Sunderland v Manchester United
English Premier League
Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Saturday 30 March, 2013
Manchester United will be looking to move 18 points clear of Manchester City in the title race, with a difficult away trip to Sunderland. City host Newcastle in the 3pm kickoff and with each game won, United will be ensuring that they don’t repeat last season’s mistake.
Sir Alex Ferguson will be hoping for a solid win which will allow changes ahead of the FA Cup tie against Chelsea on Monday, you can expect almost two different teams playing the two games.
Sunderland are currently in 15th place on the Premier League table, just four points clear of the relegation places. They seem to have struggled this season from a lack of goals with just 17 scored, which will not be helped by Steven Fletcher’s absence for this fixture.
Injuries and Suspensions
Fletcher misses out because of the ankle problem he suffered playing for Scotland against Wales. Wes Brown and Lee Cattermole have both been ruled out for the rest of the season with knee injuries while Stephane Sessegnon and David Vaughan are struggling to be fit with groin injuries.
Manchester United Preview
United go into this game hunting their 11th away win of the season, which will put them one step closer to taking the title back from City. They go into this match as the highest scoring away team in the Premier League and only two teams in City and Arsenal have conceded fewer goals on the road this season.
Injuries and Suspensions
Darren Fletcher is the only absentee at the moment ruled out for the rest of the season due to his bowel condition. Ferguson has said that Nani, Scholes and Jones may play a part in the weekend games, given that they’ve recovered from their respective injuries and have spent the international break building up their fitness levels.
Regardless of who plays, United will be favourites for the win. With United rotating their strikers and possibly aiming to field a stronger squad in the FA Cup replay, Javier Hernandez could start at the Stadium of Light and is a decent shout at 5.5 to score the first goal of the game.
Sunderland v Manchester United Stats
The biggest thing United have going in their favour for this match is the fact that Sunderland have only won seven matches throughout the season and have dropped points in 11 matches at home. In total they have conceded 32 goals, which means United should get chances. Last season Sunderland failed to win any of their last 8 games of the season – this is their 31st game of this season.
No team in the Premier League have won more games than United, as their current tally sits at an impressive 24. United have dropped points on just five occasions this season and have scored a staggering volume of goals, as they’re looking for at least goal number 70 in this match.
Head to Head: United have won two out of the last three meetings, both by 1-0 score lines.
Sunderland head into this game in poor form this month producing just two draws and a defeat from all matches in March. They also lost all three of their matches in February, with their last win coming against Wigan back on January 19.
United have produced a mixed bag from March so far with two wins, one draw and one defeat. However, those two wins have both come in the Premier League against Norwich City and Reading. United also had a perfect record in the league throughout February.
Sunderland v Manchester United Prediction
It’s difficult to see anything other than an away win here because of Sunderland’s poor form and their injuries. United have a chance to go one step closer to making their Premier League title official and an 18 point gap is too big a carrot for them to ignore.
Sunderland 0-2 Manchester United.