Six matches into the season and surprisingly enough Sunderland find themselves equal on par with the defending champions Manchester United for the first time in a long time. Call it lack of goals, call it lack of clarity in the manager’s tactics (or) even call it the defensive mindset that either of the teams have employed, this game presents Sunderland the best opportunity to inflict more pressure & chaos and further deepen the wounds of Manchester United, for it has been 15 years & 7 months since last the defending champions were beaten by Sunderland.
Team News, Line Ups & Tactics
Sunderland have their in-loan striker Fabio Borini back from injury. Manager Kevin Ball would be happy his team has no further injury scare with striker Steven Fletcher recovering from dislocated shoulder injury and their defenders Wes Brown & Andrea Dossena are on their way to full fitness.
Sunderland would be better off playing their usual 4-3-3 formation against a Manchester United team, whose manager is still experimenting the team with different formations. This would provide the much needed stability in the match for Sunderland and also a chance to trouble the defending champions from the middle of the pitch, where Manchester United have been woeful. Having been the better side ‘in patches’ for the first 20-25 minutes of the 2nd half against opponents like Arsenal & Liverpool, Sunderland’s story as well as league standing would have been much better if only their shots had found the back of the net instead of the crossbar.
If Sunderland can play the same way and put Manchester United under pressure even for a minor chunk of time, it would surely test the resolve of the defending champions.
Manchester United & its manager David Moyes almost has his full squad available to select except the in-form Wayne Rooney, who missed their mid-week champions league fixture due to a shin injury. Captain Nemanja Vidic’s central pairing Rio Ferdinand who was split open by a seamless West Brom team last week, remains an injury doubt due to a groin injury.
Moyes has got plenty of game time under his belt to understand that his team is well suited to the 4-2-3-1 formation & it is due to his tactical oversights in playing 4-4-2 with the wrong players at wrong positions, that has triggered a meteoric downfall.
Playing the right one’s at the right places becomes more critical today, if Manchester United they intend to cut down the threat of physical nature of Sunderland’s play at the front.
- Sunderland now have not won (or) kept a clean sheet in their last 10 premier league matches spanning from April 2013, where they defeated Everton 1-0, managed by David Moyes last season
- Sunderland last defeated Manchester United 16 years ago with a 2-1 victory at home
- Sunderland had shot an emphatic 23 shots against Liverpool last week, which was their highest shot numbers since December 2011
- Sunderland with 7 goals have conceded more number of goals in the last 15 minutes this season than any other team
- Manchester United have won a staggering 18 matches against Sunderland out of 24 matches played in premier league
- Manchester United have the lowest points tally in the 1st six matches since the last 25 years
- Manchester United have never lost 3 games in a row and won the title at the same time in top flight football
- Wayne Rooney with 3 goals from free kick is just 1 more goal behind Ronaldo who had netted 4 goals from free kicks during 2008-09 season
- The most memorable match between these two teams was a 2-1 win for Manchester united, where David Beckham & Paul Scholes scored 2 late goals during the 2002-03 season to keep within a touching distance of Arsenal
Both teams are under tremendous pressure and are equally out of sorts in their tactics. Although we predict Manchester United will edge their opponents out, especially a reaction they have shown time & again, when they have been pushed to the walls.
Sunderland 1 – 2 Manchester United