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Saturday, 06 December 2008

Manchester United vs Sunderland: Premier League Prediction Panel 2008/9 - preview and predictions

United are well placed in the league after picking up two or three points on Chelsea and Liverpool last week and the game-in-hand now puts it one defeat away from overhauling either team.  Carlos Tevez's three (or four as some breathless goons had it) goals in midweek suggests that he will be in line for a recall and it could be that Dimitar Berbatov's sore hamstring is rested to allow Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez to start.  Sir Alex Ferguson likes to rest players on days like this - and fringe players like Evans, Welbeck and O'Shea may well get a start, although Scholes and Neville are unlikely to feature. 

Sunderland, it is fair to say, are in disarray.  Roy Keane has packed it in as manager and key absentees like Craig Gordon and Kieran Richardson will denude the already shell shocked team.  It will be odd to see Dwight Yorke temporarily in charge, although it will at least maintain an equilibrium of former Fergie Acolytes in management (at least until the mob arrives with flaming torches and pitchforks outside Ewood Park).  It is impossible to say if Sunderland will be galvanised or gutted by Keane's resignation - but on recent form it may not matter either way at Old Trafford.

United start at ridiculously short odds of 1/6, with the draw at 11/2 and Sunderland massive value at 18/1.

Manchester United vs Sunderland; Kick Off 5:30pm 6 Dec 2008

Prediction Panel
Our panel contains both Squarefootball writers and readers, the writers are marked: (sqf).

Tony Bellew : 2 - 1
Dave Blackburn : 2 - 1
Sue Gardener : 3 - 0
Chris Goodwin : 5 - 0
Paul Grech (sqf) : 5 - 0
Colin Illingworth (sqf) : 4 - 0
Hugh Larkin (sqf) : 2 - 1
Peter Lee : 3 - 0
Don McMahon : 2 - 1
Antony Melvin (sqf) : 3 - 0
Stephen Orford (sqf) : 3 - 1
Tony Ratton : 3 - 0
Peter Rendle : 3 - 0
Dan Taylor : 1 - 0
Bill Urban (sqf) : 4 - 0
Andy Wakeman : 4 - 0
Isaac Williams : 3 - 0
Mark Williams : TBC - TBC

Panel Verdict
With Sunderland in disarray, a home win is the unanimous pick - possibly 3-0.

Home: 17; Draw: 0; Away: 0; TBC: 1;

* Do we have it right, or do you know better? Please don't bother with derisory comments on the predictions after the match - unless you also pulled us up before it!

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