Likely Manchester United v Sunderland, Starting XI:
De Gea, Keane, Smalling, Blackett, Jones, Young, Fletcher, Cleverley, Mata, Rooney, van Persie.
Barclays Premier League.
Sunderland v Manchester United.
Stadium of Light.
Sunday 24th of August.
Referee; Martin Atkinson, Asst 1; S. Child, Asst 2; H.Hennard, 4th Off; P.Dowd.
Total Meetings; P 139, W 62, D, 36 D 41.
Top Goal Scorers last season.
Sunderland; Johnson (8) Borini (7) Wickham (5) Colback (3) Fletcher (3).
Manchester United; Rooney (17) van Persie (12) Welbeck (9) Mata (6) Hernandez (4).
Top Goal Scorers this Season.
Sunderland; Cattermole (1) Larsson (1).
Manchester United; Rooney (1).
Sunderland’s opening game V West Brom – 2-2.
Manchester United’s opening game V Swansea City – 1-2.
Last seasons encounters with Sunderland in brief;
We played the Black Cats on 4 occasions last season the first match in the Premier League at the Stadium of light in October ended 2-1 to United, Adanan Januzaj striking both goals after Craig Gardner had given Sunderland a 5th minute lead.
We again travelled North in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg tie, in early January 2014. A similar score line to our first meeting but this time in favour of the home side 2-1, Ryan Giggs unfortunately opening the scoring in 45 minutes as the Welshman got in a tussle with the ex Red’s players Phil Bardsley and Wes Brown after Seb Larsson drove in a wicked free kick, United’s assistant manager bundling the ball over line.
United fought back as the Red Devils of old, the rock Nemanja Vidic firing in a headed goal in spectacular fashion on the 50-second minute. Adam Johnson won a penalty going down inside the box, which on loan striker Fabio Borini from Liverpool, struck home with conviction. Upper hand to Sunderland in the Cup.
In the second leg of the semi-final in January 2014 at Old Trafford, which promised to be a tense-nervous evening it materialised as exactly that Jonny Evan’s gave United parity in the aggregate score appearing from nowhere in the 37th minute heading home from close range after losing his marker fellow Irishman John O’Shea, Danny Welbeck attributed with an assist with a flick. United fought bravely to find the winner, but Sunderland displayed all their resilience and grit in standing firm for the 90 minutes. Regular time came and went and the semi-final entered extra time. As was semi written in the stars for one of Sunderland’s ex United men to deliver damage, Phil Bardsley hitting a 20 yard tester at De Gea in the 119th minute, the Black Cats only on target shot to this point, our Spanish gloves man, uncharacteristically letting the ball squirm out of his control into the net.
The United cavalierly charge was the answer, Javier Hernandez’s late very-late strike drawing the contest level in the 119th minute. Do or die – penalties to seal the outcome and United’s misery, Januzaj, Jones and Rafael not scoring from the spot which ensured Sunderland’s passage to a Capital One Cup Final to face Manchester City at Wembley. The final result 3-3 aggregate, Sunderland winning 2-1 on penalties – United’s opportunity of domestic silverware last season extinguished, having previously that month exited the FA Cup in Round Three, at the hands of Swansea City at Old Trafford 2-1.
Manchester United v Sunderland, Saturday 3rd May 2014;
Having battered Norwich 4-0, 7 days previously at Old Trafford there was a much wanted feeling of optimism with Ryan Giggs in his manager care taking capacity in his penultimate game in charge at home. After the 90 minutes on this day against Sunderland this had largely vanished also, the cracks could not be papered over quite so easily. Having witnessed this all season one step forward, crashing back. Sebastian Larsson firing home a sumptuous volley in the 30th minute leaving David de Gea, powerless to stop the quality strike. Giggs had rung the changes 5 players in truth from his previous starting X1, missing top goal scorer Rooney through a groin injury. But the simple facts are Manchester United had nothing to fight for of value now other than pride, and that commodity had apparently vanished a year ago with Sir Alex Ferguson.
Gus Poyet’s warriors had something to save, their Premier League survival and they duly left Old Trafford with a comfortable 1-0 victory inflicting on United their 7th loss at home last season and Sunderland’s first outright win at Old Trafford since 1968, a miserable day of many last season for all Reds.
Manchester United; Injuries.
Jesse Lingard, Ankle/Foot injury, no return date.
Luke Shaw, Hamstring injury, 14th of Sept.
Michael Carrick, Ankle/Foot injury, 5th of Oct.
Marouane Fellaini, Ankle/Foot injury, no return date.
Sunderland became only the second team ever, to be bottom of the Premier League at Christmas and retain Premiership status. Propping up the table with 6 games to go last campaign under Gus Poyet, a made in heaven brace by mercurial Connor Wickham against league winners Manchester City starting the revival with a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium.
The Wearsider’s venturing on a life saving 4 winning game streak, taking scalps such as Manchester United and Chelsea away, to turn a 7 point league survival deficit into a 14th place Premier League finish, Harry Houdini – Gus Poyet.
Sunderland were the most highly fouled team in the Premier League last season, 454 times.
United may have lost 2-1 to Swansea City Saturday past, there were reasons to be excited. Our new boss gave debuts at Old Trafford in the 1st team to both Jesse Lingard and Tyler Blackett.
Young Lingard sadly leaving the field early through an injury, but Manchester born 20 year old Tyler Blackett stating his case for a regular starting spot, he played 84 accurate passes, the most of any United player on the day, cutting out two key passes, and three clearing headers with confidence. Notably – Blackett’s pass completion was the 2nd best of any Manchester United player against Swansea, he achieved 93.33% only Luis Nani marginally better at 93.75%.
We shall also see Robin van Persie for the first time this season, the last occasion we saw the Dutchman was against Southampton in the final game of the last campaign when he came on as a substitute. A warm welcome back for our talismanic striker.
There is much work to do, but Manchester United’s young players will learn a lot under the new boss as Louis van Gaal said ” This job will take time.”
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