Manchester United have been highly successful in mainly doing two things since Louis van Gaal has taken charge at the club:
First, despite not playing an attractive brand of football, the Red Devils have managed to grind out results, and consequently climb up the table.
Second, they have managed to beat their rival clubs (hold a good record) which have put the Dutchman in a favourable light amongst the fans.
But Manchester United fans are probably wondering:
“When can we see our team playing some decent brand of football?”
The time is now. Sunderland, bottom of the Premier League table, visit Old Trafford on Saturday, a game United should not only win comfortably but do so in style.
But here’s the kicker:
Since the international break, United have managed 10 goals from four fixtures. New signing French wonderkid Anthony Martial has taken the league by storm, scoring four goals in his four appearances for the club so far.
To alley the fears after United’s shock 2-1 defeat at PSV, Van Gaal’s side have responded with back-to-back moral boosting wins in the past eight days. The lurch in the fresh direction impressing.
The United fans probably have breathed a huge sigh of relief after seeing skipper Wayne Rooney returning to some-kind-of-form with his goal against Ipswich town in the midweek.
There are still plenty of rooms for improvement, but the Week 7 fixture provides them a chance to narrow the bridge with their derby rivals City, and simultaneously create a breathing space between them and the chasing pack.
United have enjoyed a vaunting dominance over Sunderland in the Premier League history, having remained undefeated in 23 of last 25 games.
On the other side of the spectrum lies Sunderland, sitting uncomfortably at the bottom of the table with just two points on board. The Black Cats are one of the three teams that have yet to win a single game in the league so far.
The results have been poor, but what’s important here is Dick Advocaat doesn’t infuse the confidence that his team are capable of turning a corner.
While no body expected them to beat Manchester City in the League Cup, it was the manner of the defeat (four goals conceded in 27-minute spell) that leaves a question mark over their ability in picking up points against big teams.
Match: Manchester United v Sunderland
English Premier League
Date: Saturday, 26th September, 2015
Time: 15:00 BST
Venue: Old Trafford
Tv Info: Star Sports (Asian countries)
Live Stream: Star Sports (Asian Countries)
Manchester United Team News:
Left back area is a major concern for Louis van Gaal, as Marcos Rojo now joins Luke Shaw in the treatment room. Ashley Young, primarily a winger, could be asked to perform a stop-gap role.
Alternatively, Van Gaal may use Matteo Darmian at left back, allowing Phil Jones to cover the other flank.
Both Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin were rested in the midweek, and may return for this tie.
Sunderland Team News
Adam Matthews is surely out for the trip to Old Trafford with injury. In defence, Younes Kaboul is set to return after missing Sunderland’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in the midweek through suspension. Borini may drop down to the bench, with Adam Johnson likely to replace him.
Possible Manchester United Line Up
Van Gaal needs to make defensive selections, with Rojo now being injured. There are three options for him:
- Using Ashley Young as left back
- Shift Matteo Darmian on left back and bring Phil Jones at the right back role.
- Phil Jones in central defence with Blind shifting to left back.
Carrick and Schneiderlin return to the squad, while Herrera may get a rare start in place of either Juan Mata or Wayne Rooney.
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Possible Sunderland line up:
Advocate doesn’t have enough choices, does he? Defoe to lead the attacking line, while Johnson, Lens and Toivonen should support him at the back in a typical 4-2-3-1 formation.
Key Stats: Manchester United vs Sunderland
0 – Sunderland are yet to win a match in the league this season.
9 – In fact, they have failed to win in their last nine games.
10 – United are undefeated in ten of their last 11 home matches
23 – Head-to-head: 23 match undefeated in last 25 games for United.
Prediction: Manchester United 3-0 Sunderland
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