We're 25 matches into the Premier League season. After this weekend, all 20 teams in the league will have played 26 matches. That means that everyone will have 12 more games to go, plenty of chances to pick up crucial points in their respective races for the top for or against relegation. That sounds like a lot of time, and there's no reason to start panicking yet if your team is in the relegation zone.
As Manchester United come into town on Saturday, Sunderland fans should be panicking.
Yes, they're only four points behind Newcastle for the last "safe" spot in the league. But time is running out, and with Newcastle and Swansea and Bournemouth all starting to seem like they're starting to find decent form above Sunderland, they have to start winning games, and winning them now. They can afford to drop very, very few points, but their own form is far from impressive at the moment. Every game they lose, every lead they throw away, will twist the knife deeper, and the threat of relegation will grow ever graver.
They cannot afford to lose this match, but comparing the two teams there's very, very little reason to think that Manchester United will lose. That's extraordinarily bad news for Sunderland and their fans right now. It's time to hit panic stations and figure out some way, any way, to start racking up points.
Key player -- Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Rooney has traditionally beaten up on Sunderland a bit, scoring seven goals in 16 career games against the Black Cats. While that's far from his post impressive total -- that would be 15 goals against Aston Villa -- it's still enough to make Sunderland fans sweat profusely while they try to do anything but imagine him scoring a goal that would help torpedo their chances of getting something out of this match.
Key matchup -- DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland) vs. Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce just said in the media on Friday that he doesn't think that Yedlin has what it takes to deal with a relegation race. Well, he might be about to find out, because Billy Jones has a hip injury and while he's not a lock to be out, he doesn't have the speed or fluidity of movement right now to deal with a wide forward like Martial. Yedlin's defensive chops are certainly up for a lot of debate, but he's going to have to be at his best if he's going to get the best of Martial and take away the man who is arguable Manchester's most potent weapon.
Sunderland injuries and suspensions
Out: Younes Kaboul, Jermain Lens, Adam Matthews, Sebastian Larsson, Duncan Watmore In doubt: Jermain Defoe, Fabio Borini, Billy Jones
Manchester United injuries and suspensions
Out: Adnan Januzaj, Guillermo Varela, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw
Match Date/Time: Saturday, 7:45 a.m. ET, 12: 45 p.m. local
Venue: Stadium of light, Sunderland, England
TV: NBCSN (U.S. - English), NBC Universo (U.S. - Spanish), TSN 1, 3, 4 (Canada), BT Sport 1 (U.K.)
Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S.), BT Sport Live Streaming (U.K.)