Gary Rowell column: Fear the worst for Sunderland’s trip to Manchester United

Anthony Martial has scored three Premier League goals
Anthony Martial has scored three Premier League goals
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It doesn’t get any easier for Sunderland when they resume Premier League action with a trip to Manchester United on Saturday.

There’s been no shortage of drama in recent trips to Old Trafford. Who could forget the semi-final penalty shoot-out, which is one of my favourite Sunderland memories ever, or the Seb Larsson winner which was so crucial in the Great Escape?

As we go there as the Premier League’s bottom team, still searching for that first win, we’ll be massive underdogs

Last season, Wes Brown was controversially sent-off when it should have been John O’Shea and Sunderland were the visitors when Sir Alex Ferguson had one of the stands named in his honour.

On paper, this is easily Sunderland’s toughest game of the season so far, and as we go there as the Premier League’s bottom team, still searching for that first win, we’ll be massive underdogs.

But Sunderland often perform better against the top teams when expectations are low and the pressure is off.

After a mixed start to the season, United have improved since the international break with back-to-back wins against Liverpool and Southampton, which have brought six goals and moved them to second in the table.

Three of those goals have been scored by new signing Anthony Martial, who arrived at Old Trafford just before the deadline with a tag of being massively over-priced. But he couldn’t have made a better start to his United career and looks a huge talent.

For Sunderland to have any chance, they need everybody playing at their maximum and fully-fit, but if we get a repeat of the Bournemouth game, especially the first 45 minutes, then you only fear the worst.