Sunderland will look to pile the pressure on Manchester City after two defeats in a week for the Premier League leaders.
Pellegrini will be taking this game very seriously and won’t hold back in his team selection, he’ll know as well as anyone City need a morale boosting win as soon as possible.
City have continued to perform well but were outfoxed by Juventus and West Ham, both games they could have easily won but for a few moments going against them.
Sunderland are yet to win this season and find themselves routed to the bottom of the table below local rivals Newcastle on goal difference. Dick Advocaat must be regretting making a late decision to stay with the Black Cats after steering them clear of relegation at the end of last season.
Sunderland looked good against Tottenham and were unfortunate to lose the game infant of their own fans. New signings Jeremy Lens, Yann M’Vila and Ola Toivonen look like they will strengthen Sunderland considerably after the expected embedding period.
This game has come at a good time for Pellegrini to rotate his players, Aleksander Kolarov the first to be rested after playing every minute of City’s good start to the season. Gael Clichy made the bench in the defeat to West Ham and will likely be fit enough to replace the Serbian.
Raheem Sterling may also be rested after looking tired in recent games, Samir Nasri the probable change on the left. Caballero usually comes in for Hart in the Capital One Cup and captain Vincent Kompany may not be risked after coming off injured last weekend.
Kevin De Bruyne marked his full debut with a goal against The Hammers and will start at The Stadium of Light but David Silva might be given another game to recover from a recurring ankle injury that ruled him out of the win away at Crystal Palace. I think Pellegrini will make the mistake of going with Wilfried Bony when star striker Sergio Aguero is in much need of a confidence boosting goal.
Advocaat will know a result, or even a promising performance here is exactly what his side needs to kickstart their season, however it’s going to be a tough task against a City side out to avenge their last couple of results.
USA international DeAndre Yedlin could be in line to make his first Sunderland appearance at left-back over the popular Patrick Van Aanholt. Advocaat will be boosted by the return of Steven Fletcher who played the final half an hour last weekend, he may start as the lone striker over Jermaine Defoe.
Jack Rodwell adds a stronger defensive presence than Jordi Gomez and I expect the former City midfielder to get the nod over the Spaniard.
Manchester City: Caballero; Sagna, Demichelis, Otamendi, Clichy; Toure, Fernando; Navas, De Bruyne, Nasri; Bony
Sunderland: Pantillimon; Jones, Kaboul, Coates, Yedlin; Toivenen, M’Vila, Rodwell, Borini, Lens, Fletcher