Sunderland vs Manchester United, Barclays Premier League, Sunday 24th August 2014.
It was a bitterly disappointing start to Louis van Gaal’s reign at Old Trafford, after a superb and exciting pre-season which seen some great football and great results; United fans had high hopes ahead of the Swansea game. Unfortunately the first game of United’s season produced a poor performance and the result to match. It was a very unexpected result aided by the fact throughout the terrible results last season we beat Swansea home and away, including David Moyes’ first game which was a very impressive 4-1 win away at Swansea. The team certainly wasn’t with it’s fair share of injuries which led to Premier League debuts for Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingard, the latter was subsequently injured.
Ahead of the second game of the season away at Sunderland the injuries persist, while United have been aided by the return of Robin van Persie Louis van Gaal revealed that Ander Herrera has been ruled out of the game through injury. These injuries mean that Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverley are likely to start with Anderson and Nick Powell also available if selected. This really shows the quality we lack in midfield and many fans are still calling for LVG to sign another midfielder. Meanwhile it was reported that new signing Marcos Rojo would be handed a debut against Sunderland but it was revelaed that his work permit has not been sorted meaning he is not avaliable for selection. This means all three of United’s new signings are out of the game due to injury and a work permit.
5-3-2 Formation: De Gea Jones Evans Smalling Rafael Young Fletcher Cleverley Mata Rooney (C) van Persie
While all United fans were optimistic heading into the opener I’ve witnessed a hint of negativity ahead of this game fueled by the possibility of a Fletcher-Cleverley midfield duo. This fixture last season was no walk in the park for United, typically of their season Sunderland took the lead but it was a Adnan Januzaj making his first Premier League start who saved us, scoring 2 goals including a fantastic volley to win the game. Now heading into the fixture Januzaj has inherited Ryan Giggs’ number 11 and has instantly become a fans favourite at Old Trafford. It certainly won’t be an easy game for Louis van Gaal but I believe he has a plan and in the end will come out with all 3 points.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United