Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Sunderland

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  • Sunderland won last meeting (2-1 in February 2016)
  • Ibrahimovic has 10 goals in last nine matches in all comps
  • United is unbeaten in previous eight PL matches
  • Moyes makes Old Trafford return

As the holiday season approaches, Manchester United will host Sunderland from Old Trafford on Boxing Day at 10 a.m. ET (Watch on NBCSN, or on NBCSports.com).

The Red Devils enter Monday’s match 13 points adrift from league leaders Chelsea, however, the club’s form has improved under Jose Mourinho as of late. With eight consecutive matches without defeat, United must now turn to gaining three points on a consistent basis if they are to contend for the title.

For United, Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to be the saving grace for the squad after joining during the offseason. The Swede’s 11 goals lead the club to this point while Ibrahimovic serves as the team’s biggest goalscoring threat. While the Red Devils have played defensively sound for the most part, the club has had difficulty closing out matches because of its lack of scoring.

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Meanwhile, David Moyes will make his Old Trafford return but will be manning the opposite side of the end line for the Black Cats. Sunderland have won two of its last four, including victories over Leicester and Watford, but Moyes’ side still sits in the relegation zone as the season nears its halfway point.

Outside of Jermain Defoe, Sunderland really lacks an attacking threat, which has led to the club scoring just 15 goals in 17 matches this season.

What they’re saying

Mourinho on the ups and downs of being a manager: “Expectations are high, results are up and down, and we are in a position where we don’t want to be. I have passion for my work, passion for my new work. I’m feeling really happy here.”

Moyes on his Old Trafford return“I’m looking forward to it, going back there. It’s a great place to be a manager and a great privilege to have managed that football club.” 

Prediction

The Red Devils have found their stride recently with three straight wins and eight matches in all unbeaten, and even though some of them haven’t been overly convincing it looks like Mourinho’s men may be on the uptrend as they look to claw their way back into the title race. Sunderland has scored just three times in its last five matches, which simply won’t do against a team of United’s caliber. Manchester United 2-0 Sunderland