Bonus Ball?

Some would have it that Saturday's script is already written: Manchester United don't lose three league games on the trot; they never lose against Sunderland (22 games unbeaten and counting); and Wayne Rooney will be their returning hero.

Last Updated: 03/10/13 at 11:46 Post Comment

Ball: can he lead Black Cats to another result against the champions?

Ball: can he lead Black Cats to another result against the champions?

What about their opposition?

Sunderland are the only team in the Premier League without a win; their suffering fans have seen them win just twice at home in 2013; they've conceded three goals in each of their last four games; and still they're without a permanent manager.

But who would have thought West Brom would emerge victorious from Old Trafford last weekend?

Who would have thought that when United equalised they wouldn't storm towards triumph as they always used to do under Sir Alex Ferguson?

Who would have thought that seven years ago a Sunderland team vastly inferior to this one and already relegated - with a little known caretaker Kevin Ball in charge - would go to Old Trafford to face a Manchester United side chasing the title and keep a clean sheet?

Certainly not this spectator viewing from the stands.

Seven years on, Sunderland are propping up the Premier League once again but one of the most bizarre stats of the season so far tells us they've had as many attempts on goal as the leaders Arsenal.

So what if one of those speculative Adam Johnson efforts nestled in the top corner? Or a Seb Larsson free kick crashed in off the bar? Or if Jozy Altidore started to prove he really can hack it in the Premier League?

And what if Kieran Westwood had the game of his life? John O'Shea, inspired against his former club, snuffed out the threat of Rooney and Robin Van Persie?

And what if United had another off day?

Stranger things have happened... haven't they?

David Jones hosts coverage of the Saturday Night Football clash between Sunderland and Manchester United from 5pm, Saturday, Sky Sports 1

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till reckon Chelsea will go for Khedira as back up for Matic. I think it will turn out to be quite a Mourihno-y window: We'll see the squad players and youth in action pre-season, say things like well, we need not buy anybody and then the club will bid £60m for Pogba and send everybody on loan.

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would love to be a fly on the wall at the meeting between Milner and Rodgers. I don't know if flies can count, but if they can then I would be counting the number of times Rodgers used the word outstanding in his attempts to get Milner to sign.

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ell, it wouldn't be a summer without Arsenal fans fretting over losing a key player, and United throwing their weight around and muscling in on transfer deals which are (apparently) near to completion. If we can't be entertained by the football on the pitch, let's enjoy the silly off-pitch soap opera of the transfer season. Hurrah!

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