Manchester United - Sunderland Preview: Sir Alex Ferguson looking to extend six-point gap with Black Cats victory
The Red Devils increased their advantage over Premier League champions Manchester City with a 3-2 derby win last Sunday, but will have to be wary of Martin O'Neill's wounded side
By Tom J Doyle
Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra
Scholes, Carrick, Cleverley
Welbeck, Van Persie, Young
Gardner, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose
Johnson, Larsson, Colback, McClean
Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic returns to the squad after two months out with a knee injury, although Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he is not sure whether the centre-back will start the game.
Jonny Evans, meanwhile, (hamstring) will miss out after being substituted against Manchester City last Sunday.
Nani and Anderson (both hamstring) are set to miss first-team action until the end of December, while this match may come too soon for Shinji Kagawa (knee), although the midfielder is due to return to first-team training on Monday.
Wayne Rooney (illness) could be rested by Sir Alex Ferguson with either Chicharito or Danny Welbeck taking his place in the team.
Antonio Valencia may also be given a break after making a surprise comeback for the Manchester City game after a spell on the sidelines following a hip injury.
Sunderland defender Wes Brown (knee) is out until the end of January, so will miss a return to his former club. Lee Cattermole (knee) has no set return date but will be a big miss for Martin O'Neill's men.
Danny Rose, Adam Johnson (both knocks) and Phil Bardsley (knee) were substituted in the midweek win over Reading, with the Scottish full-back expected to miss the next few weeks of action, although the left-sided pair could be fit for this game.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester United have won 14 of their last 16 games at Old Trafford, losing just once.
- United are undefeated against Sunderland in their last 17 meetings in all competitions.
- Sunderland have just one win from their last 15 Premier League away games, losing seven and drawing seven.
- The Black Cats have also failed to score in 14 of those 15 away matches.
- Wayne Rooney scored his 150th Premier League goal during the 3-2 victory over Manchester City last Sunday.
- United have only scored seven goals against Sunderland in their last three meetings - three of which were own goals by Black Cats players.
- Robin van Persie (pictured, right) has seven goals in nine appearances against Sunderland in all competitions. He is 11/4 to score the first goal of the game with bet365.
- The Wearside club have conceded two fewer goals than United in the league this season, but trail them by 23 points after 16 games.
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Top 3 Predictions
Man. United 3-1 Sunderland
- 18.96 %
Man. United 3-0 Sunderland
- 18.78 %
Man. United 4-1 Sunderland
- 8.12 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Oct 5, 2013||Sunderland 1 - Man. United 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Mar 30, 2013||Sunderland 0 - Man. United 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Dec 15, 2012||Man. United 3 - Sunderland 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||May 13, 2012||Sunderland 0 - Man. United 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 5, 2011||Man. United 1 - Sunderland 0|
|Dec 10, 2013||Man. United 1 - Shakhtar Donetsk 0||UCL|
|Dec 7, 2013||Man. United 0 - Newcastle United 1||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Man. United 0 - Everton 1||EPL|
|Dec 1, 2013||Tottenham 2 - Man. United 2||EPL|
|Nov 27, 2013||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0 - Man. United 5||UCL|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
|20||Robin van Persie||Striker|
|24||Carlos Javier Cuéllar||Defender|
Times In EAT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed