Man Utd v Sunderland, Sunderland 15:00
– Manchester United will be flying after emerging victorious from last weekend’s Manchester derby. Two goals from Wayne Rooney and a late winner from Robin van Persie sealed all three points and a six point buffer at the top of the Premier League table
– Michael Carrick is often described as the Rolls Royce that makes the Man Utd team purr but his technical ability with the ball at his feet has been somewhat overshadowed by some defensive lapses. Only Rafael has conceded more fouls for Utd this season, with Carrick being pulled up by the officials 15 times.
– Ashley Young’s form has been somewhat up and down since his return from injury but no one can doubt his desire or commitment against City last weekend. The England winger pushed himself further than anyone else on the field, running for 6.71 miles.
– Brazilian defender Rafael’s development is continuing apace under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, and the youngster has been excelling in all areas of the game this season. His attacking play is particularly worthy of note, the defender having provider 17 crosses and 4 assists for his team mates and all before the turn of the year.
– Robin van Persie continues to show what a fantastic decision it was by Sir Alex Ferguson to bring him to Old Trafford, as he his incredible form shows no sign of abating since leaving Arsenal. He is second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for attempts to goals ratio, with a place on the scoresheet coming once every 4.54 attempts this season.
– Wayne Rooney has been challenged by his manager to start scoring more goals but all the other abilities he brings to the Man Utd side should not be overlooked. Only one other striker has provided more assists than Wayne, with England’s talisman currently sitting third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 7.
– Sunderland are flying high after beating Reading 3-0 at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday. Goals from James McClean, Steven Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon ignited a fine win for Martin O’Neill’s side and will have gone a long way to easing the pressure on their manager.
– That was Sunderland’s second game in four days after they had fallen to a 3-1 defeat courtesy of Chelsea and a rejuvenated Fernando Torres. Despite the result Sunderland fans can feel positive about the excellent form of Adam Johnson who scored again against Chelsea.
– James McClean continues to light up the Stadium of Light with his attacking ability, he’s provided 35 crosses this season for his team to latch onto, but he’s also more than willing to put in a shift and track back. He’s ran for 76.44 miles according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– The signing of Steve Fletcher continues to prove to be a very smart acquisition by Martin O’Neill, the striker leading the line superbly since his arrival from Wolves. He’s already established himself as a solid scoring threat, with one coming every 3.71 attempts he has on goal.
– Adam Johnson has been another crucial arrival for Sunderland, his creativity bolstering their midfield nicely. He’s provided a squad-high 4 assists and 40 crosses, a sign of what he can do when given an extended run in any team.
– Sebastian Larsson achieved the distinction of being both Sunderland’s quickest player and their hardest worker against Reading. The Swede was recorded by the EA Player Performance Index travelling at 19.86mph and running for a solid 6.69 miles in total.