Manchester United – Sunderland Betting Preview: Early breakthrough key to United victory

Manchester United won last weekend’s derby fixture at the Etihad Stadium in dramatic fashion and Sir Alex Ferguson will be hoping that his side can collect another three points this weekend when the Red Devils welcome struggling Sunderland to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

Since suffering defeat at the hands of Norwich City last month, United have responded in style by winning four league matches in succession and the Premier League leaders can be backed at just 1/5 (1.20) with Bet365 to make it five in a row with victory over Martin O’Neill’s men.

The Black Cats enjoyed just their second victory in 12 matches when they defeated Reading at Stadium of Light on Tuesday night and Martin O’Neill’s men are available at Bet365’s massive 14/1 (15.0) quote to follow up with victory at Old Trafford.

The same firm go 11/2 (6.50) that the match ends in a draw.

Sunderland were the beneficiaries of an early goal on Tuesday night as James McClean’s third minute goal set the Black Cats on the path to victory over Reading. But O’Neill’s side have conceded early against both Chelsea and Norwich City in recent matches while early goals have also been a feature of Manchester United’s three most recent Premier League matches.

With that in mind, the 5/6 (1.83) quote from Bet365 for a goal to be scored before the 23rd minute of Saturday’s match represents outstanding value and should be snapped up.

Netherlands international Robin van Persie was Manchester United’s hero last Sunday with a late, late winner against Manchester City but the former Arsenal man may not need to wait as long to get his name on the scoresheet this weekend.

Van Persie is excellent value at 11/4 (3.75) with Bet365 to break the deadlock this weekend and the striker, who has scored 14 goals for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men since joining the Red Devils in the summer, should be backed to open the scoring here.

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter

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