Manchester United v Sunderland: Premier League match preview
A look ahead to this weekend's Premier League fixture at Old Trafford
Saturday 03 May 2014
Manchester United’s revival under Ryan Giggs continues this weekend with another emphatic victory only likely to intensify calls for him to be named the next permanent manager.
Following a week where United’s reserve goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard compared the Welshman to Pep Guardiola, every passing win will make the bookies’ current favourite for the job, Louis Van Gaal, more anxious that the powers-that-be could anoint Giggs – particularly if the clamour from the fans becomes too hard to ignore.
Fortunately for Van Gaal, Sunderland will arrive full of confidence after picking up seven points from their last three games, including a draw at Manchester City and a 2-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Although Sunderland’s record against United in the league leaves a lot to be desired, they will know that their form against top half teams this year is what may eventually save them from relegation. And they have already knocked United off their perch once this season, with a penalty shoot-out win at Old Trafford in the Capital One Cup semi-final.
Up to three former United players – Wes Brown, John O’Shea and Phil Bardsley – could feature, with any points gained likely to go a long way towards ensuring survival.
But they will face a rejuvenated United side who are aiming to finish a forgettable season on a high, and are playing with renewed swagger now that the heavy weight of the failed David Moyes era has been lifted from Old Trafford.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Manchester United 2 (Evans, Hernandez) Sunderland 1 (Bardsley) (AET – Sunderland win on penalties), Capital One Cup, January 2014
Sunderland 2 (Giggs og, Borini pen) Manchester United 1 (Vidic), Capital One Cup, January 2014
Sunderland 1 (Gardner) Manchester United 2 (Januzaj 2), Premier League, October 2013
The last time United tasted defeat against a Sunderland side in the Premier League was in the 1996/97 season. Since then United have gone 23 league games without a loss to the Black Cats.
Sunderland have won 21 of their 32 points this season against current top-half sides.
Saturday’s game will feature two of this season’s most ill-disciplined teams. Between them, Manchester United and Sunderland have amassed 127 yellow cards and 10 reds.
Manchester United have scored four goals in each of their last three league wins. Sunderland put four past Cardiff last weekend.
Connor Wickham has scored five goals in three appearances after scoring just once in his previous 37.
Sunderland have scored the highest percentage of their goals in the final 15 minutes of games this season.
Manchester United to win: 1.33
Sunderland to win: 9.0
Earlier this season, a young, precocious, left-footed winger by the name of Adnan Januzaj announced himself as a future star with a brace in United’s 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light. How fitting would it be if he did so again, with the last famous left winger to come through the ranks at United as his new manager?
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.20pm
Latest in Sport
Arsenal and Puma unveil world's first left-footed football
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?
WWE Raw results: Brock Lesnar suspended for post-Wrestlemania 31 rampage after losing title to Seth Rollins
WrestleMania 31: The Undertaker begins a new streak after tombstoning Bray Wyatt
Louis van Gaal: Manchester United boss reveals that being a 'slow player' made him a better manager on warts and all documentary
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 4 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 5 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans