Manchester United enter another Premier League clash against Sunderland after a 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. The result saw United move closer to the glorious Premier League top four spot, only 6 points behind fourth placed noisy neighbors Manchester City, who suffered a 1-3 loss to League leaders Leicester City.
Time is indeed running for the Red Devils as they continue to face a tough challenge to secure a spot on the famous Champions League.
Sunderland are four points from safety after securing a point during their last Premier League fixture against Liverpool. The Black Cats came from behind to score two goals in less than 10 minutes in the final quarter of the match to settle for a 2-2 draw at Anfield.
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce, who is known to be proud of the fact that he has never been under pressure of relegation during his career as a Premier League manager, will be looking forward to give The Black Cats fans an assurance that they are there are not facing relegation.
Allardyce is aware of United’s style of play and he needs to ensure his defensive line is well served with players who are not prone to errors.
The Old Trafford outfit have won 21 and lost just two of their 29 Barclays Premier League matches against Sunderland.
Up until now, the manager has confirmed that Jeremain Lens (hernia), Younes Kaboul (ankle), Duncan Watmore (ankle) and Sebastian Larsson (knee) have been ruled out. Fabio Borini could make a comeback sinc he has returned to fitness but Billy Jones (hip) is also a doubt. Adam Johnson was sacked by the club after he pleaded guilty to charges of grooming and sexual activity with a child. .
Speaking ahead of the clash with United, Allardyce said: “Let’s try to play as well as we did against Manchester City [a 1-0 home defeat] and see if we can get some points. If we can put up the same show as we did against City, we are going to give them a really good game.
“But I would say to the players ‘make sure you get a result if you are going to give a performance like that’. More than ever before our life is about results rather than performances.
“I think that we are going to have to fight until the end of the season now. There is no doubt about that based on the amount of points we have to catch up and the number of games left.”
Manchester United will be missing the services of Adnan Januzaj (hamstring) and Guillermo Varela (knock), who both suffered injuries in Man Utd’s 7-0 Barclays Under-21 Premier League victory over Norwich City on Monday.
Reports have also suggest that United boss Louis van Gaal could call upon Will Keane and Memphis Depay after their impressive performance for the Under-21 team in midweek.
Speaking ahead of the match, van Gaal said: “We had lost four matches in a row in December and you see us now.
“You can only say that we are mentally very strong and that we can cope with the pressure.
“That is not enough as we have to improve our results and consistency to win a lot of matches in a row. We have to minimise the gap to our competitors.”
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Darmian, Blind, Smalling, Borthwick-Jackson; Schneiderlin, Carrick; Lingard, Mata, Martial; Rooney
Sunderland (4-1-4-1): Mannone; Jones, Kone, O’Shea, Van Aanholt; Khazri, M’Vila, Kirchhoff, Cattermole, Borini; Defoe