Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Prediction: Sunderland vs Manchester United

Verdict:  Away win

Best Odds: 4/11

Bookmaker: Bet 365

Relegation-threatened Sunderland host Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday lunchtime as the Red Devils look for three points to keep their top-four hopes alive. David Moyes’ men need a win for completely different reasons and are increasingly looking certain to be playing Championship football next season.

Sunderland

Sunderland remain in deep, deep trouble in their fight for relegation that was further intensified by their 2-0 loss against Leicester City in midweek. It is now six games without a win for the Black Cats and even more worryingly, they have gone the same amount of matches without scoring a goal. Their faint hopes of survival this season were pinned on the shoulders of clinical finisher Jermain Defoe, but even he doesn’t look close to scoring at the moment. The gap between Sunderland and safety now stands at 10 points and whilst their relegation rivals all seem to be picking up points recently; David Moyes’ men can’t seem to find a win from anywhere. The Tyneside club have only managed victory five times in 30 games this campaign and it looks like the great escape may evade them finally, after miraculously managing to avoid relegation the past few seasons. The Black Cats are actually three games unbeaten at home in all competitions against Manchester United but they will be in for a huge test at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

Team News

John O’Shea will again miss out due to the death of his father.

Adnan Januzaj will miss out due to ineligibility, whilst Victor Anichebe is pushing for a recall.

Manchester United

Manchester United’s hopes of finishing in the top-four took a dent in midweek when they drew 1-1 with Everton at home, their ninth stalemate in 16 games at Old Trafford this season. This result leaves them four points off  fourth-placed Manchester City, but the Red Devils do have a game in hand on their rivals. Surprisingly, Jose Mourinho’s men have a better record away from home this season, picking up 27 points from 13 games, whilst they have required 16 matches at the Theatre of Dreams to achieve the same tally. United have a Europa League Quarter-Final tie away at Anderlecht on Thursday and Mourinho may opt to aim for Champions League qualification through success in this competition. If this is the case, the Portuguese manager could rest a few key players for the trip to Sunderland. It’s a tough predicament for Manchester United to find themselves in, especially as Liverpool and Manchester City are also dropping points quite frequently above them. Nonetheless, they will be expected to win the three points on Sunday no matter what team is selected.

Team News

Antonio Valencia is set to return at right-back, with Paul Pogba also expected to start.

However, Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney are both out due to a knock and ankle injury, respectively.

Key Factors To Consider

  • Sunderland have lost 22 times to Manchester United in the Premier League – no one has beaten them more times
  • The Black Cats are undefeated in three games in all competitions against United (W2 D1)
  • Jermain Defoe has failed to score in his last six Premier League games against the Red Devils
  • Sunderland have failed to win, and even score, in their last six home games
  • Manchester United are undefeated in their last eight Premier League games away from home

Conclusion

Sunderland already look doomed and if they can somehow escape relegation, it will surpass previous seasons in which they have managed to stay up by the skin of their teeth. Manchester United will see this as a must-win game and even if Mourinho does ring the changes, we can’t see anything other than an away win.

Verdict:  Away win

Best Odds: 4/11

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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