Sergio Aguero's 16th minute strike made all the difference for Manchester City as the Blues held off a spirited Sunderland side for a crucial 1-0 victory. The result allows the Blues to keep pace with table-topping Leicester City who visit The Etihad Stadium on Saturday. If Manchester City wins that match they will go top-of-table on goal difference.
Sunderland has numerous chances to draw level in the match, most notably Jermain Defoe's effort just before halftime which Joe Hart dramatically saved.
Manuel Pellegrini managing a day after it was publicly he announced he will be leaving the club after the season opened the match in a 4-4-2 formation that featured Kelechi Iheanacho playing up front with Sergio Aguero. At halftime Iheanacho was pulled of for the added security that Fernando could provide in a holding midfield role.
The Blues at times looked gassed in this match having played on Saturday at Villa Park just days after winning the League Cup semifinal second leg. Manchester City had played 180 minutes of football since the Black Cats last played and it showed. Sunderland looked the far brighter side in the second half, but these sorts of results are how team win titles.
Incidentally in the previous two title winning seasons for Manchester City in this era, the Blues have taken just one point in each season from Sunderland. This season, City has done the double over the Black Cats and also eliminated Sunderland from the League Cup.