Manchester City in all the last 4 games that took place at the Stadium of Light, this will be the first time these two meet at a neutral ground

— Sunderland got a 1-0 victory earlier in the season when the two met, Phil Bardsley’s goal proving to be the winner despite City having 65% of the possession. Bardsley’s goal was the only shot Sunderland had on target

— That game was also the only time the two South American managers, Gus Poyet and Manuel Pellegrini faced off against each other

Path to the Final

Manchester City

Third Round:
Man City 5-0 Wigan
Scorers – Dzeko, Jovetic (2), Toure. Navas

Fourth Round:
Newcastle 0-2 Man City
Scorers – Negredo, Dzeko

Quarter-Final:
Leicester City 1-3 Man City
Scorers – Dzeko (2), Kolarov

Semi-Final 1st leg:
Man City 6-0 West Ham
Scorers – Negredo (3), Toure, Dzeko (2)

Semi-Final 2nd leg:
West Ham 0-3 Man City
Scorers – Negredo (2), Aguero

Sunderland

Second Round:
Sunderland 4-2 MK Dons
Scorers – Altidore, Wickham (2), Johnson

Third Round:
Sunderland 2-0 Peterborough
Scorers – Giaccherini, Roberge

Fourth Round:
Sunderland 2-1 Southampton
Scorers – Bardsley, Larsson

Quarter-Final:
Sunderland 2-1 Chelsea (AET)
Scorers – Borini, Ki

Semi-Final 1st leg:
Sunderland 2-1 Man Utd
Scorers – Giggs og, Borini

Semi-Final 2nd leg:
Man Utd 2-1 Sunderland (AET) [1-2 penalties]
Scorers – Bardsley

Manuel Pellegrini’s men are the clear favourites, 3/10 with the bookies’ to win the first major piece of silverware of the season. Sunderland are at 19/2 to get another surprise victory, as they have in the quarters and semis.

Betting Calculator   Odds Calculator   Bookmakers.co.uk

According to the odds on Bookmakers.co.uk, this means a £20 bet would bring around a £200 return if you side with the dark horses. It’s a risk worth taking, given that Cup finals are so unpredictable, just ask City who were shocked by Wigan in the FA Cup last season, or Birmingham who scored a late shock over Arsenal in this very tournament, or Cardiff more recently who nearly pulled it off against Liverpool two seasons back.

It’s set to be an enthralling fixture, with many predicting the obvious result. But the beauty of this sport (and this season in particular) lies in its unpredictability.

Sami Faizullah

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