The Sunderland vs Manchester United Capital One Cup semifinal match will be played this Tuesday, January 7, 2014 (11:45 AM Pacific) at the Stadium of Light. The words ‘poisoned chalice’ and ‘doomed’ and ‘Moyes Out’ were being whispered not so quietly in Manchester pubs around Old Trafford on Sunday, after yet another defeat at home against Swansea. They now visit Sunderland in the first leg of a competition that can be seen as their only realistic ambition at a trophy this year.
Ferguson’s Parting Gift
It probably could get a lot worse for Mr. Moyes, in fact, there’s every chance it will, however, he can take heart in the fact that the lack of ability and awareness so often witnessed this season, is from a team he inherited rather than built. Although he is much maligned in some quarters, it may be slightly unfair in that when you look at the squad he has, it represents arguably the weakest group of players that United have had for over 20 years. You wonder what the realistic target for this side can be this season, but trying to overcome Sunderland will be the first priority.
Gus Poyet has enjoyed his time in the cup competitions this year, one hopes for his sake that they haven’t proved too much of a distraction as Sunderland find themselves rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table and 4 points adrift in the search for safety. Sunderland have failed to beat United in their last 20 meetings, but with the current state of affairs in the red half of Manchester, they will see this as a real opportunity.
Sunderland Team News
Poyet has defensive problems of the highest order right now with John O’Shea, Carlos Cuellar, Mobido Diakite and Valentin Roberge all missing through injury. Larsson, Gardner, Johnson and Cattermole have all been out of form in the league, but may all be given the opportunity to use their experience at the highest level to put United to the sword. Steven Fletcher is the subject of interest from various potential suitors, and will be in the shop window in this massive game. Sunderland will set up to attack, Poyet knows no other way.
Manchester United Team News
Rio Ferdinand limped off in the defeat against Swansea so will most likely be missing. There is doubt whether Rooney, Van Persie or Phil Jones will be available for this game, while Nani is still definitely out after showing no response to treatment. Rafael and Fabio will be missing, one through injury, the other trough recklessness and Felaini too remains sidelined. All this pretty much points to a line up not too dissimilar from that which faced Swansea at the weekend, perhaps the return of De Gea, Vidic, Evra and Carrick will lend more experience to the troubled side. They really need to win this game, because the second leg is at Old Trafford so they won’t be winning that one.
Sunderland vs Manchester United Prediction
It’s sure to be lively in front of a sell-out crowd at the Stadium of Light. In years gone by, United would’ve reacted like a wounded animal and punished Sunderland for just being in their sights on the back of 2 straight home defeats. But this isn’t the United of old, this is a United in limbo and one which is staring down the barrel. Prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United.
Sunderland vs Manchester United TV Info
The match will be televised on beIN Sports USA at 11:45 AM Pacific.