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Ahead Of Our Game Against Sunderland

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As I’ve repeatedly said all season, Wayne Rooney is our most important player. Last weekend he showed exactly why he holds that title. Not just because of the goals he scored, which obviously helped us on our way, but because of the hard work he puts in for every minute he’s on the pitch. When he plays well, more often than not, our team plays well. He has now scored more derby day goals for United than any other player, which is quite an achievement for someone who is only 27-years-old.

Rooney may be centre of attention again this weekend as we face Sunderland, the team whose fans celebrated City’s title win, despite losing 1-0 on the last day of the season. Like Stoke, these fans are more concerned with the opposition than they ever will be their own team. They’ve come to Old Trafford and sung “You’ll Never Walk Alone” before now, so it should come as no surprise that they were happy to Poznan in celebration for City. Had Sunderland been playing City on the last day of the season and we won the league, only to see them celebrate, I’d have felt the same way. Giving out stick is part of football and I enjoy a lot of what goes on back and forth between fans, particularly rivals, but that small time nonsense that Sunderland performed in May is embarrassing.

Rooney has voiced his unhappiness with their fans’ behaviour on a number of occasions and even admitted that when the fixtures came out he looked for the Sunderland game. In the midst of a ridiculous discussion about whether players should be able to celebrate goals or not, for fear of winding up the opposition, we should be under no doubt that if Rooney scores on Saturday he will be heading straight to the away support.

Following the high of last weekend’s win, I really hope we can start to build on that performance. We played so well at a ground that hasn’t seen the home team lose for two years and that’s what we should be taking in to today’s game. Sunderland have won just one game away from home this season and have lost five of their last eight games. It’s a good time to be playing them but as this season has shown, the form of either side seems to mean little to what goes on with us on the pitch.
Ashley Young has started to play well the past few games, thank goodness, so it would be nice to see him continue with that. His performances haven’t been good enough since he first signed for us but he had a great game against City and was denied a goal to go along with his assist. Antonio Valencia was the surprise return and he had one of his better games in a while, but he still has a long way to go if he’s to replicate last season’s form.

We’re six points clear but we could go in to our game, hopefully, with City having dropped points away to Newcastle. I’ll be more than happy to keep the six point gap but let’s hope that last minute winner has got City down in the dumps.

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bwin bets – £5 wins a total of…
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Van Persie to score first and United win 3-1 – £105

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. meatnpotato says:


  2. meatnpotato says:

    hoping for a good game from the lads would love a clean sheet and a couple of goals, why not start welbeck upfront? He’s being played out of position far too often and this is the type of game where he could get a few chances and improve his goal tally (and confidence) Looking forward to seeing vida back aswell and what are the chances of seeing kagawa feature today?

  3. Theredarmy says:

    Let’s give em hell!

  4. MUFCJord says:


    Kagawa proably wont’ feature today, he isn’t due back in first team training until Monday.

    Where would you play Rooney if you played Welbeck up front? I’d be leaving Danny on the bench and playing Rooney up top with RvP, because that is his best position by far.

  5. Hans says:

    Let’s humiliate them!

  6. Mikael says:

    I hate to leave out RvP on his current form but I’d like to see Welbz start up front with Rooney, he needs games and against a underperforming Sunderland we could give RvP a rest. I wouldn’t be unhappy if we start RvP but I’d be really happy to see Welbz get a game as a centre forward.

    Think Vida will start on the bench and we’ll see Rio and Smalling paired, other then that (and perhaps Welbz for RvP) I see no reason to change the team from sunday.

  7. Grand mekzy says:

    This should be a comfortable win for us.@micheal let our first choice strikers kill d game first before welbz can get a kick.Even if we rotate d full squad,d strikin department should b constant.Tink Vida shld b given som playin time today.Good luck Reds!

  8. meatnpotato says:

    I just think that if welbeck can’t get a game at home against a team 5th from bottom then when is he going to get a game? With games coming up thick and fast in the christmas period it would probably do rvp good to recharge his batteries on the bench. But ofcourse i won’t be displeased if we start RVP, the mans pure class. Cant wait to see kagawa back in a united shirt. I still think he has a vital part to play for us this season, hopefully he can come back with the same form he showed at dortmund

  9. Costas says:

    Win the game first and foremost. Dropping points after last week’s win would be suicide.

