We take a look at the head-to-head record between the two Capital One Cup finalists, and some of the player battles that could take place on Sunday
Sunderland and Manchester City go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup Final on Sunday in a clash that has produced plenty of entertainment over recent years.
The Black Cats have an excellent recent record against their Wembley opponents having beaten them on the past four occasions at the Stadium of Light, all by a 1-0 scoreline.
The most recent of those victories came back in November as one of Sunderland’s several former Manchester United men, Phil Bardsley, scored the only goal of the game.
On Boxing Day 2012 the outcome was the same with Adam Johnson netting against his old club, though that came after City had won the season’s first meeting 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
In March 2012, City once again scored three on their own turf as the two teams battled out a thrilling 3-3 draw. Two late goals secured a draw for the hosts, at those two points were their only dropped points at home in a Premier League-winning season.
But 2012 had started for City with defeat at the Stadium of Light thanks to a goal in the last minute from Sunderland’s Ji Dong-Won.
A last-minute winner had been the Black Cats' prize in 2010/11 too as they picked up the points in August 2010 thanks to Darren Bent’s penalty. City were victorious at the Etihad the following April with Johnson on target then – meaning he has scored for both clubs in this fixture.
Prior to that it was City who were holding the upper-hand in the matches between the two sides and a look at the overall tally shows that they have the superior record in a fixture which spans four competitions and 115 years.
Of the 136 fixtures covering league action, FA Cup, League Cup and the Community Shield, City have won 62 against Sunderland’s 50, with 24 draws.
The two League Cup clashes came in the Third Round of the 1979/80 season. The two teams drew 1-1 at Maine Road in the initial meeting before Sunderland progressed thanks to a 1-0 victory at Roker Park in the replay.
Their most recent meeting in cup competition was back in the 1982/83 season, when City progressed through to the round four of the FA Cup after a replay.
Now it’s time to take a look at some of the individual battles we could be witnessing on the hallowed Wembley turf on Sunday afternoon.
Adam Johnson v Aleksandar Kolarov
Adam Johnson might have missed out on a place in the latest England squad but the Premier League’s Player of the Month for January has been in excellent form for Sunderland of late and will be relishing the chance to take on his old club at Wembley.
Johnson moved to his hometown club from City in August 2012 for around £10m, and it didn’t take him long to send out a message to his former employers by scoring the winning goal as Sunderland beat them 1-0 at the Stadium of Light later that season.
He was also in the Sunderland side that beat City back in November, while in his days with the Manchester side he scored twice for them against the Black Cats.
Johnson is likely to start on the right of Sunderland’s attacking trio so his immediate opponent is set to be left-back Aleksandar Kolarov.
The Serbian has appeared in four of City’s Capital One Cup ties this season and he scored in the Quarter-Final victory at Leicester City.
Kolarov has also found the target in two matches against Sunderland since moving to the Etihad Stadium in 2010. With him on the field this season City have conceded just one goal in their run to Wembley.
Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko v Wes Brown and John O’Shea
With City having the two leading goalscorers in this season’s Capital One Cup it would be wrong to pick out just one of them, so Sunderland’s central defensive duo John O’Shea and Wes Brown will have a big task on their hands to look after Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo.
Spaniard Negredo and Bosnian Dzeko have both netted six times in the competition for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
Dzeko has scored in every stage of the competition; against Wigan Athletic in Round Three, the Fourth Round at Newcastle United, two in the Quarter-Final at Leicester City and two more in the first leg of the Semi-Final against West Ham United.
Negredo, on the other hand, scored a hat-trick and a brace in the two games against West Ham, adding to his strike from the bench at Newcastle.
O’Shea has been an ever-present in Sunderland’s run to Wembley with Brown joining him at the heart of the Black Cats’ defence from the Fourth Round.
The pair are yet to keep a clean sheet in the competition but they did shut City out in the win at the Stadium of Light in November, while they also lined up together in the January 2012 home success.
Yaya Toure v Jack Colback
Powerhouse midfielder Yaya Toure is very much Manchester City’s go-to man when it comes to the big occasions.
The giant Ivorian marked his first season at the club with winning goals in the FA Cup semi-final and final – both at Wembley – as City clinched their first piece of silverware in 35 years. Then, in 2012, he was a regular and crucial goalscorer to help his colleagues win their maiden Premier League title.
Toure averages goals for City at a ratio of just over one strike in four games, but has scored in both of his Capital One Cup appearances this season. He came off the bench to net in the Third Round victory over Wigan, while his only other appearance came in the first leg of the Semi-Final at home to West Ham, when he also bagged.
But it would be hard to imagine Manuel Pellegrini not picking him from the start for this match and if that happens, his likely opponent will be Jack Colback.
The all-action central midfielder has barely missed a game for Sunderland over the last three years and has been one of the driving forces on their road to Wembley with a series of impressive performances.
The 24-year-old has made four appearances for Sunderland in this season’s competition and, although he was absent for the second leg of the Semi-Final at Manchester United, you would expect him to be one of the first names on Gus Poyet’s teamsheet come Sunday.
Colback has also played in the last three of those home victories for Sunderland against Manchester City and was an unused substitute in the one that started the four-game winning run back in 2010.