Friday 27 February 2015

Match preview: United v Sunderland, Sat 28th Feb

United host the Black Cats looking to bounce back from an undeserved defeat at Swansea last weekend and maintain a place in the top four of the Premier League.

Draw specialists Sunderland will be hoping for a repeat performance of their 1-0 win at Old Trafford last May that helped Gus Poyet's side avoid relegation in a dramatic late escape last season.

Michael Carrick is set to resume training in the next week but this game will probably come too soon for his return, whilst Robin van Persie is ruled out with an ankle injury. 

Struggling Sunderland currently sit two places and three points above the drop zone and had not won on our turf since 1968 until their shock win at OT last season. 

The Blacks Cats have drawn exactly half of their games (13) and are the second lowest scorers in the league, with a paltry 22 goals.

To try and rectify their attacking woes, Poyet reacted by signing  Jermaine Defoe in January, arguably the most clinical poacher in the English game. 

The Reds will be all too aware of the threat posed not only by Defoe, but also by former City man Adam Johnson and dead ball specialist Sebastian Larsson, who scored the winner in that game at our place in May. 

Speaking post match on Friday, United boss Louis van Gaal said:
"Yes van Persie is injured, it shall be for more than two weeks but we will have to see exactly how long, so for Falcao the possibility is of course higher.

"When you started the season with the objective of finishing in the first four of the league you are occupied with doing that.
We are not unhappy, I am happy with the results but not with a lot of the performances 
"But we are still there, I don't know why you are talking like that, because we are still there and we have control of our situation.
"Sunderland  will not be easy, we know that from last time but we are at home and we know that this gives us the advantage. 
"The other clubs are all winning their matches so therefore we need to do the same- it is a rat race."

Form guide: United W W D W W L Sunderland W W D L L D
Match odds: United 4/11 Draw 8/1 Sunderland 9/1
Referee: Roger East

Juan Mata put United ahead at the Stadium of Light in August.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw. 

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