AFTER a satisfactory outcome to the Carlisle game, it was a major surprise to discover that United had been knocked out of the FA Cup by Swansea.
Things are not what they were at the Theatre of Dreams and they are definitely nowhere near their normal levels of performances and results.
Strangely, what would have been their fourth priority in terms of competitions this season is suddenly now their best bet for winning a trophy. That could work against us but it might also increase the pressure on Moyes and his players.
There is also the prospect of an all-Manchester Wembley occasion for us to contend with, so it will be very difficult for us over two legs.
In terms of the season as a whole, the forthcoming league games assume a greater significance but I sincerely hope we have a real go at winning this as it will give a huge lift to everything. I thought Johnson did enough against Carlisle to merit another start but if Ki has to continue at the back, then Cattermole must surely come in for Gardner, who was ineffective (as has been his norm recently).
Hopefully O’Shea might make it, enabling Ki to move back into central midfield and I would opt for Fletcher ahead of Altidore up front.
While possession-based football is having an impact, we will need to inject more pace into the play and move the ball around much more quickly if we are goung to cause them major problems.
Prediction: Sunderland 1 Man Utd 2