Sunderland have replicated the run of one point from eight games that saw off Paolo Di Canio at the start of the season, but this could get even uglier as their bid to make it ninth time lucky takes them to Manchester City.
The odds paint it as a mismatch, with the title chasers 1/7, the draw 13/2 and the bottom club 16/1, yet there are reasons to fancy the Black Cats to go down swinging, and three means of milking profit from such a contest:
Both teams to score @ 21/20
The three goals given up at Liverpool washed away the remaining memories of Man City’s recent clean-sheet splurge and stretched their run without a shutout to three matches.
They have kept only two of their last five league visitors quiet, while Sunderland have netted on each of their six trips to top-nine sides, and 14 of their 15 home and away encounters with such opponents.
Sunderland to score the first goal @ 4/1
Gus Poyet’s relegation worriers are viewed as Man City’s bogey team following four victories in their last eight meetings, as well as being the sole guests to claim an Etihad Stadium point during their table-topping 2011/12 league campaign.
The key to those successes has been striking the initial blow, with the Wearsiders assuming a 1-0 lead in five of the last six showdowns, including all of the last three.
If they do so again, new bwin.com customers who stake the £30 free bet received upon signing up on Sunderland breaking the deadlock will unlock a £120 jackpot.
Sunderland to win with a two-goal handicap @ 7/4
Man City didn’t just survive but thrived in Sergio Aguero’s latest absence, winning four and drawing one of the five fixtures that he sat out compared to losing the last three in which he has featured.
Yaya Toure will be a far bigger loss. After all, he is their top league scorer and someone that they aren’t used to functioning without.
The Ivorian destroyer has missed a mere seven league games since the start of last season, and Man City didn’t notch more than twice in any of them, firing eight times in total.
Toure was also the difference maker in the Capital One Cup final clash between these sides, with Sunderland hushing the favourites for 54 minutes before his wonder strike.