Three key areas where Sunderland have undermined Manchester United

We look ahead to Sunderland’s trip to Manchester United.

Manchester United host Sunderland this weekend in an important encounter between two teams with very different Premier League objectives this season.

Many observers feel the Red Devils are currently in an intriguing battle between as many as four clubs vying for the final two Champions League qualification spots in the top four.

Gus Poyet’s men, on the other hand, are in a battle themselves, but at the wrong end of the table as they look to pick up as many points as possible to starve off the threat of relegation.

While the table points to the hosts having a clear advantage over the Black Cats heading into the encounter at Old Trafford, there are three key areas where the visitors have outperformed United.

  GoalsShots On Target %Chances CreatedTackles Won %InterceptionsBall RecoveriesPass Success %Forward Passes of Total Passes %Appearances
Man Utd 44 36% 255 76% 476 1,519 84.4% 29.6% 26
Sunderland 22 30.4% 204 71.3% 359 1,601 87.4% 38.9% 26

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Louis van Gaal’s men are rightfully the more creative side but statistics would suggest that Poyet’s side are more comfortable and penetrating in possession.

The Old Trafford outfit have scored double the amount of goals as their opponents this season and created far more opportunities, while 36% of their overall shots have been on target.

Moreover, they have been more efficient when tackling their opponents and have performed better at reading passes – illustrated by their season figure of 476 interceptions to date.

However, one area which has let United down this season is their passing and in contrast the Mackems, under Uruguayan boss Poyet, have excelled in this area.

While United have made more passes in total, the visitors have recorded on average an 87.4% completion rate and arguably more importantly they appear more positive – 38.9% of their total passes going forward.

Aside from their evident bravery with the ball, they also can’t be questioned when it comes to work rate and their impressive season tally of 1,601 ball recoveries also trumps the hosts.

These stats, however, are likely to count for very little come 3pm on Saturday and Van Gaal’s side – despite their evident deficiencies – are rightfully big favourites to claim the three points.

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