Man United now desperate to turn it around against Sunderland
Most pundits have been careful to stop short of using the word ‘crisis’ when discussing Manchester United’s current predicament, but for fans spoiled with success for the last 20 years, it is becoming an ever more appropriate description.
Who would have thought after the opening day of the season when it looked like business as usual under new boss David Moyes as United trounced Swansea 4-1 in South Wales that just past half way through the season the Reds would be 14 points behind the leaders and 66/1 rags with Coral to retain their title?
And even worse, who would have given a second thought to the prospect of United missing out on a Champions League place? – they are now out to 11/5 following their seventh defeat of the campaign.
Predictably, some have gone over the top and recommended a total clear-out of the current playing staff and even calls for the return of Sir Alex Ferguson.
United won’t be taking any of that seriously, but Moyes does need to turn things around sooner rather than later at Old Trafford and that starts this Wednesday with the visit of Sunderland for the return leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final.
Coral go 2/5 United to qualify, 15/8 Sunderland (over the 90 minutes it’s 4/11 United, 8/1 Sunderland, 7/2 the draw) but it’s certainly not going to be straightforward after the Black Cat’s 2-1 victory at the Stadium of Light.
The Cup has proved a welcome distraction for relegation-threatened Sunderland and there will be less pressure on Gus Poyet and his players than on Moyes and his underperforming team.
Not only that, the Wearsiders have had some good results in recent weeks, not only against United, but also against Chelsea in the previous round and at Fulham in the Premier League earlier this month when Adam Johnson scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 thumping.
Johnson was on the mark again at the weekend as Sunderland rallied to draw with Southampton and the ex-England winger makes plenty of appeal at 5/1 to get on the scoresheet again at Old Trafford, 12/1 first or last.
Moyes can’t wait for the sidelined Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney to return, but at least Javier Henrnadez looked sharp again when he came off the bench to score at Stamford Bridge – Coral go 9/2 he nets first or last on Wednesday, 6/5 at any time.
As for the other semi-final tie, well we have seen some strange things in football, but nothing will be stranger than West Ham overcoming a six-goal deficit against Manchester City. The Blues will be at Wembley, but it is far from certain who they will be lining up against.