Stadium of Light, Snderland
October 2, 2010; 7:30 PM IST – Live on ESPN
Manchester United travel to the Stadium of Light in a bid to win their first away game of the season. Having already lost leads at Fulham and Everton, followed by a below par display at Bolton last week, Sir Alex would be hoping to gain maximum points from this encounter, especially with Chelsea and Arsenal going head to head on Sunday. History is against Steve Bruce, as Sir Alex has never lost a game when his counterpart is one of his former players.
Sunderland go into this game with confidence, after securing back to back draws against Arsenal and Liverpool in their last two games. Steve Bruce will also be hoping to break his duck against Manchester United, having never managed a team to victory against his former club. Darren Bent could again prove to be the key for the Black Cats, having scored 8 goals in 10 games against the ‘Big Four’ during his time at the Stadium of Light.
Big game player
Anton Ferdinand could return in defence for the home side after recovering from his hamstring injury. Simon Mingelot will continue in goal whereas Kieran Richardson and Frazier Campbell miss out against their former club. John Mensah is also out, while Danny Welbeck is ineligible to play against his parent club.
Manchester United would be hoping to secure a win in this tricky encounter. Their defence has been leaky, to say the least; already conceding seven goals on their away trips. Steve Bruce would also be hoping that the hard fought win against Valencia in midweek would have also taken a lot out of an injury-hit United midfield.
Wayne Rooney is back in training, but his manager is circumspect to let him play at the Stadium of Light, due to the recurring nature of his ankle injury. Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand will also be assessed after making successful returns against Valencia. Scholes and Giggs are expected to be out for ten days while Valencia and Hargreaves continue to be long term absentees.
Probable Starting Line-ups
Sunderland: Mingolet, Bramble, Turner, Onuoha, Bardsley, Cattermole, Henderson, Malbranque, Al Muhammadi, Bent, Gyan
Manchester United: Van Der Sar, Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson, Nani, Berbatov, Hernandez
Key Match Facts:
1) United are one short of conceding 600 goals in the Premiership.
2) Sunderland have just 15 shots on target this season, less than any other team in BPL.
3) Black Cats have kept only one clean sheet against United in the the Premier League.
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch Out For
Nani (Man United)
With Antonio Valencia out for most of the season, Nani has an extended run in his favored right hand side of the midfield, and he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Involved in most of the goals scored by United this season, the Portuguese has been a constant threat to the opposition. His pace and trickery could prove to be crucial in the game.
Shouldering the ‘Right’ responsibility
Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United
The home side will trouble United’s defence with Darrent Bent leading their line, but the Red Devils will edge out their opponents for their first away win of the season.