Sunderland will try to reverse their dismal start to the season by taking points from Manchester United, who travel to the Stadium of Light today (12:30 p.m. ET, watch live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
The visitors, of course, aren’t experiencing a dream start themselves. The David Moyes era has begun with just two wins in six league matches, against Swansea and Crystal Palace. Moyes’ United have fallen against rivals Manchester City, high-flying Liverpool and, just last week, at home to West Brom. Sitting 14th in the table and failing to keep ahold of all three points in their Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk, how long will it be before Moyes’ position is truly questioned?
If Sunderland emerge victorious, well, it’s not likely it’ll be long at all. The Black Cats, now under the temporary leadership of Kevin Ball, sit dead last in the Premier League, their only point coming from a 1-1 draw with Southampton in the second round. Ousting Paolo Di Canio changed little, with Sunderland falling 3-1 to Liverpool last time out. Like last week, Jozy Altidore joins last week’s goalscorer Emanuele Giaccherini along with Adam Johnson up front.
As for United, they’ll be glad to see Wayne Rooney is fit after missing out on midweek Champions League action. Combined with the health of Robin van Persie, it should be easy for the visitors — right?
Sunderland Starting XI: Westwood, Celustka, Colback, O’Shea, Roberge, Cattermole, Ki, Gardner, Johnson, Giaccherini, Altidore.
Substitutes: Cabral, Larsson, Wickham, Cuellar, Dong-won, Borini, Mannone
Manchester United Starting XI: De Gea, Rafael, Evra, Vidic, Jones, Carrick, Cleverley, Januzaj, Nani, Rooney, van Persie
Substitutes: Lindegaard, Smalling, Giggs, Valencia, Kagawa, Welbeck, Hernandez.