Old Trafford welcomes Sunderland on Saturday afternoon as Manchester United look to keep pace with league leaders and local rivals Manchester City. Sunderland have had a poor start to the new season and the Mackems will undoubtedly be worried about facing a United side who look to have found their stride. Off the back of a good away win against Southampton and brushing off Ipswich Town in the League Cup, United will feel that they are capable of dispatching Sunderland on home soil allowing them to keep their place amongst the league leaders for another week. Sunderland on the other hand have only 2 points from their opening 6 fixtures and will probably not have earmarked a trip to Old Trafford as one they would be picking up points from. It is two sides meeting from opposite ends of the league spectrum and these can usually throw up some of the most interesting fixtures. Does Sunderland’s resurgence start at the Theatre of Dreams? Or will the Reds go marching on this Saturday?
For the home side there are a handful of injury concerns. While Luke Shaw is set for a lengthy lay off, his stand in Marcos Rojo is also out now for 3 weeks. The argentine defender had filled in for Shaw against Southampton but now Van Gaal will need to find another option at left back for the time being. Also, youngster Paddy McNair is out with an unconfirmed injury with his return date also yet to be confirmed. On the bright side, Phil Jones had been back in training for United and even managed a run out against Ipswich Town in the league cup when he came on as a second half substitute.
If there are any positives for Sunderland to take heading into this fixture, it is that their injury list is minimal. There is only one player out injured in the Sunderland squad and that is summer recruit Adam Matthews. The former Celtic full back is still said to be another 4 weeks away from a return to the side.
- In their last 26 meetings, Sunderland have only beaten Manchester United once while losing 19 of those encounters.
- Should Anthony Martial score on Saturday he will be the first Manchester United player to score in his first 3 Premier League appearances.
- The two sides have met in Manchester 64 times in their history. Sunderland have only managed to win 12 of those matches.
- You only have to go back two seasons for the last time Sunderland beat Manchester United at Old Trafford. May 3rd 2014 the Black Cats ran out 1-0 winners at the Theatre of Dreams.
- The first ever meeting between the two was back when Manchester United were still known as Newton Heath. Sunderland ran out 6-0 winners on that day back in 1892.
- Manchester United’s biggest ever victory against Sunderland was a 5-1 home win back in the 1925/26 season.
Top Scorers 2014/15
Manchester United: Wayne Rooney (12), Robin Van Persie (10), Juan Mata (9)
Sunderland: Steven Fletcher (5), Connor Wickham (5), Jordi Gomez (4)
Chances Created 2014/15
Manchester United: Angel Di Maria (51), Juan Mata (50), Wayne Rooney (45)
Sunderland: Seb Larsson (58), Adam Johnson (39), Patrick Van Aanholt (35)
Avg. Defensive Action 2014/15
Manchester United: Phil Jones (11), Chris Smalling (9), Marcos Rojo (9)
Sunderland: John O’Shea (8), Wes Brown (8), Patrick Van Aanholt (7)
Manchester United: Anthony Martial
It goes without saying who United’s key man is heading into this fixture. Anthony Martial has responded perfectly to those who doubted his credentials after United’s multi-million pound move for him this summer. The 19 year old Frenchman has taken to life in the Premier League like a duck to water. With 3 goals in his first two Premier League appearances and 4 in 4 in all competitions Martial has made his impact. He has added some dynamism to a United side that was lacking a spark. Now midfielders have a target, an outlet who is willing to not only chase the ball, but get on it and go directly at defenders putting them on the back foot. Given Sunderland’s obvious defensive frailties you can imagine the teenage talent will cause them endless problems should he continue the rich vein form he has arrived in Manchester on. This will be his first start at Old Trafford for United and it would not surprise us, considering his perfromances to date, if he marks the occasion with another positive outing.
Sunderland: Younes Kaboul
Fresh off the back of his suspension Kaboul needs to bounce back. The former Spurs defender has arrived in the north east and not got off to the greatest of starts. Kaboul has proven himself to be a very inconsistent defender in his Premier League career. He has shown to be an absolute calamity on his day, while on other days be the rock you expect him to be at the heart of your defence. An away trip to Old Trafford to face up against a teenage sensation on a rich vein of form is when you need the rock solid defender to turn up. Advocaat will expect a man Kaboul’s experience to lift his team mates by the scruff of the neck and prepare them for an onslaught for this United side. It will not be an easy task but Kaboul has the capability to put in a top performance on a night like this, it just depends on which Younes Kaboul decides to turn up.
Given the two sides’ recent form I find it hard to see past a comfortable United win, but these games don’t usually go to plan. Martial’s goal scoring form coupled with Sunderland’s disastrous start to the season leads me to believe United could win this by several goals
3-1 Manchester United win.
Take a punt with our tips
Manchester United to win are 1/4 with Paddy Power
A Draw between both teams is 14/1 with BetVictor
Sunderland to win are 5/1 with Unibet