Predicted Manchester United XI to play Sunderland - Kagawa to start down the left

Manchester United fought well to secure a 1-1 draw in the Champions League at Shakhtar Donetsk and focus now switches back to the Premier League.

Manchester United will take a lot from that draw in Ukraine as they head into a Premier League match at Sunderland they will be expecting to win.

United have already been beaten on the road twice this season but they are facing a Sunderland team on the ropes and without a boss since Paolo Di Canio left the club last month.

Here is the side David Moyes may go with for the fixture.

GK – David De Gea

De Gea looks a far better goalkeeper than when he first joined the club. He looks stronger, more commanding and has started to show a bit of leadership through a bad spell of results. His ability to make saves from different positions all over the penalty area makes him a world class shot stopper.

RB – Rafael

Rafael has only just returned to the team and he’ll be better for having match time under his belt. United need to keep him in the side because he’s feisty, doesn’t get pushed around and is the sort of player who can make a difference at either end of the pitch.

CB – Rio Ferdinand

Ferdinand had a slight groin problem which kept him out of the trip to Shakhtar. If he’s fit, he’ll come back into the side and his leadership is crucial. Expect Chris Smalling to continue in the middle of the defence if Ferdinand is not fit enough for selection.

CB – Nemanja Vidic

Vidic will play every single game he’s fit enough to feature in this season. His awareness, aerial ability, strength and decision making are just a few of the reasons United’s back four are better with him than without him. He’ll be determined to ensure United keep a clean sheet in this game.

LB – Patrice Evra

Evra’s experience is just as valuable as Ferdinand’s or Vidic’s. Evra is also a great option for the midfield when they play down the left. He doesn’t have the pace he once possessed but he makes sensible decisions at either end of the pitch.

RM – Antonio Valencia

Valencia’s pace means he will always be a threat when he plays on the right hand side. He’s also good enough to fill in for Rafael when the Brazilian finds himself up the pitch and not able to track back, enabling the defence to retain their basic shape.

CM – Michael Carrick

Carrick is one of the best in the business when it comes to controlling the pace and the tempo of United’s play. He’s been slightly overwhelmed in a couple of recent defeats but this is the sort of match where he can get a bit of form back and start building some momentum.

CM – Marouane Fellaini

Fellaini will do what he does best which is getting about all over the pitch, trying to break up the play regularly. The Belgian put in a god shift against Shakhtar although he’ll be looking to have more of a direct impact on proceedings in this game.

LM – Shinji Kagawa

The system David Moyes used in Ukraine is probably the system he’ll go with for most of the season; a centrally based player on the left hand side who can tuck in to add strength to the middle of the team when needed. Kagawa has done this precise role for United before and he can do it again.

David Moyes explains Wayne Rooney injury - Hopeful of a quick return?

ST – Danny Welbeck

Welbeck will be full of confidence after grabbing United’s goal in Ukraine and he should start the match if Wayne Rooney isn’t fit following a knock to the shin. Welbeck can switch over to the left with Kagawa moving inside if United have to endure spells of pressure.

ST – Robin van Persie

United’s Dutch ace will start through the centre of attack. Van Persie hasn’t produced his best in recent games and he’ll be very determined to have an impact in this match. He’s capable of popping up with an important goal at any point over the 90 minutes.

What do you think? Will Ferdinand be fit? Should Kagawa start?

image: © Marcel Sigg

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch