This evenings late kick off sees a wounded Manchester United travel to a Sunderland side that has salt in their wounds - just to put into context talk of a crisis at United. However, whilst I do not think United have a crisis on their hands, they do have several issues: 1) their decrepit defence is leaking goals at an alarming rate; 2) they have no creativity.
One of the reasons for United conceding so many is due to the fact they cannot tackle. They only average 16 tackles which is quite poor compared to their Premier League counterparts. They are also terrible at creating clear chances for themselves, indeed they have only managed to average 5 shots on target this season. Although a lot of this can be put down to the level of opposition they have played, it is still a poor return.
One player that is a microcosm for all of this is Tom Cleverly. As slide two shows, he cannot create, he cannot dribble, regularly caught out of position and as slide three shows, he is not great defensively - perhaps due to the fact he is always out of position.
With Carrick doing the job of two, the onus is on one of: Nani (unlikely), Kagawa (I am sure Moyes hates him), Van Persie and Rooney to grab the goals and alleviate the pressure the United back four are constantly under. Given Sunderland's own difficulty with keeping the ball and creating chances for themselves, I can see United's back four being under little pressure. As long as United can avoid letting in a goal I can see them sneaking this, although it will not be pretty.
Sunderland 0-1 Manchester United