Steve Bruce has played his part as one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s biggest cheerleaders with characteristic aplomb this week as the media celebrates the United stalwart’s 25 years in charge at Old Trafford, and it is unlikely the Sunderland boss will spoil his own former manager’s anniversary celebrations tomorrow.
You have to go back to 1997 for the last time Sunderland beat Manchester United in the league, although it was May 1968 when the Black Cats last defeated the Red Devils on their own patch.
But history is just one of a number of factors weighing against Steve Bruce’s side ahead of Sunderland’s showdown with the reigning champions at Old Trafford tomorrow, meaning the home side are heavy favourites to pick up all three points at 1/4.
United have bounced back from their derby debacle to record three straight wins, while Sunderland have only two victories from their last six games as consistency continues to elude them.
A home game against Aston Villa last week looked to be a good chance for Sunderland to build on the momentum gained from their 2-0 win over Bolton on 22nd October, but this chance was squandered when the Black Cats conceded after 20 minutes and could only manage a 2-2 draw.
The Villa match may offer a taste of what is to come at Old Trafford, with Sunderland showing a worrying susceptibility to letting in early goals.
The Black Cats have let in seven of the 12 Premier League goals they have conceded this season in the first 30 minutes of matches.
With United scoring nine of their 27 goals in the opening third of games, the home team should be backed at 13/50 to open the scoring and to be winning at half time and full time at 7/10.
As for the most likely source of this goal, it could be worth looking past Wayne Rooney given the England striker has not found the back of the net against the Black Cats in any of the last six meetings between the two teams.
Instead, look to Javier Hernandez at odds of 7/2, not least because the Mexican, who is starting to come into form, has scored United’s first goal in two of their last three league matches.
A successful £25 free bet on Hernandez to score first would return £112.50, with the free bet available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
Meanwhile, those inclined to back Sunderland for the win can do so at odds of 10/1 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, with the draw priced at 9/2.
It could be worth backing Sunderland to score at 22/25 at the very least given the Black Cats have found the back of the net in each of their last seven games.
And with Sunderland also having a commendable defensive record – they have conceded the same number as United – a 2-1 final score could be the most likely outcome at odds of 31/4.
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