Sunderland-Manchester City Preview

The Associated Press

Title-chasing Manchester City face bottom club Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening with both sides looking to bounce back from disappointing defeats at the weekend.

City (22-4-6) were beaten 3-2 at league leaders Liverpool on Sunday, a result that left them seven points behind the Reds and five behind second-place Chelsea, although they do still have two games in hand over both clubs.

Liverpool were two goals up at half-time but City fought back strongly after the break to equalise with a strike from David Silva and an own goal from Glen Johnson, before Philippe Coutinho hit a 78th-minute winner for the Reds.

Striker Edin Dzeko believes the race for the Premier League championship will not be decided until the last day of the season.

"It's too early to say if Sunday's result will decide where the title ends up because we still have six games to play and Liverpool and Chelsea both have four left," Dzeko told "People talk about pressure and suchlike but that doesn't really matter - just who wins the most games between now and the end of the season.

"I firmly believe, like the last time we won the title, that it will go right to the wire despite our defeat at Anfield. It was an amazing experience to win the title in 2012 but that was then, this is now and everything is different. We have a lot of new players and we want to win it again for our fans, the team and the club, and we have to get back on track by beating Sunderland and West Brom in the next week.

Sunderland (6-7-19) are in serious trouble at the foot of the table. Gus Poyet's side have lost five straight league matches and are seven points from safety, however they do have two games in hand over their nearest relegation rivals Cardiff City, Fulham and Norwich City.

The Black Cats lost 1-0 at home to Everton on Saturday after defender Wes Brown scored an unfortunate own goal 15 minutes from time. Sunderland played well against the Toffees and were unlucky not to take a least a point from the match, with strikers Connor Wickham and Fabio Borini both missing goal-scoring opportunities.

Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole was pleased with the team's spirited display against Everton and is looking for a repeat performance against Manchester City.

"It said it all when the fans clapped the team off the pitch," Cattermole told "They knew we'd been up against a top side and we matched them on all areas of the pitch. We were creating chance after chance but unfortunately nothing fell for us and then they scored through an own goal.

"We realise results aren't going to get handed to us and we know we need to keep working hard. It is getting tougher, but for me if we repeat that performance against Everton we'll give ourselves a chance. We've two games coming up this week against top sides and I think we're more than capable of turning in another performance like we did against Everton."

Manchester City won 14 of their 15 home league matches this season with the 1-0 defeat by Chelsea on Feb. 3 the lone blemish. Sunderland have taken just one point from their last eight games.

City beat Sunderland 3-1 in the League Cup final at Wembley on Mar. 2. Borini put the Blacks Cats ahead before goals from Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas sealed victory for the Citizens and handed Manuel Pellegrini's his first trophy as Manchester City manager.

David Bardsley scored the only goal of the match as Sunderland claimed a shock 1-0 home win this season's reverse league fixture on Nov. 10. Bardsley will miss the match against City due to suspension.

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