Desperation has taken over at Sunderland. Known for their ability to catch fire at the end of the season and somehow avoid relegation year after year, the Black Cats do not look like escaping a trip to the Championship this season. David Moyes' men have had problems all season, especially defensively, and the great miracle of survival does not seem likely this time.
And yet, they could all of a sudden turn into world-beaters, shock a Premier League giant and start their journey to safety again. That's what they usually do, and this Sunday they face a Manchester City team in fantastic form, and this could very well be a Trap Game for everyone watching.
The Sky Blues come into this one having scored 10 times in the last two games, with talented players all over the pitch and an explosive attacking force on fire just at the right time. City have a shot at doing something special this season, and they want to keep winning game after game to see where they'll end up.
Maybe there's a miracle title run. Maybe there's a Champions League or FA Cup trophy awaiting. We don't know, but City need to beat Sunderland. But we don't know if that's going to happen either. Football is weird and awesome.
MATCH INFO, HOW TO WATCH ON TV/ONLINE
Date/Time: Sunday, March 5, 2017, 4pm GMT (UK), 11am EST, 8am PST (USA), 9:30pm IST (India)
Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Television: NBCSN (USA), Sky Sports 1 (UK), Sporstnet World (Canada), Star Sports Select HD2 (India), SuperSport 3 (Nigeria), elsewhere
(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)
No injuries! Vincent Kompany, Aleksandar Kolarov and everyone else is fit and ready to go, according to Pep Guardiola. Of course there are injured players, but since Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan are expected back next season, we won't remember them. City should play a very similar team to the one that beat AS Monaco 10 days ago, and most of the players that dominated Huddersfield. A leaky but talented defense, a strong and creative midfield, a rapid and free-scoring attack. This City team is good.
Sunderland: Pickford; Koné, O'Shea, Djilobodji; Januzaj, Gibson, N'Dong, Larsson, Oviedo; Borini, Defoe
Man City: Caballero; Sagna, Stones, Kolarov, Fernandinho; De Bruyne, Touré, Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané
Sunderland kept Liverpool and Tottenham from winning at their stadium, but City are just too good right now. 3-1 to the visitors.