Premier League Preview: Manchester United v Sunderland
Red Devils welcome Steve Bruce's men to Old Trafford for their first home league match since their derby-day demolition by City and history suggests they'll bounce back with a win
By Ryan Benson
Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra
Nani, Rooney, Fletcher, Park
Bardsley, Brown, Turner, Richardson
Brazil international Anderson may miss out with Sir Alex confirming in his pre-match press conference that he picked up a knock against Otelul Galati in midweek, while Ryan Giggs and Tom Cleverley remain sidelined.
Michael Carrick could be involved following his recent injury, while Darren Fletcher is a doubt after he missed the Red Devils' win over the Romanian champions. So a third consecutive game in midfield for Wayne Rooney would not be surprising. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Paul Pogba could make the bench.
Sunderland travel to Old Trafford with considerably less to think about on the injury front, although a fractured nose and eye-socket for goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is a massive blow with Black Cats’ third choice stopper Keiran Westwood set to step up with Craig Gordon still out.
Former United cult-hero John O’Shea will have to wait for his Old Trafford Premier League return for another season after being ruled out due to a hamstring injury, leaving Steve Bruce with just one other injury related concern. Fraizer Campbell looks set to return in December, about six months ahead of schedule.
Aside from injuries, Sunderland’s only other player who will miss the trip to Manchester is Titus Bramble, who has been suspended by the club while his off-field behaviour is investigated.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Before their 6-1 defeat to Manchester City two weeks ago, Manchester United had won their last 20 home matches in the Premier League.
- The Red Devils have not lost any of their last 18 league games against Sunderland.
- The match will be played on the eve of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 25th anniversary at Old Trafford.
- Should they win, United will become the first to reach 900 home points in the Premier League. They are currently on 898.
- Sunderland have won six of their last 25 away matches in the league.
- Their 2-0 win at Bolton two weeks ago was their first win away from the Stadium of Light since May.
- Kenwyne Jones was the last Sunderland player to score against United, during a 2-2 draw back in October 2009.
- The Black Cats’ last win over Sir Alex Ferguson’s men was back in 1997, when they registered a 2-1 victory. They also managed to beat Arsenal and Chelsea that season.
- Sunderland have not won at Old Trafford since May 1968 when they beat United 2-1.
- Wes Brown (pictured right) is set to make his first ever appearance against United on Saturday following his departure from the Old Trafford club in the summer.
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Top 3 Predictions
Man Utd. 3-0 Sunderland
- 28.8 %
Man Utd. 2-0 Sunderland
- 20.12 %
Man Utd. 3-1 Sunderland
- 10.48 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Oct 5, 2013||Sunderland 1 - Man Utd. 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Mar 30, 2013||Sunderland 0 - Man Utd. 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Dec 15, 2012||Man Utd. 3 - Sunderland 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||May 13, 2012||Sunderland 0 - Man Utd. 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 5, 2011||Man Utd. 1 - Sunderland 0|
|Dec 7, 2013||Man Utd. 0 - Newcastle 1||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Man Utd. 0 - Everton 1||EPL|
|Dec 1, 2013||Tottenham 2 - Man Utd. 2||EPL|
|Nov 27, 2013||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0 - Man Utd. 5||UCL|
|Nov 24, 2013||Cardiff City 2 - Man Utd. 2||EPL|
|14||Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez||Striker|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
|22||Fabio Da Silva||Defender|
|39||Mame Biram Diouf||Striker|
|27||Ahmed El Mohamady||Midfielder|
An obvious pick, perhaps, but Rooney’s importance to United cannot be understated, so much so that it is the England striker that Sir Alex Ferguson is currently looking to to create attacks in the midfield, given their current injury worries.
There are few footballers more complete than the former Everton man as he possesses almost every attribute and if he manages to wriggle free of Sunderland’s attentions, regardless of where he is playing.
Saturday marks a big day for the United academy graduate as he will play against his boyhood club for the first time after 14 years in and around the first-team. However, he will not have the opportunity to dwell on it, as he will have his hands full regardless of the attacking combination United go with.
Should Welbeck and Javier Hernandez lead the line for the hosts, Brown will have to be alert at all times with movement being arguably the strongest assets of the two young strikers.
Before the loss to City, United had only dropped two points in the previous year, so there is no reason why their superiority should not show once again with Sunderland having a dreadful record at Old Trafford.