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Premier League

  • May 3, 2014
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 75347

Sunderland striker Connor Wickham

Premier League Preview: Manchester United - Sunderland

Sunderland striker Connor Wickham

Sunderland is looking for another boost in its survival bid, while Man United is looking to keep Ryan Giggs' perfect start going.

Sunderland will look to move closer to safety on Saturday by consigning Ryan Giggs to a first defeat as interim Manchester United boss.

A downbeat Gus Poyet stated after last month's 5-1 hammering that it would take a "miracle" for his Sunderland side to avoid relegation from the Premier League, as the club languished at the foot of the table.

The Wearside club has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence since then, though, drawing 2-2 at title favorite Manchester City and pulling off a stunning 2-1 win at Chelsea.

The club then rose to the occasion to hammer fellow struggler Cardiff City 4-0 in a crunch clash at the Stadium of Light last Sunday, a victory that moved Poyet's men out of the bottom three for the first time since February.


United will be a different proposition under Giggs, who replaced the sacked David Moyes last week and savoured a 4-0 victory over beleaguered Norwich City in his first game in charge.

There is a new-found belief that Sunderland can pull of a great escape, though, and the club has fond memories of its League Cup semifinal against United in January - when the team won on penalties.

Striker Fabio Borini, scorer of two penalties in the last two games, is bullish over the north-east club's chances of staying up and Saturday's trip to Old Trafford holds no fear for the on-loan Liverpool striker.

"We have two more home games left and one away and we need to keep believing." he told the club's official website. "We’ve made a big step forward and must keep doing the same.

"We must go to Manchester like we did in the cup semifinal, our visit to Manchester (City) a couple of weeks ago, and the game at Chelsea. It doesn’t matter who we play against, we play for ourselves first of all."

Borini has struck up a great understanding with Connor Wickham, who has been given a new lease of life by Poyet and heads to Old Trafford with a spring in his step after scoring five goals in his last three games.

History is not Sunderland's side, however, as the club has not beaten United on its own patch since way back in 1968.

There has been much talk of Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal being appointed as the next United boss, but Giggs is at the helm until the end of the season and the Welshman will be eager to build on a dream start.

United still has a chance of qualifying for the UEFA Europa League - the club is six points behind Tottenham with a game in hand and far better goal difference.

Rafael da Silva (knock) is expected to miss out and the champions will likely be without striker Robin van Persie (knee) once again, though the Dutchman reportedly returned to light training this week.

Poyet could name an unchanged side, although midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini staked his claim for a start by scoring one goal and setting up another after coming off the bench against Cardiff.


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Available Squads
1David de GeaGoalkeeper
3Patrice EvraDefender
4Phil JonesDefender
5Rio FerdinandDefender
15Nemanja VidicDefender
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
18Ashley YoungMidfielder
24Darren FletcherMidfielder
8Juan MataStriker
14Javier HernándezStriker
40Ben AmosGoalkeeper
12Chris SmallingDefender
25Antonio ValenciaMidfielder
25Marouane FellainiMidfielder
44Adnan JanuzajMidfielder
19Danny WelbeckStriker
20Robin van PersieStriker
25Vito MannoneGoalkeeper
5Wes BrownDefender
16John O'SheaDefender
27Santiago VerginiDefender
3Marcos Alonso Defender
7Sebastian LarssonMidfielder
11Adam JohnsonMidfielder
14Jack ColbackMidfielder
33Lee CattermoleMidfielder
10Connor WickhamStriker
29Fabio BoriniStriker
32Óscar UstariGoalkeeper
2Phil BardsleyDefender
22El Hadji BaMidfielder
23Emanuele GiaccheriniMidfielder
26Liam BridcuttMidfielder
17Jozy AltidoreStriker
30Ignacio ScoccoStriker

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