Jose Mourinho and Manchester United will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to 21 games in the Premier League when they face off against the bottom-placed team, Sunderland, at the Stadium of Light. Despite being on an impressive run in the Premier League, Manchester United have struggled to break into the top four because of the number of games they are drawing.
A win against Sunderland, who look destined to be relegated this season, will take them to fifth place in the Premier League. But they will still remain behind Manchester City, which are placed fourth. Mourinho and his men go into this game on the back of two draws and really need to improve their performance in front of goal.
Manchester United have scored the least number of goals in the Premier League as compared to their top six rivals and more dropped points against Sunderland will dent their chances of finishing in the top four. Manchester United will continue to be without Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young but Antonio Valencia is expected to return.
Juan Mata, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling will also be on the sideline for this match as they are long-term absentees. During his press conference Mourinho spoke about his team's unbeaten run, drawing matches and sympathy for Sunderland manager David Moyes.
"It's good to know that we have a fantastic run of 20 unbeaten matches in the Premier League. In terms of looking to the future, I prefer to look at 10 matches with 10 draws, you have something that is not easy to have. You are quite solid mentally, difficult to beat, fighting against difficult circumstances," BBC quoted Mourinho as saying.
While the odds are heavily stacked against Sunderland as they stay rooted at the bottom of the Premier League table, there is hope for them in this match. Manchester United haven't won any of their last three games at the Stadium of Light in all competitions, drawing one and losing two. And given Manchester United's ability to switch off in matches, Sunderland could use that to their advantage and maybe get all three points or at least a draw.
Sunderland will be boosted by the return of Victor Anichebe who made his return as a substitute against Leicester in midweek. Lee Cattermole is also expected to start but John O'Shea Jan Kirchhoff, Paddy McNair and Duncan Watmore remain sidelined for various reasons.
Sunderland manager Moyes said that his players have been in this situation before and now it's in their own hands to avoid relegation. They have a set of tough fixtures coming up and Moyes is targeting a win in at least one of them.
"The players have been here before and we will keep going; it's still within our hands to stay up and we'll make sure that we do that. I think the boys have given a good go at it, so there's no faulting them and I think they've done everything they can. What I hadn't put down was a win against a Manchester United - or an Arsenal or Chelsea - in our remaining fixtures, so we now have to win at least one of those games," Moyes said.
Where to watch
The Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester United is set to start at 1:30pm local time, 6:00pm IST and 8:30am EST.
TV and live streaming information
India: TV: Star Sports select HD 1. Live Streaming: Hotstar
UK: TV: Sky Sports 1/HD. Live streaming: Sky Go
USA: TV: NBCSN, Telemundo. Live Streaming: NBC Sports Live
Africa: TV: Super Sport 3. Live streaming: Super Sport live
Middle East: TV: Bein Sports Arabia. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect