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City 1 Sunderland 0

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It is often said that it is a sign of a good time when they can pull out wins when they are not playing well, and if that adage is true it is certainly a good trait to have.

Yes, we didn't play well - but realistically we didn't have to. Sunderland are not a strong side, lacking the qualities that many pundits thought they would possess when tipping them for a top half finish. Despite maintaining the 100% home record, we didn't really click for the most part - something that has been a trait in recent games.

Perhaps that is being a touch harsh though as three points is three points after all, and good sides are often as good as they need to be. Despite last night being a dull encounter, it was livened up by a well taken goal, even if the celebration was suspect (something Ireland quite rightly won't face any censure over).

Defensively we were sound, the loss of Richards not noticeable in the middle as Corluka more than ably deputised, although Sun Jihai hardly put pressure on Sven to give him a run in the side. We did struggle in midfield with neither Elano or Petrov having the most productive game and it could be that Michael Johnson's impending operation provides a break for him as he has played a lot of football this season (including internationals) at a high level for someone his age.

Vassell was a willing worker on the left and his cross for the goal made Sven's decision to put him on the left (with Petrov moved to the right hand side in the second half) look a sound one - or perhaps lending weight to the 'lucky Sven' tag!

Bianchi got a warm reception when he replaced Mpenza, but never quite got into the game and reports do still persist he will move back to Italy in January.

Another three points then - and a new record to boot, and it really is our home record which has carried us to where we are this season given our sketchy form on our travels. With Portsmouth up next weekend at Fratton Park, this will definitely be a big test against one of our realistic challengers this season - and a game we need to be looking to get something from.

Reports:

IT IS 105 years since City last won their opening seven home games of the season and that year they won the title! They are not going to repeat that feat this season - especially on this kind of patchy form - but at least showed they have not suffered terminal damage from their off-day at Chelsea. -MEN.

Sunderland slumped to their fifth away defeat of the season tonight, going down 1-0 to Manchester City at Eastlands. -Sunderland Echo.

When Sven-Goran Eriksson was asked to analyse Manchester City's 6-0 humbling by Chelsea, a rather over-emotive radio reporter told him that the "eyes of the world" would be watching the club's response against Sunderland.
Until Stephen Ireland drove home a wonderfully timed volley that would take Manchester City into third place in the table, the eyes of the world would have been heavy-lidded. -Telegraph.