This is an important match for both teams, with Manchester City sitting three points behind league-leading Leicester City, and Sunderland four points from Premier League safety. Normally you would expect City to thrash a struggling team like Sunderland in this spot, but with the Citizens looking awfully vulnerable at times over the last few weeks, and with a few key injuries to deal with, you can't be certain of any result.
Sunderland will especially feel good about their chances while playing in front of a passionate home crowd at the Stadium Of Light, and they'll need any advantage they can get. After all, it was just five weeks ago that City whipped Sunderland 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. It's going to take more than luck to turn around that kind of gap, and the help of the hometown faithful could be just what Sunderland need to get their momentum headed in the right direction.
Key factor -- Manchester City's focus
On Monday, something long rumored became official -- Manuel Pellegrini will leave Manchester City at the end of the season and be replaced by Pep Guardiola. That means that City's manager is essentially a dead man walking, and now we have to wonder how much their players will be paying attention to him the rest of the season. As long as City are competing in the EPL and Champions League, things should be okay, but if City stumble at all, there's a real risk of things coming unglued in a hurry with a lame-duck manager trying to pick up the pieces.
Key matchup -- Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) vs. Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City)
Defoe had a great couple of weeks last month, scoring five goals in two matches. He hasn't scored since then, though, and has looked a little adrift in Sunderland's action in their games after that outburst. This is probably a good time for him to face Manchester City, though, with both Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala out, leaving the wildly inconsistent pairing of Nicolas Otamendi and Martin Demichelis to defend against his efforts in front of goal, with the more mobile Otamendi likely to be tasked with keeping Defoe at bay. If they have another bad day in City's defense, Defoe might just be able to find the back of the net again.
Sunderland injuries and suspensions
Out: Younes Kaboul, Adam Matthews, Sebastion Larsson
Manchester City injuries and suspensions
Out: Fabian Delph, Kevin De Bruyne, Eliaquim Mangala, Wilfried Bony, Vincent Kompany, Samir Nasri
Match date/time: Tues., 2:45 p.m. ET, 7:45 p.m. local
Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England
TV: TSN5 (Canada)
Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (US)