Sunderland perspective: Martyn McFadden, A Love Supreme
Disaster has struck for Sunderland at a vital stage of the season: Steven Fletcher has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign after getting injured on international duty. One tiny positive is that Wes Brown has been playing for the U21s recently and may be working his way back to fitness. He hasn’t played since January last year.
We have been awful lately. Our playing style consists of hoofing the ball to Steven Fletcher, hoping he will either nod it to Danny Graham (who will proceed to miscontrol the ball), or sending it out wide so our wingers can fail to beat their man or send a cross into the stands. We have no creativity at all and for this reason the fans are really starting to turn on Martin O’Neill.
What can I say? It’s Man United, and any team in the league would do well to beat them. They’ve completely run away with the title this year and the closing games are something of a formality. The last time we got any sort of result against them was in 2009, when a 94th-minute Anton Ferdinand own goal gifted them a 2-2 draw against a quality Sunderland side. How times have changed.
The draw at 3.80. We’re not going to win, but I’d never bet on my own team to lose!
Danny Graham to score last at 10.00. We need the Geordie to step up now more than ever.
Ashley Young to score at 4.70. If you watched England v San Marino you’ll have seen the cracker Ashley Young scored. This is certainly worth a punt.
Score prediction: Sunderland 1-1 Man Utd (7.50)
Man United perspective: Chudi Onwuazor, The Busby Way
Nani, Phil Jones and Paul Scholes are set to return for United’s trip to the Stadium of Light. With a 20th title in touching distance, Sir Alex Ferguson can afford to rotate his team with a trip to Stamford Bridge on Monday in the FA Cup coming up.
Manchester United continue to power ahead in the league, beating Reading 1-0 last time out in a solid but unspectacular display. Eight league wins in a row, coupled with City’s stuttering form, means United are 15 points clear and could see this gap extend to 18 before Man City kick a ball in their game with Newcastle.
We have been looking forward to this tie since last season. We travelled to the Stadium of Light on the last day of the season and comfortably beat them 1-0. With QPR giving City hell it looked like United could squeak the title, then Aguero scored and the rest is history. Sunderland’s fans celebrated and gloated as if they themselves had won the title – which won’t be forgotten on Saturday.
Robin van Persie to score at 1.85. The striker scored three goals in two appearances for the Netherlands in the past week, so it looks like he has refound his shooting boots.
United clean sheet at 2.20. United have tightened up at the back, and with no Steven Fletcher Sunderland may struggle for goals.
Over 3.5 goals at 3.25. Sir Alex Ferguson said his side wouldn’t forget Sunderland’s reaction to City winning the title last year, so a little revenge may be on the cards. Back United to score more than four goals to show up their hosts?
Score prediction: Sunderland 0-4 Man United (25.00)
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