Manchester United entertain Sunderland at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon following a superb 3-2 defeat of arch rivals Manchester City at the Etihad last weekend. With United now six points clear at the top of the table going into the busy Christmas period, they will be hoping to top off a superb week with a comfortable victory of a Sunderland side who have failed to score in nine of their last 11 Barclays Premier League games against Manchester United. Sunderland have had a rather turbulent start to the season winning just three of their 16 games so far this season but they do go into this weeks encounter at Old Trafford on the back of a 3-0 win against Reading in midweek.
Sunderland have big injury concerns going the Manchester United game with former Manchester City winger Adam Johnson expected to miss the game with a dead leg. Also, on loan Spurs defender Danny Rose is a major doubt after picking up an ankle injury in midweek. Former United youngster Phil Bardsley won’t be available for the game against his old club, although Sunderland are hoping that their goal machine Steven Fletcher will shake of an ankle injury to start against United, who will be looking to add to their four game unbeaten run in the division.
The Reds are boosted by the return of influential Captain Nemanja Vidic who has being sidelined since September after undergoing knee surgery and he looks set to replace Jonny Evans at centre back as the Northern Irish big man limped off with an hamstring injury against Manchester City last week. Shinji Kagawa has an outside chance of making the United bench after making steady progress whilst coming back from the knee injury he picked up against Braga on 23 October. United are set to keep faith with derby day hero Robin Van Persie and so they should with the flying Dutchman scoring 59 goals in his 71 Premier League appearances since the start of 2011.
Winning the game on Saturday is more important for us given what we achieved last week”. Sir Alex Ferguson
I expect the game to be fairly one-sided and I can see United running away with it rather easily. United will be looking to get some type of revenge on the North-East outfit as this weekend will be the first meeting between the two clubs since United were beaten to the Premier League title on the last day of the season by Manchester City, despite beating the Mackems on their own patch. This cued numerous cheers from the Sunderland fans who stayed behind at the end which at the time angered Sir Alex Ferguson, so he will be hoping that will fuel the players fire on Saturday.
Predicted United XI: De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra, Cleverley, Scholes, Valencia, Rooney, Welbeck, Van Persie
Predicted score: Manchester United 4-0 Sunderland