JOHN O’Shea is hoping history can repeat itself in more than one respect this Christmas.
Manchester City are today’s visitors to the Stadium of Light, a trip they made during the last festive period.
Then the title-chasers were surprisingly beaten 1-0 in a win which gave relegation-threatened Sunderland a huge shot in the arm.
Former Manchester United stalwart O’Shea would settle for the same again.
“Everything about it was perfect on the day,” recalled the Irishman (pictured below) of a match the Black Cats won with Ji Dong-won’s injury-time finish.
“We had to defend so well together as a team and then in the last few minutes we got a counter-attack and scored a great goal. Fingers crossed it will be the same again.
“We will have to defend very well again because when you look at how their attacking players link up it’s going to be difficult.
“That win did lift everybody. Wins like that can have that sort of impact.
“It would be easy for me to say if we beat Man City again the same effect will happen, but you can’t predict the future.
“All we can do is work hard in training, give everything we have in games and see where it takes us.”
Neither side goes into the game in the form they were in on New Year’s Day.
Sunderland were a month into the Martin O’Neill effect, revitalised by a new man in the dugout. City had made a flying start to the season.
However, the Black Cats beat Southampton on Saturday – the second of two big wins against relegation rivals this month – while City were in the North East 11 days ago to put Newcastle United to the sword.
O’Shea added: “I watched most of the City game against Newcastle and they played attacking stuff.
“Their four attacking players (Samir Nasri, David Silva, Carlos Tévez and Sergio Agüero) did very well together so I am sure their manager will be thinking about keeping those four together for a few games.
“Then when you look at how fired up United are to get the league title back, it’s going to be an interesting battle. United have the edge at the minute.”