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Sunderland vs. Manchester City, 2017 Premier League: 3 Things to Watch

There’s no room to slip at the top of the Premier League but City seem to be on a tear.

Manchester City Training Session and Press Conference Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

While other teams at the top of the Premier League face a variety of challenges this weekend, Manchester City will stand up against Sunderland with high hopes to extend their recent run of success.

Here are three things to watch:

1 - Sané, Agüero, Sterling

With Sunderland and Stoke City as the Blues’ next two foes, Pep Guardiola could send out his now tried-and-true front three to ensure their readiness as unquestionable sources of goals.

Surely, at least one of the three will be selected to strike at Sunderland. Whoever that might be, or if all three are present in the starting XI, it will be essential to guarantee service similar to what they created against Huddersfield and Monaco.

2 - One final step (for the long haul)

City have been relatively successful in keeping opponents’ chances to a minimum this season, but those few glances have often been nearly fatal on too many occasions.

Gaining the confidence to squelch individual runs, the vision to mark overlaps, the reflexes to block chances, remaining organized under pressure, are all necessary factors to balance the team’s front-footed preferences.

Creating this culture at the back for City will give them the ultimate edge in the long term.

3 - Dense schedule

Will a return to two matches a week spin City into another round of confused rotation?

It appears as if Pep Guardiola’s squad has matured through the tornado-like manipulation of the lineup earlier this season. Even as individuals are rested on occasion, the ability of substitutes to keep the system energized and productive appears to be more likely at this point.

The front six that has begun to deliver the Sky Blue’s attacking needs will be utilized more often than not in light of the City's need to play every game like it’s their last.

Thanks to the application of speed at the front of their formation, City’s build up and final touches have given the team a sense of cool confidence that can easily grow into substantial success.

A simple focus on game-to-game performances has resulted in the ability to provide fans with beautiful football and created a sense of joy within the team. Continuing to play with such electricity will be expected when CIty take the pitch at the Stadium of Light.