Manchester City vs. Sunderland: Most Likely Capital One Cup Final Match-Winners

Jason PettigroveContributor IMarch 1, 2014

Sergio Aguero's return from injury has come at just the right time for Manchester City.
Sergio Aguero's return from injury has come at just the right time for Manchester City.Scott Heppell/Associated Press

The last time Manchester City contested a League Cup Final in any of its guises was way back in 1976, a Dennis Tuart overhead kick taking them to victory over a stubborn Newcastle United that day.

On this occasion Manuel Pellegrini's men are overwhelming favourites to secure the first major silverware of the season.

Gus Poyet's Sunderland side will be hoping to throw the proverbial spanner in the works, and with only a single loss in the last five against the Citizens, this match could be closer than many anticipate.

Let's take a look at the most likely match-winners from each side.


Manchester City

Manchester City's Most Likely Match-Winners vs. Sunderland
Sergio Aguero21267
Yaya Toure30144


Sergio Aguero

Injured for the last half dozen games, Sergio Aguero will be welcomed back to the Manchester City attack with open arms.

Whilst City have rarely struggled this season, a failure to score in three of their last five sans Aguero tells its own story. 

Top scorer with 26 goals in all competitions, Aguero has failed to find the net on only three occasions since September, per

Interestingly Sunderland were the opponents in one of the games where Aguero drew a blank.

However, no matches for a month will see a fresh and hungry Aguero champing at the bit to carry on where he left off before his injury at Tottenham Hotspur.

The Argentine certainly gives City that extra something, and his lightning quick pace and intelligent link-up play has troubled some of the best opposition defences this term.


Yaya Toure

The man for the big occasion and the driving force of the Manchester City midfield, Yaya Toure is a rampaging beast of a player whom few seem to get the better of, and when City are on song, invariably Toure is at the epicentre. 

With young Liam Bridcutt cup-tied, whoever is charged with protecting the Sunderland back four could be in for a rude awakening against the energetic Ivorian.

Jack Colback and Ki Sung-Yeung will also have a part to play, defending from the front and keeping Toure's penetrative forays to a minimum.

Toure's 101 touches of the ball with a 96 percent pass accuracy (per the last time these two sides met, gives an indicator of what to expect on Sunday.

Don't be surprised if he pops up with the winner either.



Sunderland's Most Likely Match-Winners vs. Manchester City
Adam Johnson1873
Fabio Borini1431


Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson will surely have a point to prove to his old employers.

A falling out with then-Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini led to an inevitable sale, with Sunderland the grateful recipients of Johnson's services.

A natural wide man, Johnson can sometimes flatter to deceive, but he comes into the final in great form.

Six goals in his last seven appearances and a man-of-the-match showing against Fulham, per, will give Aleksandar Kolarov some food for thought on the City left flank.

With the ability to cut inside or drift out wide, Johnson offers a significant threat to Pellegrini's back line.

Given time on the ball, he will commit defenders and open the channels for the likes of Fabio Borini to go about his work—whilst also providing a supplementary goalscoring presence himself.


Fabio Borini

It's important that Fabio Borini works the Manchester City defence throughout the match.
It's important that Fabio Borini works the Manchester City defence throughout the match.Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

On-loan striker Fabio Borini is likely to play as the lone frontman in Sunday's showpiece.

In a match which could well see City dominate possession, the agile Italian will certainly have his work cut out against the brick wall that is Vincent Kompany and Martin Demechelis.

However, his superior work rate is what's likely to keep City's back line busy all afternoon. 

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet isn't in any doubt as to what the 22-year-old brings to his team, as he explained to the Sunderland Echo.

Two goals and one assist in four appearances in this year's competition is a great return, and Manuel Pellegrini won't need reminding that one of those goals came against arch-rivals Manchester United in the semi-finals.

In training, Borini has shown the fearlessness and optimism of youth, and his relaxed demeanour surely bodes well for Puyet's side, as they bid to win the club's first major piece of silverware since Bob Stokoe and Ian Porterfield upset the odds in 1973.