Manchester United vs Sunderland: Wayne Rooney to Lead from the Centre?

Zaakir HoosenAnalyst INovember 4, 2011

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on October 23, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Match Day: Eleven, Old Trafford - Manchester United vs Sunderland - KO 19:45


Old Trafford will host Sunderland as they try to find their form after a poor start to the 2011/2012 campaign with only two victories thus far.

United on the other hand have managed a decent start currently second on the log five points behind leaders Manchester City.

Initially it seemed this would be just another season for the Champions as they scored with ease, but since visiting Stoke at the Brittania, it seems the carriage has been rolling down-hill.

The worst of the season has to be the 6-1 thumping by City at Old Trafford in front of 76 000 fans, which has been one of the worst defeats Sir Alex and his men have endured of the last 25 years.

But since, they seem to be rebuilding their dignity together with a stronger approach, a 2-0 victory in mid-week over Romanian new boys Otelul Galati should give them a little boost although the second was an own goal.

For Sir Alex an the wider Manchester United public they will hope to see a fit and ready Tom Cleverly on the park, his contribution from the center has no doubt impacted the positive nature in which they began the season.

Nani who seemed off beat on Wednesday evening will need to step up his game and bring more energy, speed and determination otherwise could find himself behind Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia very soon.

An important question is, who should partner Cleverly in the middle? After this weeks European encounter I would scream out for Wayne Rooney to move back from his accustomed striking role.

Rooney was unbelievable in the center as he sprayed the ball across the field on countless occasions with success, a reminder of what quality Paul Scholes brought to the team.

At the back we hope to see a return for the skipper Nemanja Vidic alongside Rio Ferdinand with Evra and Jones on either wing.

Currently the area that requires attention is up-front, my money would be on a strange combination of Hernandez and Welbeck to lead the line.

Both have found the back of the net, they also compliment each other with height and speed which can only be a positive.


Predicting the starting XI:

GK: De Gea

RB: Phil Jones

LB: Patrice Evra

CD: Rio Ferdinand

CD: Nemanja Vidic

RM: Luis Nani

LM: Ji Sung Park

CM: Tom Cleverly

AM: Wayne Rooney

CF: Danny Welbeck

ST: Javier Hernandez


The one area that I could get wrong is possibly at the back, Sir Alex has gone with Johnny Evans in a couple games. Whether that's based on giving the young lad confidence following his derby nightmare I'm not entirely certain, but I would like to see the solid pairing of Rio and Vidic which has brought so much success in the past.

Phil Jones is for me one of the best signing across Europe for this season, his energy combined with excellent technique both in defense and attack makes him lethal.

This line-up is perfect for a game at home, ensuring United move the ball at pace, great speed to counter attack and if necessary this lineup can change into a more defensive unit with Park moving to the center. 

A positive score-line with a healthy goal percentage is required to keep pressure on City but also as a reminder to other contenders that United are still around.