United fail to win away from home for the fourth time

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Sir Alex Ferguson’s side squandered another chance to close the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea after Sunderland frustrated Manchester United on Saturday.

Ferguson made four changes to the side that started against Valencia in midweek with Michael Owen and Federico Macheda handed starts up front.

But the two failed to break down a resolute Sunderland defence and Steve Bruce will be pleased with his side’s showing as they dominated an underwhelming Man Utd side.

The point puts Sunderland in tenth place in the Premier League and after strong showings against Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City in recent weeks, the Mackem fans will be hopeful of challenging for a European spot come the end of the season – they are 33/1 to finish in the top four.

Man Utd stay in second place in the Premier League with Chelsea and Arsenal set to meet on Sunday afternoon, but their abject performances away from home will worry Ferguson.

United are 5/2 to win the Premier League but their away record must improve if they wish to challenge Chelsea, 8/11, and Arsenal, 8/1, come the end of the season.

One positive Ferguson can take from the game is the fact they have consecutive clean sheets for the first time this season and the return of Rio Ferdinand is a huge boost to the side’s defence.

The international break means the Premier League grinds to halt with England facing Montenegro on October 12th.

Wayne Rooney is hopeful of being fit for the England game, and Ferguson knows his star striker needs to regain his form if Man Utd are to mount a serious title challenge.

Chelsea are 8/11 to beat Arsenal today. See the full Barclays Premier League football betting market here.

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