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Match Preview: Manchester United (H) - What now?

Two losses in the space of a week leaves the club perilously close to the formality that is relegation. Can we get anything at home to United?

Manchester United v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

I’m not sure what’s left to say other than it looks like we’re almost certainly going to be relegated. Theoretically we would need to win 5 or more of our next 7 games in order to mount any chance of survival - a statistic that looks incredibly unlikely.

Manchester United visit the SoL this weekend looking for a vital win to keep their chances of a top 4 finish alive. They are currently 4 points away from their 4th placed city rivals despite having played a game less. A win this weekend would reduce that deficit down to a single point potentially and set up a tense race to the finish line.

Mourinho and co. will absolutely have this game earmarked as an expected three points. Moyes and Sunderland must now take to every game like it’s a cup final - we might be close to relegation, but we have to build some momentum to restore some pride and belief in the club.

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League
Mourinho will be desperate for a win to reduce the gap between United and fourth-place City to a solitary point.
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Mourinho’s men will come to the North-East in confident mood after remaining undefeated in their last 20 games; 10 wins and 10 draws is an impressive achievement, and Mourinho will be looking to tip that win ratio even higher this Sunday. Sunderland are winless in their last 6 home games, and haven’t mustered a goal in the last 4 - it’s been a difficult season to say the least.

However, perhaps Sunday could be a day to celebrate because United have failed to win at the SoL in their last three trips. It doesn’t seem like a realistic outcome, but that would be typically Sunderland - spurn chances to put points on the board against teams in our vicinity, whilst snagging wins against those who we don’t think we can beat.

In all honesty there has been very little offered to us in order to increase our hopes of success; we look unorganized and generally clueless when on the pitch, so to try and win against one of the league’s better teams in this current predicament is an incredibly difficult task.

Manchester United v Sunderland - Premier League
Mkhitaryan’s wonder strike was a memorable moment from the last time the two club’s met.
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Moyes noted in his press conference ahead of the game that:

We’re in a position where we have to take risks.

It’s comments like this that really irritate me. This has been the case for weeks now! We are sitting firmly at the foot of the table, 10 points from safety despite also having a game in hand. Our remaining fixtures are against: United (H), West Ham (H), Boro (A), Bournemouth (H), Hull (A), Swansea (H), Arsenal (A) and Chelsea (A). Winning 5 of those games puts us in with a minuscule shout of safety - and that is a ginormous ask of this squad. So to suggest that just now is the time to gamble is almost beyond belief.

I’ve said for weeks, if not months, that Moyes needed to go all out in attack if we were to fight our way to safety. Instead, his tall, British, hidebound side have trudged through a mire of performances that have yielded very little indeed. The continued absence of Wahbi Khazri has been a total mystery in all honesty, especially when you acknowledge the ineffectiveness of Fabio Borini. While the dull, languid displays in general have done nothing whatsoever to inspire the fans who still congregate to games in their droves.

What is our plan? Is there one?

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League
Where’s Wahbi?
Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Team News

Moyes noted that Anichebe is back, but more than likely won’t complete the full 90 minutes. Furthermore, John O’Shea will remain in Ireland after the passing of his father. Other than that, nobody else is really back in contention, including Adnan Januzaj who isn’t eligible to play against his parent team.

There's no more good news as far as players coming back from injury.

The rest are probably out for the rest of the season.

I won’t even go into other comments, as there really isn’t much else to note. It’s all been said already.

Predictions

Predicted XI: Pickford, Jones, Kone, Denayer, Oviedo, Cattermole, Rodwell, Ndong, Larsson, Borini, Defoe.

Score Prediction: I have a feeling that United will be hungry for this while the Lads might have accepted that relegation is to be their fate. Can’t see us taking anything from this game, especially is Ibrahimović is on form. 0-3 United.