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Black Cats seek Cup inspiration

Sunderland
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Rooney doubles inspires Manchester United to victory over Sunderland

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno recaps Manchester United's sloppy victory against Sunderland highlighted by Wayne Rooney's brace.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Wayne Rooney (66') Manchester United 1-0 Sunderland
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Wayne Rooney (84') Manchester United 2-0 Sunderland

MANCHESTER, England -- Three thoughts on Manchester United's 2-0 win vs. Sunderland in the Premier League.

1. United labour to another win

It was yet another day when all would seem perfect at Manchester United if you looked just at the result and avoided the actual performance. There remains this deep disconnect between the two, as well as the feeling that it has to snap at some point.

At the same time, it is to their huge credit that they keep persevering, keep going and keep staying in those Champions...

Sunderland hope to repeat last season's success vs. Man United

Sunderland will need their veteran Jermain Defoe to get back to scoring goals if they want another upset vs. Manchester United. The striker hasn't scored in Sunderland's past two matches.

A glimpse into the mind of Sunderland boss Gus Poyet requires no extraordinary powers as he leads his team across the Pennines mountains to face Manchester United on Saturday.

He wants the same result as last season, a 1-0 win that took Sunderland's great escape to the brink of accomplishment. The victory also ended the brief honeymoon spell of Ryan Giggs, United's interim manager after the dismissal of David Moyes.

When Sebastian Larsson's 30th-minute strike proved the winner, it was the culmination...

Sunderland show spirit but left with predicable result

Lee Cattermole and Sunderland had to settle for their 13th draw of the season in Saturday's 0-0 final versus West Brom.
Lee Cattermole and Sunderland had to settle for their 13th draw of the season in Saturday's 0-0 final versus West Brom.

In his warm and entirely reasonable open letter to Sunderland supporters this week, manager Gus Poyet accepted the lion's share of responsibility for poor team results.

But whatever his own shortcomings, he can surely point an accusing finger at his players when looking back on another dreary 0-0 draw for his side at home against West Brom.

As I argued here a few days ago, Sunderland have entered that depressingly familiar phase of most seasons when, with relegation looming, they must regard...

Sunderland entering customary 'cup final' phase of season

Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet looks ahead to his side's FA Cup fifth-round match at Bradford City.

The time of year has arrived when, almost as a matter of course, Sunderland start to approach each game as if it were a cup final.

If that sounds like an enticing way of contemplating workaday league duties, think again. Saturday's home game against West Bromwich Albion receives such status for no better reason than that Gus Poyet's team has managed to dig itself into another mess. So points are vital.

It is pretty much the same story whenever Sunderland are in the Premier League. Finishing...

 By Nick Miller

Gus Poyet's excuses wearing thin as Sunderland reach a new low

Gus Poyet's future at Sunderland has come under scrutiny in recent weeks.

When some Premier League managers say something outrageous it's often a calculated ruse. They know what they say can distract attention from their team's poor performance.

However, there are some who speak when they shouldn't, whose "outrageous" comments are ill-advised from someone who should know better. Like Sunderland's manager Gus Poyet.

After Sunderland were knocked out of the FA Cup by Bradford on Sunday, it seemed inevitable that Poyet would blame someone other than himself for the defeat....

Sunderland fans losing faith with Poyet after FA Cup horror show

Sunderland were seen off by Bradford in the FA Cup to continue a difficult season for Gus Poyet's men.

Sunday's 2-0 defeat to Bradford in the FA Cup meant a feeble exit from the competition for Sunderland -- and it leaves manager Gus Poyet with two weighty tasks.

First, he has to win back the hearts of a big, loyal support that is usually willing to forgive and forget awful performances but knows when enough is enough. Then, he has to keep his side in the Premier League.

Bradford CityBradford City
SunderlandSunderland
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On the basis of the sloppy, passionless defeat by Bradford City, both challenges may be beyond him. No Sunderland fan should seek...