Sunderland v Manchester United – The key battles

Both David Moyes and Gus Poyet, as new managers at their respective clubs, will be desperate to win the Capital One Cup and nab their first piece of silverware.

United and Sunderland have both struggled somewhat in the league this season, but have certainly made up for this with impressive cup runs.

Two stunning goals from Ashley Young and Patrice Evra helped United secure their Semi-Final fixture with Sunderland as they beat Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. David Moyes will need Wayne Rooney to play a big part in this clash as his main playmaker in the side, along with the possible return of Robin van Persie.

The Black Cats produced the shock of the tournament as they came from behind to knock out Jose Mourinho’s high-flying Chelsea in the Round 5, with a late brace of goals from Fabio Borini and Ki Sung-Yueng. The Capital One Cup Final will be Gus Poyet’s number one priority, as he will look to bide more time in his attempts to keep Sunderland in top-flight football.

Ondrej Celustka v Adnan Januzaj

The league encounter between these two saw the Sunderland full-back have a torrid time against the young United winger and this will be another battle that will prove to be a tough test for Gus Poyet’s men to deal with.

Januzaj scored twice and was voted Man of the Match back in October when the two sides met at the Stadium of Light. If he can produce another display like that in the Capital One Cup Semi-Finals then United could have an absolute field day down that left flank.

The Czech Republic international will have to be fully focused in this Capital One Cup tie if he is to win this battle, as time after time the class and trickery of United’s Januzaj left him trailing last time out.

Michael Carrick v Lee Cattermole

Lee Cattermole and Michael Carrick are similar players, in the sense that they both keep it simple and look to link up play between the midfield and the wide attacking players. This battle will be determined by the temperament of the game, with Lee Cattermole’s passion getting the better of him from time to time.

Carrick has been a top performer for the Manchester club this season, but he has found himself overrun in the centre of midfield at times with a lack of options to partner him in the centre of the pitch. The England international has made 17 appearances in all competitions this season but has failed to score. David Moyes however, will be looking for Carrick to keep the ball ticking over and feed creative output Wayne Rooney if they are to progress to the Final.

Jozy Altidore v Nemanja Vidic

Last time these two met, the Serbian looked intimidated by the big frame of the Sunderland striker, where he was barged off the ball and regularly outmuscled by the big American forward.

Poyet will be hoping that Altidore can intimidate the centre-back pairing on the night and then look to introduce his wide attackers, specifically Emanuele Giaccherini who had an outstanding performance in the first half in the league encounter between these two sides.

However, Nemanja Vidic has played at the top level for a number of years now and will be wise to a number of different types of striker – however big they may be. Prepare for an epic clash between these two that could decide the tie.

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