    It’ll be great to see John O’Shea back at Old Trafford. Sadly for him, I wouldn’t mind if this turns into a thrashing.

  10. Drewgen says:

    I’d start Welbeck on the right as AV7 still lacks match fitness, but then if we’re winning bring RVP off for Tony and push Welbeck up top.
    Would also start Smalling and Rio at the back and bring Vidic on for Rio if we’re comfortable

  11. Ash says:


    Rafael Vidic Smalling Evra

    Carrick Cleverly

    Valencia/Welbeck Young


    Let us not tinker our line up too much. Every player will get their chance. We will have 4 games in 10 days during cristmas and new year time. So every player must be patient.

  12. dasilvatwins says:

    i just hope, he doesnt celebrate infront of sunderland fans and ends up getting banned.

  13. Danizizu says:

    Chicharito must be thinking “what more can I do to get a game?”

  14. Red Devils says:

    Chico is more effective as sub rather than starter..
    I would love to see Chico up front with Rooney n Robin behind him though..

  15. parryheid says:

    points first .tampering with players later or should that be tinkering.

  16. Rd54 says:


    Rafa smalling Vida evra

    Jones Tom

    Tony. Rvp. Wazza


    Just rest carrick and give game to jones

  17. nicky says:

    City are playing like hell but let’s hope in Newcastle … still 60 mins to play there

  18. Redbilly says:

    I’ve to see Danny play, but with RVP. We stand a better chance of gaining a healthy goal tally. Bring Danny on once we are a couple up. Come on reds.

  19. Redbilly says:

    Come on Newcastle

  20. WeAreUnited says:

    City are playing really well against newcastle, but so did we.

    They are btw nothing without david silva and aguero. Silva is controlling the strings.

    If David SIlva can do anythign in the PL, imagine Lionel Messi. WOW. HE would add goals.
    And if someone says, yeah but they play with great teams, well what do you expect, ronaldo and messi to play for sunderland?

    Fo course great players play for great teams, maradona did, ronaldo did, zidane did, so what’s the complain against Messi. Anyway, went a bit offtopic haha.

    SUNDERLAND I hope you come prepared, enjoy this game cause it’s a goal-festival for us :P

  21. Ash says:


    Take silva out city are nothing. David silva is really a good player. Kagawa could be our silva. Give kagawa the time you will see him playing like silva or even better.

  22. Goat Peticoat says:


    Why is Carrick so underrated. He’s not not by me anyway. Why do people feel the need to write articles to try and teach the fucking bread dead anything. Leave them to their adidas overalls, man bags, hooch and x box. With a bit of luck they’ll upset someone get stabbed or stab someone and spend life in jail. Tards are going to tard.
    The best way for a journalist to stay in the so called elite of football punditry is to ignore the people not worth talking to not write articles for them. They cant fucking read anyway.

  23. Goat Peticoat says:

    bread head herp derp brain dead or brain dain, hurrrrrr

  24. Doghouse says:

    I think we should hit them with the full force, then rest players as needed. I don’t like the idea of starting weak, going behind and then bringing on the big guns for a frantic second half. Rooney and RVP are huge players for a game like this because you want to hit them right off the whistle, force them to park the bus and then shoot fucking great big holes in the bus. When the game opens up in the second half then you bring in impact subs like Welbz and Chicharito to hit the gaps.

    Welbeck needs to learn sharpness from Chicharito. Chich has that Ole-like ability to appear like magic on the field full of confidence and goals. If Welbeck wants to be a Berbatov type player, who needs a run in the team just to get warmed up, then he might not be around for too long because that’s a luxury. At United you need to either be the best or you need to be able to stay sharp on the bench.

    I love Welbz but first priority is win every game.

  25. WeAreUnited says:


    yeah tell me about it. Silva makes it look so easy. Can’t wait for Kagawa to come back and pull those string. He has been out for a while now.


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