Manchester United have a great record against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, remaining unbeaten in all Premier League jousts there.
However, United have made a habit of breaking records recently; last week they finally lost an opening league fixture for the first time since 1972.
More importantly in terms of this game, United lost to Sunderland twice last season. With United suffering from many injuries, include new signings Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo (work permit), United are actually weaker than the sides they put out against Sunderland last season.
Last week Ashley Young replaced Luke Shaw as the left wing back and he was at fault for Swansea's winner. If as suspected he continues in that role, Sunderland will get a lot of joy in behind him.
In conjunction, United's three defenders are unlikely to be unchanged which will delight Connor Wickham and Sebastian Larsson. Wickham at his best he is a bully towards defenders and carries a deft touch that can bring others into play.
With none of the United centre backs being particularly domineering, this is an area Fletcher can exploit. Likewise, Larsson is brilliant at set pieces as he expertly showed last week vs West Brom. Again, with United struggling at the back, he can easily cause trouble with a few deliveries.
The most worryingly will be the lack of an out ball United have. With Herrera out, Cleverly will most likely take his place alongside Fletcher. Add in Valencia and Young, neither one of these players are great at bringing the ball out, putting extra emphasis on United's front three to be efficient when they do receive the ball.
Luckily for United, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are among the best in the business in their respective positions and more importantly, will be by far the best players on display between the two teams. That simple fact could make all the difference.
Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United
*Sebastian Larsson assist a goal
*Connor Wickham to score a goal
*Lee Cattermole yellow card
*Ashley Young yellow card
*Darren Fletcher yellow card
*Wayne Rooney to score a goal
*Antonio Valencia assist