If ever there was a time that Manchester United were desperate for the three points, this weekend has to be it. The Champions are off the back of their worst start to a league season and feature in the bottom half of the table. It's just as well that they get to play the worst side in the league so far.
Sunderland have since fired Paolo Di Canio for guiding them to a horror start so with care-taker management comes the possibility of putting up a show for the new boss and seeking a scalp of a victory from which to build on their rest of the season. It's why in some ways Saturday's teatime clash could be the worst possible fixture for David Moyes.
Regardless of what Sunderland have to offer, Manchester United cannot afford to come away from the Stadium of Light short of all three points. We're all of 8 points off the summit after 6 games and yet even in the bad times, we had a knack of keeping in touch with the table leaders right up to the new year and then hitting form when it really matters. As it stands, we risk losing that touch with the leadership at the table if the gap gets to double-digits.
For all our shortcomings and problems this year, we're still good enough to pick three points against most sides in the league and by that very logic should be challenging for the title. It's why dropping all three against WBA last week could yet turn out to be a potential fatal blow.
We've got an international break coming up after this one, so you'd like that we're not left to moan about a result for 2 weeks like we had to do in the last international break.
Being Manchester United means that we can't languish in the bottom half of the table and use the excuse of ''transition'' etc. It means that we can still make our presence felt right at the top of the league in spite of being a ''crisis''. The tough start is done so its time we start making up for points dropped within the first 6.
That time starts at 5:30 on Saturday!