Premier League Preview: Sunderland - Manchester United
Martin O'Neill's side has not tasted victory since January, and it will take on the league-leading Red Devils, who are seeking their sixth straight clean sheet in league play.
By Oliver Platt
Gardner, O'Shea, Bramble, Rose
Johnson, Larsson, N'Diaye, McClean
Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra
Valencia, Rooney, Kagawa
Sunderland's survival hopes were dealt a significant blow this week after it was confirmed that both Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole would miss the rest of the season.
Fletcher is the Black Cats' top scorer with 11 league goals this season, and the attacking burden will now fall upon January signing Danny Graham.
Stephane Sessegnon is expected to return from a groin injury and is likely to support Graham in a 4-4-1-1 formation. David Vaughan (groin) should be available, but Carlos Cuellar (ankle) is a doubt and Wes Brown (knee) is injured.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, meanwhile, could ring the changes ahead of his side's FA Cup quarterfinal replay against Chelsea on Monday.
Chicharito is likely to start in attack, but Ferguson may not risk resting both Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. Nani (hamstring), Paul Scholes (knee) and Phil Jones (ankle) are nearing returns after spells on the sidelines but this match may come too soon for them.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Steven Fletcher has scored a third of Sunderland's 33 league goals so far this season, a larger percentage than Robin van Persie has contributed for Manchester United (28 percent).
- While the Black Cats have struggled to score goals, only Stoke has a better defensive record among clubs currently lying in the bottom half of the Premier League.
- Sunderland beat Manchester City both this season and last at the Stadium of Light but have not toppled United on home turf in the top flight since 1997.
- Adam Johnson's performances since his move from Manchester City have often come under scrutiny this season, but the winger has created more chances (44) than any of his teammates in 2012-13.
- Having collected 74 points from 29 games, Manchester United remains on course to break Chelsea's record Premier League points tally of 95.
- Despite suffering slip-ups in the FA Cup and Champions League, United has kept clean sheets in five consecutive league matches.
- Left back Patrice Evra (pictured right) has played more minutes (2,430) than any other United player in the league this season.
- No player in the top flight has hit the woodwork more than van Persie this season. The Dutchman has been denied by a post or the crossbar seven times.
Top 3 Predictions
Sunderland 0-3 Manchester United
- 20.89 %
Sunderland 0-2 Manchester United
- 20.35 %
Sunderland 1-3 Manchester United
- 15.24 %
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Oct 5, 2013||Sunderland 1 - Manchester United 2|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Mar 30, 2013||Sunderland 0 - Manchester United 1|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Dec 15, 2012||Manchester United 3 - Sunderland 1|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||May 13, 2012||Sunderland 0 - Manchester United 1|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Nov 5, 2011||Manchester United 1 - Sunderland 0|
|Dec 7, 2013||Sunderland 1 - Tottenham 2||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Sunderland 3 - Chelsea 4||EPL|
|Nov 30, 2013||Aston Villa 0 - Sunderland 0||EPL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Stoke 2 - Sunderland 0||EPL|
|Nov 10, 2013||Sunderland 1 - Manchester City 0||EPL|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
|20||Robin van Persie||Striker|
Times In EDT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed