During the matchweek 31 of the English Premier League, Manchester United will travel to the Stadium of Light as they prepare to lock horns with Martin O'Neill’s Sunderland side.
The Red Devils have a 15-point cushion at the top to the table and with the FA Cup replay against Chelsea looming large on the horizon, manager Sir Alex Ferguson could rest some of his key players.
Sunderland’s survival hopes were dealt a massive blow with as it was confirmed that both Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole will miss the remainder of the season. Fletcher, particularly will be an immense miss for O’Niell’s men as the 26-year-old has been the club’s leading goalscorer this term, with 11 strikes to his name.
Moving on, David Vaughan (groin) could be available for the tie, but Carlos Cuellar (ankle) and Wes Brown (knee) are likely to miss out.
United, on the other hand, find themselves in a much better position that their opposition with only the duo of Nani (hamstring) and Phil Jones (ankle) being minor doubts for their trip.
Sunderland (4-4-1-1): Mignolet; Gardner, O'Shea, Bramble, Rose; Johnson, Larsson, N'Diaye, McClean; Sessegnon; Graham
Manchester United (4-4-1-1): De Gea; Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Kagawa; Rooney; Chicharito
Player to Watch out For: Wayne Rooney
With Robin van Persie likely to be rested for the game, Wayne Rooney will have the onus of providing the attacking firepower to the United team.
After a decent international break, the 27-year-old will keen on adding to his current goal-scoring tally of 16 strikes this season and one can surely expect him to do so against a depleted and struggling Sunderland side.
Prediction: Sunderland 0-2 Manchester United
The hosts are yet to win a game since January and it doesn’t really appear as if they could pull out a shocker on Saturday.
Even without van Persie and possibly Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, I see the Red Devils easily overcoming Sunderland and securing their sixth consecutive clean sheet.
Key Fact: Sunderland beat Manchester City both this season and last at the Stadium of Light but have not toppled United on home turf in the top flight since 1997.