I am veiwing this game as another potential banana skin for United. We play against a Sunderland side who against Liverpool were in all honesty unlucky not to get something. They had 23 shots in the game (including blocked shots) and hit the woodwork. Whilst Liverpool had all the luck.
Both sides are struggling for league form of late though, United have seven points and sit in the bottom half of the table, and Sunderland have just one point and sit dead last. Caretaker manager Kevin Ball will certainly see this game as a chance to pick up some points for Sunderland, and our lads will definitely have to be at their best.
KO: 17:30 BST
Venue: Stadium of Light
Date: 5th October 2013
David Moyes has an almost fully fit squad to choose from, and the good news is that Wayne Rooney is back in contention after suffering a shin injury in training, but I don’t expect him to make too many changes from the team that picked up a credible 1-1 draw in Donetsk on Wednesday. Rafael, Vidic, and Cleverley were the standouts in that game for me, and would all warrant a place in the starting line-up. Rio Ferdinand faces a late fitness test on a groin injury.
Sunderland will be without top scorer Steven Fletcher, as he dislocated his shoulder and is expected to miss around four more weeks of football. Ex-Manchester United player Wes Brown also looks likely to miss out after a shin injury. On loan Liverpool striker Fabio Borini will return to the match day squad though, and John O’Shea could start against his old club.
As I mentioned earlier, this is now a must win for Manchester United. If all our rivals win this weekend and we fail to, the title race could be over at such an early stage, and we’d lose a lot of momentum heading into the international break.
Given Utd’s current predicament betting on them to win here @ 8/13 looks unwise. Perhaps if led by Fergie you’d expect them to bounce back but I am yet to trust this United team and will not be starting here – only one convincing win so far and that was in the first game of the season. I’m not saying backing Sunderland is the way to go either, Sunderland double chance @ 13/10 has to be given some consideration.
Predicted Score: United 2-1 Sunderland