Likely XI: Manchester United vs Sunderland – Kagawa and Mata start together

by Tom Newbold

David de GeaAn illness to Anders Lindegaard will rule him out of any late season minutes at the weekend.

Phil JonesWith Rafael still seemingly absent, expect Jones to continue at right-back.

Rio Ferdinand: Ryan Giggs may continue to trust the old guard this weekend with Jones at right-back and Evans not quite 100% fit.

Nemanja Vidic: United’s Serbian captain will probably partner Ferdinand but both may give way in midweek for Smalling and Evans.

Patrice EvraDespite some OK performances of late from Alex Buttner, Evra is still United’s first choice at left-back.

Antonio Valencia – A decent showing from Valencia last weekend may be rewarded with another start ahead of Ashley Young and Nani.

Michael Carrick – Expect Giggs to trust Carrick at the base of midfield again on Saturday afternoon.

Tom Cleverley – A dynamic, if only mildly effective, performance from Cleverley last weekend may ensure he starts again this weekend as he looks to stake a late claim for a World Cup place.

Shinji Kagawa – Kagawa may start on the left once again offering the chance to link-up with Mata in the middle as the pair have done to good effect in the league recently.

Juan Mata – An impressive substitute’s showing from Mata last week should earn him a spot in Saturday’s starting XI.

Danny Welbeck – With Wayne Rooney looking doubtful and Robin van Persie perhaps not quite ready enough, Welbeck should be entrusted to lead the line alone against Sunderland.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

United’s line-up will largely depend on the fitness of key players Rooney, Van Persie, Rafael and Evans.

Furthermore, Giggs will be aware of the need to include players such as Marouane Fellaini, Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez in his squad.

However, it is likely that Giggs will stick with a similar starting XI to last weekend’s routing over Norwich with Mata the only change for Rooney.

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