Manchester United will visit Sunderland in the first game of Sunday in the English Premier League. This Week 30 contest, however, looks like a key contest for both sides. On one hand, the Black Cats need the three points to move away from the relegation zone, while The Red Devils need to win if they want to get closer to the top four. It seems it is Champions League or bust for Jose Mourinho, and there is no question his boys will be extra motivated for this game.
Sunderland in problems
The Black Cats are coming off two straight defeats at home, losing 0-2 to Leicester City and 0-1 against Watford in the past days. However, they escaped with a scoreless draw in their last game at home against Burnley on March 18. David Moyes’ side has not scored in the last six games, and the potential absence of Jermain Defoe could complicate them even more ahead of this contest. They are 10 points away from salvation, and there is no question this is a must-win game for them. Any other result would add another nail in the coffin for their chances to escape relegation.
Experienced striker Jermain Defoe is doubtful with a knee injury, and he is likely to undergo a late fitness test to see if he will be available for this contest.
Defender Jan Kircfhoff has been ruled out with a knee injury, and he is a few weeks away from returning. Meanwhile, former United product Patrick McNair and Duncan Watmore will miss the reminder of the season due to ACL injuries.
Manchester United continue to struggle
Manchester United have drawn their last two Premier League encounters, 1-1 against Everton and 0-0 against West Bromwich Albion. In their last away game, however, they defeated Middlesbrough 3-1. They need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible, because otherwise their hopes to finish in the top four – and play in the Champions League next season as a result – will fade away even more. It would not be strange to see Mourinho resting some players in this contest, however. The Portuguese tactician knows he needs all of his players available for the final stretch of the campaign, and this seems the perfect game to rotate the side a bit. If we look at United’s schedule, they have the Europa League in the horizon so “The Special One” needs to balance his side properly.
Mourinho will not have the entire squad available for this fixture. Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney are considered day-to-day due to injury. Meanwhile, Juan Mata, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are all at least a few weeks away from returning to training. The rest of the squad will be fit and available, so The Red Devils will have the majority of the squad they have been using in recent weeks for this pivotal match.
Sunderland will be desperate to get the three points. However, Manchester United are the better team by a wide margin. And even though the visitors have struggled with consistency of late, they should not have problems to walk away with the win. I expect Manchester United to cruise their way to a relatively easy win.
Top pick: Home win 1.36 (4/11) @bet365
Alternative pick 1: Man Utd/Man Utd 2.00 (1/1) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Man Utd to win to nil 2.10 (11/10) @Coral