Sunderland takes on Manchester United in the 2014 Capital One Cup Semifinal taking place on Tuesday, January 7. This is the first leg of a two leg semi-final with the second leg taking place on Wednesday, January 22.
Both Sunderland and Manchester United could do with a good cup run and both have done so already. I do believe that both teams will be going for this and looking to get a win.
The Black Cats come in to Tuesday’s League Cup match sitting at the bottom of the Premier League table with just three wins. In the Capital One Cup they have already gotten more wins than that after winning their four home matches against M.K. Dons, Peterborough, Southampton, and Chelsea.
In doing so they have scored 10 goals and allowed just four, including their 2-1 extra time win over Chelsea. They have scored at least two goals in every one of their Capital One Cup matches.
In their last few Premier League matches they have shown signs of progress by following up their League Cup win over Chelsea with a 1-2-1 record. In this time they kept two clean sheets while also scoring three goals.
Not overwhelming, but still managing to get results. They have still struggled at times, but playing in a tournament always has a different feel to it, which means that they can look at this in terms of it being just one match and prepare for it as such.
David Moyes’ season has not been going as well as he, and most United fans, have hoped. At the moment they are sitting in seventh place in the Premier League table having already lost more games than all of last season. Their ten wins is modest, but all of it points to a mid-table team.
The Capital One Cup now looks like Manchester United’s best chance for getting silverware this season and perhaps their only shot at getting into Europe next year. It certainly seems as if this tournament has been given a priority this season and they will most likely put out a strong team to go for the win.
To get to this point they beat Liverpool at home 1-0, Norwich City at home 4-0 and Stoke City away 0-2. The three clean sheets in the Cup is a good sign, but they haven’t been attacking very well in the Premier League recently scoring just one goal in each of their last two matches.
I’m predicting a 2-0 Manchester United win to give them an edge before the second leg being played at Old Trafford. They have played better away lately, but could also struggle to break down a Sunderland side that will certainly set up to frustrate United’s attack while looking to score on the counter or from a set piece.
With teams no longer fearing a trip to Old Trafford I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sunderland playing for a 0-0 draw and putting the pressure on Manchester United in the second leg.
Betting Odds: Sunderland win: 5.18-5.60; Draw: 3.68-3.90; United win: 1.65-1.69
Prediction: Sunderland 0 – 2 Manchester United
FINAL SCORE: Sunderland 2 – 1 Manchester United
Kickoff is set for 19:45 GMT (2:45 pm ET) at the Stadium of Light.
The match is being shown live in the United States on beIN Sport.