How Manchester United Will Line Up Against Sunderland

Scott Rom@@R_o_MFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2014

How Manchester United Will Line Up Against Sunderland

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    Ryan Giggs' first game in charge of Manchester United saw the current champions' biggest victory of the season, as they beat Norwich 4-0 at Old Trafford.

    Whilst it might not appear to be a great feat to win against a team fighting a relegation battle, it's important to remember that United lost to West Brom at home earlier this season.

    Giggs went back to the United way, playing 4-4-2. As soon as the game kicked off, the Stretford End started chanting, "attack, attack, attack!"

    It is likely we are to see a similar approach this weekend for Giggs' starting line-up, with the Red Devils taking on yet another side trying to avoid relegation. 

Player of the Year in Goal

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    David de Gea is the only real choice, despite Anders Lindegaard's attempts to butter up the newly appointed manager.

    Former United forward Andy Cole sung the praises of De Gea in United Review this week (via the club's official website), claiming he would be voting for the goalkeeper for the club's player of the year:

    I think he has been absolutely phenomenal. He has kept United in more than enough games this season and last season. His saves this season against Olympiacos and Sunderland really stand out but, in truth, he's doing it almost every week. He gets my vote.

Experience in the Centre of Defence

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    Earlier in the season, when United were playing twice a week on a regular basis, it would have been unthinkable for both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic to start two consecutive games.

    With Vidic certainly leaving and Ferdinand possibly on his way out, Giggs might want to make the most of their presence whilst he still can.

    There is the option of starting younger players in the centre, like Jonny Evans or Phil Jones, but Giggs seemed keen to trust the more experienced defenders for last weekend's game. 

Smalling to Get a Go

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    Phil Jones had his turn at right-back last week and provided an excellent cross for Juan Mata to connect with and score.

    Chris Smalling has been used at right-back more frequently than Jones, though, and could be given another opportunity in Rafael da Silva's absence.

    Patrice Evra should be starting at left-back again, too, which should add even more experience to the back line. 

Fletch in for Cleverley

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    Tom Cleverley was given a rare start at the weekend, but he failed to impress. Darren Fletcher, who has probably been United's best performing midfielder this season (which doesn't say an awful lot!), should enter in his place.

    Michael Carrick seems to be first choice for any United manager, regardless of form. Only Wayne Rooney has started more games than Carrick this season, so it stands to reason he will start again against Sunderland. 

Stick with the Wingers

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    Shinji Kagawa and Antonio Valencia did a good job against Norwich. There's no reason why they shouldn't be given another opportunity against Sunderland.

    Adnan Januzaj is a possibility instead of Kagawa, though, with the latter then an option from the bench for Juan Mata later on. 

Welbeck Up Front Supported by Mata

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    Wayne Rooney has been ruled out with a "tight groin" ahead of this fixture, meaning that Juan Mata is likely to join the starting line-up and play behind Danny Welbeck.

    Javier Hernandez is another option to play up front, particularly considering Welbeck had a game last weekend, but Giggs might be tempted to stick with the local lad.

    Robin van Persie has been in training. However, it is unlikely he will be thrown in the starting line-up straight away.