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The Red Devils host 14th place Sunderland at Old Trafford on Saturday, in search of another 3 points…

Match Preview – Manchester United v Sunderland

Competition: Premier League
Kick-Off & Date: 3pm, Saturday, 5th November 2011
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester (Home)
Live TV Coverage: None (WatchMUFC)

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire, England)
Assistants: Jake Collin & Michael McDonough
Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor

Form: United are back on track in the Barclays Premier League after a solid 1-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park last Saturday, and have also recorded wins in the Carling League Cup (3-0 v Aldershot Town) and UEFA Champions League (2-0 v Otelul Galati). The Red Devils are looking for their fourth successive win in all competitions, and will want to maintain 2nd place whilst catching up on 1st spot. Sunderland beware, the army is primed !

Sunderland have suffered a hard start to the season, winning 2, drawing 4 and losing 4 in 10 Premier League fixtures in total this semester. Last time at The Stadium Of Light, The Black Cats scored a late equaliser to secure a valuable point in a 2-2 thriller with Aston Villa, after an agonising 2-1 defeat at the hands of Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium. Sunderland will be looking for a rare win over United, and an even rarer one at Old Trafford. 

The Injury Front: United‘s injuries have mounted up over the past fortnight, with up to 11 footballers missing. Michael Owen, Oliveira Anderson, Michael Carrick and Pat Evra join the already injured Chris Smalling, Ryan Giggs and Ashley Young. Tom Cleverley is doubtful, while Rafael Da Silva, Darron Gibson and Federico Macheda are still sidelined. The Reds are boosted by the return of Nemanja Vidic from European suspension.

Squad: De Gea, Lindegaard, Amos, Jones, Rafael, Fabio, Ferdinand, Evans, Vidic, Valencia, Anderson, Park, Fletcher, Gibson, Nani, Diouf, Hernandez, Rooney, Berbatov, Welbeck.

Sunderland captain John O’Shea misses out for his planned comeback to The Theatre Of Dreams, where he spent 13 years. David Vaughan is carrying a groin injury, which may open up a slot for Lee Cattermole. Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is out for 2 months with a fractured nose and eye socket, with Trevor Carson recalled from his loan spell at Bury. Keiren Westwood is, however, expected to start in goal as usual. 

Squad: Westwood, Carson, Brown, Bardsley, Richardson, Turner, Laing, Cattermole, Gardner, Vaughan, Larsson, Colback, Elmohamady, Meyler, Sessegnon, Bendtner, Wickham, Ji, McClean, Cook.
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The Gaffer: Steve Bruce has come through a rough patch over the last couple of weeks, but it appears he is getting his Sunderland side back in the hunt for the top of the table. Things looked more promising for The Black Cats last season, finishing 10th. But despite their apparent recovery, United await them this weekend !

Most-Feared: Wes Brown has put in some above par shifts for Sunderland of late, and the 32-year-old former Red Devil shows no sign of letting-up. Brown has made 11 appearances this season, with 10 of those coming in the league. Wesley returns to his home of 15 years on Saturday, Old Trafford of Manchester… 

The Ref: Lee Mason offers a reason for Manchester United fans to berate him, having assisted The FA in banning Wayne Rooney for 2 matches for shouting into a TV camera. There have been dozens of similar incidents since then, but all have been overlooked. Surprise, surprise. Other than that, he’s OK.

United Latest‘s Prediction: United 4-0 Sunderland
Javier Hernandez x 2, Danny Welbeck & Wayne Rooney ?

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