Jose Mourinho’s men have finally got back to winning ways, and have managed three back to back wins in the league. In fact, Manchester United are unbeaten in eight Premier League matches and they will be looking forward to continue the momentum against Sunderland.
Manchester United bounced back from three consecutive 1-1 draws and won against Tottenham, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich in their last three games of the British top tier. However, they are still languishing in the sixth spot, 13 points shy of the league leaders Liverpool. Fourth placed Arsenal are also four points ahead of them, and so, the team cannot make any mistake in the coming weeks.
The visitors are still in the relegation zone with only 14 points from 17 games. The good news is that three of Sunderland’s four wins this season came over the last six gameweeks. Moreover, David Moyes is not unfamiliar with the Old Trafford atmosphere and he might hope to guide his team to a huge upset on Monday.
Manchester United might have to do without Luke Shaw, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The last two are slowly coming around and might feature in the matchday squad by new year; while the left back is expected to be fit next week. However, it is not sure if he will be available for selection against Sunderland.
Jose Mourinho is expected to keep his defensive six (four defenders and two holding midfielders) unchanged and an in form Zlatan Ibrahimovic will lead the frontline once again. Paul Pogba is also going to start in the hole behind the Swedish striker. The most interesting thing is going to be Mourinho’s selection for the two wings. So far, Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Mkhitaryan took the responsibilities in the two flanks. Chances are high that Rooney and Mata will be deployed on Monday.
Sunderland, on the other hand, have a lot of injury worries ahead of this difficult fixture. Adnan Januzaj will not be able to feature against his parent club. The main concern is the midfield where as many as six midfielders, excluding Januzaj, are going to miss the clash. Duncan Watmore, Jack Rodwell, Jan Kirchoff, Lee Cattermole and Lynden Gooch have sustained serious injuries that will keep them out of first team action for a long time. Steven Pienaar also has a knock and the boss will hope for his recovery on time. In addition, defenders Paddy McNair, Billy Jones and Javier Manquillo are also going to sit this game out.
Here is the predicted lineup for Sunderland:
Key players: Ibrahimovic has scored seven goals and assisted another in his last seven league games. He will be the key to success for United. For the away side, the main man would be Jordan Pickford who has been a standout performer between the sticks. Jermain Defoe has also done his bit this season, with eight goals and three assists. Moyes will rely heavily on him to provide the breakthroughs.
Prediction: The Black Cats are well known for their abilities to cause upsets, but we think it should be a cakewalk for the home team. Our prediction is a 2-0 win for Manchester United.
Recent Premier League form (latest result first):
Manchester United: W-W-W-D-D-D
Manchester United: 2/9
The match will kick off at 3pm local time (8:30 pm IST, 10am Eastern) on Monday, 26th December. As usual, Sky Sports 1 (in the UK), NBCSN (in the US) and Star Sports Select HD1 (in India) will telecast this game in different countries. If you need a live streaming link, send a message to out official Facebook page!
Photo by Paolo Camera