Sunderland v Manchester Utd 12:45
– Craig Gardner’s penalty earned a 1-1 draw for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last time out, leaving them just above the relegation fight.
– Sunderland have just been dealt an unfortunate blow after they found out that star striker Steven Fletcher will now not be fit until next season. The Black Cats will sorely miss his potency in front of goal, his ten goals this season complementing an excellent 75.5% shot accuracy rate from 49 attempts on goal.
– Despite being one of Martin O’Neill’s biggest threats going forward, Sebastian Larsson is also Sunderland’s biggest transgressor for defensive errors. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Swede has given away more fouls that any other Sunderland player with 43.
– Carlos Cuellar has clearly not been suffering from any drop in defensive form, the Spanish centre half establishing a superb 87.7% tackle success rate from 57 challenges, only conceding 8 fouls along the way.
– An unconvincing performance saw Man Utd still manage to record a 1-0 win at home over struggling Reading thanks to Wayne Rooney’s strike.
– Midfielder Shinji Kagawa has been finding himself on the scoresheet in recent weeks and it show be no surprise given the Japanese international’s movement and accuracy in front of goal. Kagawa has an excellent shot accuracy rate of 75% from 16 attempts.
– Despite reduced game time, Rio Ferdinand is still showing the youngsters how defending at the top level should be done. He’s made 137 defensive contributions this season, the highest in the United squad.
– It is little wonder that the Red Devils continue their onward march towards yet another Premier League title given their collective intelligence and passing accuracy. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Utd now have a total of 15 players in their squad who have, on average, successfully completed a pass in the opponent’s half every five minutes or less that they have been on the pitch.