Although United made the last 16 of the Champions League and are one of three sides remaining in the Capital One Cup at this time, most people would agree that this season has been one disaster after another for the defending Premier League champions. They are 14 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal after 22 matches of the Premier League season and were eliminated from the FA Cup, a competition they have won on 11 occasions, at the first hurdle by Swansea City. They can reach the final of the Capital One Cup still, but they need to turn around a 2-1 deficit after losing the first leg at the Stadium of Light two weeks ago against a side sitting second bottom of the Premier League.
Can the United turn things around? They certainly have the players to do so, but does David Moyes have the dressing room motivation to get the hosts at Old Trafford this evening out of a four losses in five game slump? GR88.com believe so as they favour a comfortable home win this evening, but will United, unlike on so many occasions this season, live up to expectations?
Home Victory – 1.28
Draw – 5.00
Away Victory – 8.80
(Odds provided by GR88.com are current as of today but subject to change.)
While the 2013 portion of this season was poor for United domestically, 2014 has been an utter shambles as they have lost four of the five games played so far and they are clearly struggling right now. They have missed Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie for four and ten matches respectively and their recent form has shown how vital they are to the side despite four goals between Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez in this poor five game run. Both the English and Dutch strikers are in line for a return this evening, but will they be (a) fit enough to play and (b) able to make an impact if they play? David Moyes will be hoping for a return to form from these two players, and if they hit the ground running I feel United deserve to be the favourites to win this match. The big questions are can they do this and will the rest of the team be up to their standards if they do?
Sunderland will hope not on both counts, but even if United do come out firing tonight Gustavo Poyet’s men will still be confident about getting a result that will see them face Manchester City in the final at Wembley on March 2nd. They have won three and drawn one of their last four matches, scoring 13 goals in this time, and have suffered just a single defeat in their last ten matches in all competitions. Things were looking bad for Sunderland for much of the first half of the season, but Poyet has stabilised the ship and is turning it around, with them now sitting just one point behind Fulham in the 17th place in the league and just above the relegation zone. Victory tonight will boost their confidence even further and see them feel they can move out of the relegation zone for the first time since August, but can they progress against all the odds?
The first leg win at the Stadium of Light two weeks ago was the first time that Sunderland had managed to defeated Manchester United since 1997 and they would love to get back to back wins over the Premier League champions tonight. However, their last away win at Old Trafford came in 1968 and it was 1950/51 when they last won back to back matches against the Red Devils. United certainly aren’t the team that they once were, but will they allow the Capital One Cup to slip away from their grasp just like the FA Cup and Premier League this season?
I certainly don’t see United as being as large favourites as the match odds suggest, even less so if Rooney and van Persie do not play tonight, and with Sunderland having found some fine form of late I certainly see them doing some damage to United this evening. Both teams will realistically need to go and get goals this evening if they are to assure their place in the final and I can see both of these sides finding the net at least once at Old Trafford tonight.
Back both Manchester United and Sunderland to score in this Capital One Cup semi final match this evening @ 1.94 with GR88.com.