Match Preview : Manchester United vs Sunderland
Date & Venue : 15/12/2012, Old Trafford
Kickoff Time : 15:00 GMT
Referee: C Foy; Assistants: S Child, H Lennard; Fourth official: A Taylor
Manchester United Team News:
The dressing room in Manchester United would be a very happy place at the moment after ending the unbeaten home run of arch rivals Manchester City and extending their lead at the top of the table to six points at the same time. United would be keen to extend their run of wins in the Premier League with a win over Sunderland when they visit Old Trafford this weekend.
Sir Alex has virtually the entire squad to pick from. Jonny Evans might be doubtful after being substituted with a hamstring injury in the Manchester derby, but the gaffer would be more than glad to welcome back club captain Nemanja Vidic who has been sidelined since September with a knee injury. Kagawa too returns after injuring this knee against Sporting Braga in the Champions League.
David de Gea is expected to retain the spot between the sticks after an impressive performance in the derby game last weekend. Rafael who has been the most consistent player for United so far this season will occupy the right back position with Evra at the left back. Sir Alex has confirmed that Vidic will start the game and Chris Smalling is expected to partner him in the heart of defence.
Luis Antonio Valencia and Young will keep the right and left wing positions respectively with Carrick and Cleverley in the centre of the park. Rooney who is doubtful after a bout of illness, if fit is expected to partner top scorer van Persie. United would be keen to put the bad memories of last season in the back of their minds when the Sunderland fans mocked United after Sergio Aguero’s winner in the dying seconds won City the title.
Expected Formation : 4-4-2
Expected Lineup : De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Young, Rooney, Van Persie.
Last 5 matches in the League : LWWWW
Man to Watch : Rooney has mentioned in his book “My Decade in the Premier League” that after last season’s heartbreak, he looks forward to the Sunderland game alongside the Manchester Derby, Liverpool and Everton games. Rooney has found his form and has been indispensable to his team. After becoming the sixth all time top scorer in the Premier league, he would be aiming to continue his run of scoring goals this weekend.
Sunderland Team News:
Sunderland ended their dreadful run in the Premier League by securing a comprehensive 3-0 win over Reading midweek. After last season’s heroics, Sunderland were destined for greater things this season under the expert guidance of Martin O’Neill. However the Black Cats have failed to deliver and have just won one game away from home this season.
They face a daunting task at Old Trafford this weekend when they face United who are running high on confidence after the derby win. Mignolet who has been a very dependable goalkeeper for the Black Cats, pulling off jaw-dropping saves is expected to retain the gloves. United old boy, John O’Shea is expected to marshal the defence with Cuellar as his defensive partner.
Craig Gardner and Colback are expected to retain their positions as the right and left wing backs respectively. Adam Johnson who is yet to prove his talent under Martin O’Neill will retain his position on the right flank with Larsson and Vaughan marshalling midfield. McClean is expected to occupy the right wing berth after his goal scoring exploits in the midweek. The Black Cat’s top scorer, Fletcher with seven goals will partner Sessegnon upfront to complete the attack for Sunderland.
Expected Formation : 4-4-2
Expected Lineup : Mignolet, Gardner, O’Shea, Cuellar, Colback, Johnson, Larsson, Vaughan, McClean, Fletcher, Sessegnon.
Last 5 matches in the league : LDLLW
Man to Watch : Steven Fletcher has found his goal scoring touch again after scoring an impressive goal in the midweek against Reading. United must watch out for the towering striker who is good in the air. Fletcher has scored against United, donning the Wolves’ shirt and would be ready to do so again, this time with the red and white of Sunderland.
Expected Full time Scoreline : Manchester United 3-1 Sunderland