Sir Alex takes on old-boy Steve Bruce as United aim to maintain top spot at Old Trafford...
Ins and outs
Fit-again Michael Owen could be in line for a comeback having not played since the reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light. Other than that United have no new injury worries – the only absentees are Paul Scholes, John O'Shea, Antonio Valencia and Owen Hargreaves. Anton Ferdinand should return from a back injury to bolster the Black Cats but fellow defenders Titus Bramble and Michael Turner will not be fit as both are suffering with knee injuries. Welbeck, one of Sunderland’s star performers this year, will also miss the game as he ineligible to play due to the terms of his loan agreement with United.
Striker Darren Bent already has nine goals to his name so far this season and will be looking to add to that tally at Old Trafford and make it a happy Christmas for Sunderland. Bent netted in this fixture last season when he opened the scoring in a 2-2 draw.