Sunderland head to Old Trafford and history is not exactly on their side, having failed to win at this ground since 1968. Manchester United have the hold over the Black Cats with them remaining unbeaten against them in their last 20 league meetings and keeping clean sheets in the last five.
Martin O’ Neill does have the ability to win at Old Trafford and is still the only Premier League manager to win at this ground with two different clubs.
There is a sense of renewed optimism at the Stadium of Light now that they managed to secure a crucial 3-0 midweek victory over Reading to haul them out of the relegation zone.
United though will be unfazed by this with the side storming ahead of everyone else at the moment. Their victory over Man City at the Etihad stadium ensured they went into this weekend’s fixture at least 6 points ahead of the nearest challenger.
Manchester United may be able to welcome back Captain Nemanja Vidic for the first time since September which would be a huge lift. He could come straight in for Jonny Evans who picked up a hamstring injury against City. Nani and Anderson remain sidelined. Lindegaard is available for selection again following missing last weekend with the birth of his son but is expected to start on the bench.
Sunderland will be forced into two changes though after suffering injures to Adam Johnson (dead leg) and defender Danny Rose (ankle). Both players started Tuesday night’s win and they join Phil Bardsley and Lee Cattermole on the treatment table. O ‘Neill will hoping that his leading striker Steven Fletcher can shake off an ankle niggle.
Van Persie has scored seven goals in his last nine against Sunderland and will be hungry to improve on that record in this 15.00 home kick off.
A mere three clean sheets in the Premier League this season does give Sunderland plenty of reason to hope they can score a goal on the counter.