Old Trafford in Manchester will be the setting on Nov. 5th when former Manchester United defender Steve Bruce takes his underachieving Sunderland team over to take on his former club. United currently sits second in the English Premier League with 23 points from seven wins, two draws and a loss. They trail their cross-town rivals Manchester City by five points, due to a 6-1 home humiliation to City two weeks ago.
Sunderland, as usual with Bruce in charge, are in the bottom half of the table in 14th place with just 10 points from two wins, four draws and four losses. They head into the game just four points above the relegation zone and five points ahead of last-place Wigan.
United will welcome captain Nemanja Vidic back into the team as they attempt to win their fourth straight game since the beating by Man. City. Their last game was an uninspiring 2-0 Champions League win over Otelul Galati 2-0 on Wednesday. Striker Michael Owen injured his thigh in that game and will be out of action for this tilt. Winger Ashley Young, midfielders Ryan Giggs and Tom Cleverly will also be on the sidelines along with defender Chris Smalling as they’re all injured.
The past record between these two clubs, which means nothing in this game, shows that Sunderland hasn’t won at Old Trafford since way back on 1968 and Bruce has never managed a team to a win over United, which isn’t surprising.
Sunderland’s midfielder David Vaughan has been out with a groin injury, but it’s possible that the 28 year old could return for this match. If he can’t play then look for captain Lee Cattermole to be named to the team. They’ll definitely be without goalkeeper Simon Mignolet as he’s out for two months with some fractured bones in his face. Keeper Trevor Carson will make his way back to Sunderland after Bruce recalled him from his loan duty with Bury while Keiren Westwood should get the start in net. Former United defender John O’Shea won’t get the chance to play his old club since he’s out with a hamstring injury.
Sunderland has only beaten United once in the 20 EPL meetings between the two teams, which came back in 1997 when they won 2-1 at home. Overall, United has beaten Sunderland 56 times in 131 meetings while Sunderland has won 39 times.
United started the season like a house on fire by banging 21 goals in during their first five league games, but have scored just six times in their last five. Sunderland has just one away win this season which was 2-0 against the equally inept Bolton two weeks ago. Youngster Connor Wickham became the youngest scorer in the EPL this season when he scored for Sunderland against Aston Villa last week at just over 18 years old.
Neither team is playing their best football at the moment and United looks quite ordinary when they’re not attacking. Sunderland’s ordinary all of the time though so look for United to win a dull affair by two goals at the most.
Sportsbook William Hill has the odds of a United win listed at 1/4 with a Sunderland victory at 12/1 and a draw at 9/2.