Preview: 25 Years Of Sir Alex, But Can We Crash The Party?

Sorry Sir Alex, I hope we ruin your big day.

Oh hello there, nice of you to stop by. Right here we'll be looking to preview our clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford tomorrow.

In here you'll find the team news, the betting, the music, the history and more no doubt as we cover the game from every possible angle.

Look, there's not much we can say here is there? It's Manchester United, away, it's Sir Alex's 25th Anniversary or some such event, and their fresh from a 6-1 shellacking by their nearest and dearest... let's just hope it's not a cricket score.

Sunderland Team News

Changes are set to be made, both through injury and our own stupidity I fear. Of course we know Simon Mignolet will miss out due to an exploded face, as will John O'Shea with a hamstring problem and there's doubts over David Vaughan too.

Now then, we could easily swap all three like for like and go for it, but the way Bruce is talking suggests a 4-5-1 formation, undoing all the good work of the last few weeks. Bruce spoke at length about having to clog up the midfield to get a result, which translated means 4-5-1, backs to the walls and hope for 0-0.

So Keiren Westwood will be charged with keeping United at bay, ably backed up by one of Trevor Carson (now recalled) or youngster Ben Wilson. Neither is likely to be needed, so its no big worry.

Across the back four we'll be looking at Phil Bardsley filling in for O'Shea, Wes Brown & Michael Turner in the middle with Kieran Richardson on the left, hoping not to be sent off this time around.

Now for a midfield five. All reports suggest Vaughan isn't going to make it and Lee Cattermole will return and take the captaincy. He'll be joined by Jack Colback, Sebastian Larsson and Stephane Sessegnon whilst the other place is up for grabs. Bendtner out wide? Wickham out wide? There's every chance it will be Wickham as Bruce has said he's "considering it" however I'd imagine he'll bottle it and plump for Ahmed Elmohamady or someone. Craig Gardner (a more natural fit for the role) and David Meyler left on the bench again.

Up front it looks like Nicklas Bendtner gets the start and the man charged with bringing us back from 2-0 down after 15 minutes singlehandedly.

Sorry, I'm not all that miserable, I'm actually living in hope this is all completely wrong and Brucey's playing some sort of game.

Manchester United Team News

There's a few reasons to fear Man United this week. One, they're pretty good. Two, it's Sir Alex Ferguson's 25th Anniversary in charge of the club, and finally they got humped 6-1 by Manchester City last time at home, so they've got good reasons to get out there and put on a show.

Since that defeat however, they've continued to look relatively unspectacular and I for one will be hoping that continues.

On the injury front, we'll be pleased to hear that Ashley Young, Anderson, Chris Smalling and Tom Cleverley will miss out, whilst there's doubts about Rio Ferdinand as Fergie has publicly stated he looks like he's lost a yard of pace. Having played Ferdinand against Otelul Galati mid-week, I doubt this so called slow coach will get a second outing in a week, especially as Nemanja Vidic returns.

I think our brightest hope for the game will be to pepper David De Gea's goal at every opportunity. De Gea has some early season wobbles, but has improved massively since then. However, stats show that he's made the most saves in the league, which makes it clear to me he can be got at. Even a striker-less Everton managed 18 shots on goal, so if Sessegnon can hit one, or maybe even Richardson, Larsson... We've got a few with a cannon.

Can Turner and Brown cope with Rooney, Nani, Hernandez, Valencia? Dear God I hope so.

They key to getting these strikes will be that we have some confidence and bring over the swagger from the last few games. If we attack and go for it, I think we'll be fine. Even if I'm wrong and we get beat, at least we had a go.

Predicted Line-Ups

SAFC: Westwood, Bardsley, Turner, Brown, Richardson, Larsson, Colback, Cattermole, Sessegnon, Elmohamady, Bendtner

Man United: De Gea, Jones, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Fletcher, Valencia, Rooney, Hernandez.

Classic Encounter

As you'll have read on the site this week we've had Mark Metcalf recounting some rather glorious games against Manchester United harking all the way back to the 1960's. So in light of that, I'm taking the easy way out and simply recommending you read them as they are great. It's in three parts, so HERE'S PART 1, and HERE'S PART 2, and finally we have PART 3. I hope you enjoy them. Normal service will resume next week.

Get Rich Quick

Ok, so I didn't give you a winner last week, but still I had that one the other week at Bolton? Give me a second chance!... This week, it's hard to select a winning bet and support the lads, so I'm going to give two options. One for the positive gamblers who can't bet against the team (aka me), and one for the negative fellows who actually want to win. So Posi-Peeps, here's what I've got for you... Seb Larsson to continue his fine form and bang in the opening goal at a pretty generous 20/1 on BetFred. Of course, there's the flip side of that you're looking at Manchester United wins, but strangely there's not much value in it. Them to win 3-0 seems alright at 13/2, and probably likely, but the odds are rubbish. Stick with Seb I say!

Song For Whoever

In this little part of the preview we like to find a tune tenuously linked with the game in one way or another, and this week we're gone for this little number. What with it being Sir Alex Ferguson's 25th Anniversary, and United taking all the fanfare, I think we really ought to crash this party, and indeed ruin it...

Yup, it's the criminally underrated Ok Go with "Crash The Party"... Pretty literal, and a good song to boot.

Prediction

Despite my call to crash the party, I fear it's an Arsenal-esque game ahead. Far too much respect shown, and inevitably slumping to a 2-0 defeat., United "back to their best" whilst we stand on by like buffoons (if you read the national press). I really hope we manage to make the headlines our own and ruin the party, it just doesn't seem all that likely, although stranger things have happened... Why not give us your thoughts and predictions in the comments?

Ha'way The Lads, at least try.

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