Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

CAN CITY TRIP THE LIGHT FANTASTIC? ; Buoyant Blues Set Their Stall out on Banishing Their Wearside Hoodoo

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

CAN CITY TRIP THE LIGHT FANTASTIC? ; Buoyant Blues Set Their Stall out on Banishing Their Wearside Hoodoo

Article excerpt

THE Stadium of Light has cast a dark shadow over City's rise in the past five years.

The Blues have suffered from a catalogue of poor performances, shocking refereeing, woodwork striking, goalkeeper heroics and sheer bad luck as they have racked up a dreadful record of four wins and a defeat against perennial relegation strugglers.

That means the Wearside venue is the Blues' least fruitful ground since their 2008 takeover. They have had more joy at Chelsea, Arsenal and United - and indeed Bayern Munich - than they have had against successive feisty Sunderland sides.

They need to end that run tomorrow night, or risk seeing the narrowing of Chelsea's lead to six points become stretched and formidable once again.

There are plenty of pertinent lessons to be learned from the succession of four 1-0 defeats City have suffered, so MEN Sport takes a look at what the Blues need to remember in order to draw the Black Cats' claws.

BEWARE EX-REDS Last season City had a terribly frustrating November afternoon in Sunderland, largely thanks to United veterans Wes Brown and John O'Shea.

The two ageing defenders, whose stars have been on the wane since they left Old Trafford, managed to summon up some of the residue of their glory days at Old Trafford to deny a misfiring Blue strike- force and restrict Sergio Aguero to a minimum of chances.

Just to make matters worse for the travelling Blues, it was Salford Red Phil Bardsley, another United graduate, who conjured up the winning goal, albeit on the back of what appeared to be a foul on James Milner.

DON'T RELY ON THE REF!City know this only too well, not least after Mike Jones' embarrassingly poor performance at Southampton, when he booked Sergio Aguero for diving, rather than award a blatant penalty.

They have not had any favours from the officials in recent matches up at Sunderland either.

Last season Mike Dean failed to spot an X-rated challenge by Seb Larsson that deserved a straight red card - the Sunderland man was not even booked.

And on New Year's Day 2012, Ji Dong-won came off the bench to score Sunderland's winner, with the linesman failing to spot the Korean was offside before he rounded Joe Hart in added time to score. …

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