With consecutive Premier League wins over Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich, Jose Mourinho’s men seemed to have come of the horrific 8-match spell in October-November in which they had only a solitary win to show. Ibrahimovic is back to his goal-scoring ways taking his tally to double figures with a brace against West Brom at the Hawthornes on Sunday last. The giant Swedish striker has been assisted upfront with the fluidity of the likes of Mata, Lingard and Rooney in his stellar run of goal-getting. Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera have shown the kind of mid-field synchronization missing in earlier matches. The Red Devils, now on an unbeaten run of 10 matches in all forms of competition take on Sunderland in their 18th Premier League clash at the Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
For Sunderland it’s been a vast improvement over their run of the initial ten matches where they went without a win. Their four wins of the 2016-17 season have come from their last seven games. Despite that, the Black Cats find themselves in relegation zone at the 18th spot with 14 points. David Moyes will bank on his attack comprising of Victor Anichebe, Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe to get him goals, something that’s been eluding the Black Cats in away games. The Black Cats have managed to score only four goals on the road so far from their total tally of 15 goals. Moyes will again look to his top scorer, Jermain Defoe, who has a disproportionate number of 8 goals to his credit, to deliver at Old Trafford.
For United, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly are ruled out of Monday’s clash with knee and ankle injuries. For Sunderland, the list of injuries are even longer, the notable one being midfielder Steven Pienaar out with a calf injury. Jack Rodwell, recovering from a hamstring could return to resume his midfield duties for the Black Cats.
The past five encounters between these two surprisingly includes two wins for Sunderland, but considering United’s form in their recent games odds are very much in favour of Jose Mourinho’s men to prevail in the December 26 clash.
The last four encounters for the Red Devils have all been wins and they expect to maintain this run at the Old Trafford on Monday. The Red Devils’ only loss in their last 11 matches at home was to Manchester City in early September.
United are currently at the 6th spot on the Premier League Table with 30 points, four behind 4th placed Arsenal’s 34 and three behind 5th placed Tottenham. A win against Sunderland may not be enough and will not change their current ranking, which would be the case even if they were to draw or lose. Southampton, placed next to United at 7th are six points away with 24.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score anytime, Best Odds 1.75 @ William Hill
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