David Moyes will look to get back on the winning side of things when he takes his Manchester United squad to Sunderland on Saturday.
The Red Devils have lost their last two Premier League matches. They recovered a bit during the week when they drew with Shakhtar Donetsk away in the Champions League. Moyes just hasn't built any major momentum since taking over for Sir Alex Ferguson, though. He needs a win here to move United back into the top half and get some of the critics off his back.
Can you imagine the headlines if Sunderland manage to get even a point?
They are just trying to recover from the toxic tenure of Paolo Di Canio. He's already been sacked, but it could take a few more weeks until the Black Cats have fully rid themselves of all the problems their former manager caused.
They're still last in the table, on just one point, and they've got a massive relegation scrap on their hands.
On paper, this should be a one-sided match.
When: Saturday, Oct. 5, at 12:30 p.m. ET; 5:30 p.m. BST
Where: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England
TV: NBC Sports Network (US); Sky Sports 1 (UK)
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra (US); Sky Go (UK)
Odds (courtesy of Bloomberg Sports)
Sunderland Win: 25.0 percent
Manchester United Win: 51.5 percent
Draw: 23.4 percent
Top Storyline: Whose On-Field Issues Will Prove More Problematic?
Before the season, who would have thought this fixture would feature two clubs with their fair share of issues? Sunderland looked like a club capable of a top-half finish, while it was expected Manchester United wouldn't have a massive transition away from Sir Alex Ferguson because they're Manchester United.
Fast forward to now—Di Canio has been sacked, and there's likely a segment of supporters who want to see the same fate befall Moyes.
In terms of the team, United's issues with the central midfield have been laid bare this season. Rio Ferdinand is also starting to really show his age. The loss to Manchester City was a great example of what's plaguing this club at the moment.
With Sunderland, there are problems everywhere on the pitch. They're not scoring goals and also shipping them in on the other side of the pitch. It makes for the perfect storm of awful. Di Canio made a lot of moves during the summer, and the number of new players coming in seems to have disrupted the side.
Until Sunderland get their managerial situation figured out, they're going to continue their terrible run of form. What's worse is that they'll be facing a Manchester United side smarting from that loss to West Brom last week and the draw to Shakhtar.
Anything less than three points for the Red Devils would be a shock.
Whatever the combination Moyes uses in midfield, United should be able to control this match. Sunderland will just be looking to hit back on the counter.
The key for United will be to make their chances count. When they've got Sunderland on the ropes, they have to go for the jugular. Sunderland need just that one break to find the back of the net and heap mountains of pressure on United.
As great as Wayne Rooney has been, it only takes a moment of brilliance, and he'll swing this match firmly in favor of his club.
Manchester United 3, Sunderland 0