Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs Sunderland
Venue: Old Trafford – Saturday, February 28th – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)
Match Odds: Manchester United 4/11 – Draw 18/5 – Sunderland 8/1
United are looking to get their top four push back on track whereas Sunderland are looking for a win to steer clear of the bottom three as they are just three points above the relegation zone.
The Red Devils are coming off a disappointing league defeat away at Swansea last time out and will be hoping for an immediate reaction, especially after Louis Van Gaal’s comments last week that Manchester United are the best team in England. Last week they were second best in South Wales and need to pick back up again.
Old Trafford is going to need to be rocking as Manchester United can’t afford anymore slip-ups in their quest for Champions League football with just four points separating third and seventh. United sit in fourth and need to make sure they remain in the top four for the remainder of the season if they are to get back into Europe’s elite competition.
Manchester United’s Premier League home record: Played 13 – Won 10 – Drawn 1 – Lost 2
Sunderland on the other hand are languishing in 16th at the wrong end of the table. The Black Cats are hoping to get a second win at Old Trafford in a row after last season’s 1-0 win which kept them in the Premier League as they confirmed their safety in their third to last game.
Sunderland’s Premier League away record: Played 12 – Won 2 –Drawn 6 – Lost 4
A 0-0 draw at home to West Brom last weekend wouldn’t of done the team any favours and that stalemate took their draw tally for the season to a staggering 13.
The reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light earlier this season saw both teams play out a 1-1 draw, with Jack Rodwell scoring after Juan Mata had given United the lead.
The bad news for United is that Robin Van Persie, who suffered an injury at Swansea last week, is not back until April. But Manchester United have terrific talent in the forward positions to come in with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Wayne Rooney waiting in the wings. Michael Carrick will also miss out with a calf strain.
Gus Poyet doesn’t have too many injury concerns ahead of the trip to Manchester and can call on most his troops to try and surprise United and further inflict damage on their Champions League ambitions while increasing their own position in the Premier League. Emmanuel Giaccherini is expected to miss the rest of the campaign with an ankle injury while Jack Rodwell, Billy Jones and Will Buckley are all doubts for this weekend’s game.
Manchester United’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/D/W/L
Sunderland’s last five in the Premier League: L/W/D/L/D
Key Stat: The last time the two teams played out a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford was in April 2006. Expect goals.
Key Player: David De Gea – The Spanish goalkeeper has made over 70 saves this season (more than any other ‘keeper in the top six) and will be expecting to add to his seven clean-sheets in Saturday’s game at Old Trafford.
Manchester United 3-0 Sunderland – United to bounce back to winning ways with a comfortable victory in front of their own fans. Sunderland have not been good lately and will not be able to escape the dangers of relegation this week.