Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Manchester United
Venue: Stadium of Light – Saturday, February 13 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 ET)
Match Odds: Sunderland 4/1 – Draw 5/2 – Manchester United 3/4
Sunderland are still four points off safety and come into the game in 19th place. However, Sam Allardyce is still yet to be relegated as a manager and so they have that good omen onside with their survival hopes.
If they are to stay up they will need two major factors to go their way. They need to stop conceding so many goals, as they have the worst defence in the league. And Jermaine Defoe needs to score the goals to keep them up as he is their most lethal attacker.
Sunderland’s Premier League record: P25 – W5 – D5 – L15
Defoe’s late goal at Anfield last week earned Sunderland a point but they need more than that in upcoming games with just 13 fixtures to play.
Manchester United are at a crisis themselves. Simply put, Louis Van Gaal has to make the top four if he has any hope of keeping his job past the summer.
They are struggling to gain enough form to challenge the current top four and they are still six points off their goal, and more worryingly 12 points off the top.
Manchester United’s Premier League record: P25 – W11 – D8 – L6
As it stands, United are desperate for huge results and missing out on the win against Chelsea in the dying minutes last weekend could well prove crucial come the end of the season.
The reverse fixture ended 3-0 to United at Old Trafford back in September but that seems a long time ago now and this game should be a lot tighter.
Sunderland may be without Jermaine Defoe, Fabio Borini and Billy Jones who all have minor niggles. Younes Kaboul, Duncan Watmore, Jermaine Lens, Adam Matthews and Sebastien Larsson are all out. Adam Johnson has been sacked by the club.
Manchester United will be without Ashley Young, Adnan Januzaj, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw through injury.
Sunderland’s last five: W/L/D/L/D
Manchester United’s last five: D/W/L/W/D
Key Stat: Sunderland haven’t won at home in the Premier League to Manchester United since March 1997.
Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The England captain is under immense pressure due to the form of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy and his Euro 2016 starting berth is not guaranteed. He is still a huge factor in the United attack and has found his goalscoring form again lately. Expect him to be a threat from the outset.
Sunderland 0-2 Manchester United – Manchester United have regained their attacking spark recently and were minutes away from three vital points at Stamford Bridge a week ago. Sunderland need points just as much but will find it difficult to open a United defence which is fortified by the magnificent David De Gea.