This weekend sees the Premier League season reach its dramatic climax and for Manchester United, the permutations are clear – win at Sunderland and pray.
Now level on points with ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City, United travel to the Stadium of Light hoping that relegation-threatened QPR, managed by a former player in Mark Hughes, can claim one of the results of the season at the Etihad.
Failing that, United would need to overcome an eight-goal swing in goal difference – a feat that you imagine is even beyond the powers of Sir Alex Ferguson.
With that in mind, United would be expected to go for broke; however, their goalscoring record away to the Mackems hasn’t been too impressive recently.
In fact, United have won by just a single goal in two of their last three trips to Wearside, while their other visit ended goalless – and a similar outcome in favour of United looks likely here.
The Red Devils have averaged two goals in every away match this season, with strike duo Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez netting 17 of those, and the smart money would be on those two scoring again on Sunday.
Although he has struggled in his second Premier League season, scoring only 12 goals compared to last season’s 20, eight of his ten league strikes have come away from Old Trafford.
Rooney is priced at 17/20 with bwin to net any time and 7/2 to score first or last, while Chicharito is slightly better value at even money to net any time and 4/1 to net first or last.
The little Mexican could prove to be the best bet because although he has struggled in his second Premier League season, scoring only 12 goals compared to last season’s 20, eight of his ten league strikes have come away from Old Trafford.
Punters registering with bwin receive a free £25 bet and successfully placing this on Hernandez to break the deadlock would return an impressive £125.
Conversely, Sunderland have collapsed since securing a 3-3 draw away to City at the end of March, collecting only four points from a possible 18 and scoring only three times.
The Martin O’Neill factor appears to have calmed ahead of a summer of rebuilding and one of the most pressing issues will be the future of eight-goal top scorer Nicklas Bendtner.
The Dane will return to Arsenal in the summer after this weekend’s fixture – mainly to negotiate his departure – and is priced at 8/1 to score first or 9/4 to net at any time.
Yet the best value for the team playing in red and white this weekend could be young winger James McClean, who will be buoyed by securing a place in the Irish Euro 2012 squad earlier this week.
The former Derry City man has netted four league goals since bursting on to the scene in mid-season and he is a tempting-looking 13/4 to notch another against United.
Recommended bet: Javier Hernandez to score first @ 4/1
Read a full Sunderland v Man Utd betting preview here.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Premier League odds.