Matchday 2 of the Barclays Premier League is on the horizon, Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United side tasted defeat in their season opener at Old Trafford against Swansea, now they face a tricky task away to Sunderland at the Stadium Of Light.
Sunderland managed a 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns last weekend against West Bromwich Albion, and will look to get their campaign off to a good start at home. Gus Poyet has rejuvenated Sunderland since taking over and his side will be looking for a mid table finish.
Louis Van Gaal was very disappointed with his sides performance last weekend and says all confidence his side had, has been crushed. Now Ander Herrera & Marouane Fellaini will join the injury list, while Robin van Persie returns for selection.
Argentinian World Cup defender Marcos Rojo signed a 5 year contract worth €16m. Although he is fit for selection, Rojo doesn’t have a work permit. So lots of players will be missing for Manchester United.
Last season, the two sides met 4 times, twice in the league and twice in the League Cup semi final. The first time the sides met at the Stadium Of Light, Adnan Januzaj got a brace as his side won 2-1. They met again in Wearside in the Capital One Cup semi final first leg which ended 2-1 for Sunderland.
The second leg at Old Trafford ended 2-1 for Manchester United but Sunderland progressed to final winning 2-1 in a penalty shootout. The two sides met at the Theatre of Dreams for the fourth time of the season and it ended 1-0 for Sunderland.
Sunderland and Manchester United both have many quality players that will be in the game this weekend, but I will narrow it down a bit. For Sunderland, key players will be Vito Mannone, Lee Cattermole & Connor Wickham. Vito Mannone will be a key player because he will be in charge of saving the chances United get, in history, Man United tend to have lots of shots against Sunderland so he will need to play a great game.
Lee Cattermole will be key because he is the midfield engine for Sunderland and it will be his job to dictate the play and pace of the game, he will need to be very disciplined. Connor Wickham will be Sunderland’s front man, he will need to get behind the defense and use his speed and take his chances.
For Manchester United, key players will be Darren Fletcher, Juan Mata & Wayne Rooney. Fletcher will be key because he will need to fill the hole that Herrera will leave since he is out. Fletcher was very poor last weekend and will need to have better passing and discipline. Juan Mata is key because he is the player who can make something out of nothing. He will add the flare to Manchester United and will provide Wayne Rooney and maybe Robin van Persie.
Wayne Rooney will be the talisman for Manchester United, he has been the rock of the team for years and is the leader of the group. It is his job on and off the pitch to motivate the team.
Important Match Ups
Match ups on the pitch are always the most important thing, looking who you will be going up against. I will go through a few of the important ones. Rooney v Cattermole, Cattermole will need to stay close to Wayne and not let him have too much time and space on the ball. Wickham v Smalling, Wickham will have use his pace to make runs in and behind Smalling and will need to make sure his finishing is top notch. Larsson v Fletcher, Fletcher will need to make sure Larsson doesn’t put any good deliveries into the box, and doesn’t let Larsson get into shooting positions.
Possible Line Ups
Sunderland: (4-4-1-1) Mannone; Bridcutt, Brown, O Shea, van Aanholt; Johnson, Cattermole, Gomez, Larsson; Fletcher, Wickham.
Man United: (3-4-1-2) De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Blackett; Januzaj, Fletcher, Kagawa, Young; Mata; van Persie, Rooney.
Manchester United have many injuries and are struggling because of it, Herrera will be a huge miss. Van Gaal will hope that van Persie and Wayne Rooney provide goals and Juan Mata adds the flare. They will need to be good defensively. Sunderland will really go for the game and show no fear, they’re playing at home and will want to get the points. Score Prediction: Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United.
Can Manchester United return to winning ways in the Premier League under Louis Van Gaal or will Sunderland cause the Old Trafford club more pain? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @TBRFootball .