When Manchester United made the trip to the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day 2007 Sunderland had gone through an up and down experience which would have turned anyone dizzy. Relegated in 1996-97, they were back among the big boys in 1999-2000, down again in 2002-03, back up for just the one season in 2005-06 then finally promoted to stay in season 2007-08. United did not show any Christmas cheer to the Premier League newcomers that day but there’s little doubt that thing will not turn out to be so one sided on Saturday.
Nine months of hard slog and this is what it’s come down to. 18 of the 20 Premier League clubs have fallen by the wayside leaving two heavyweights to slug it out with just one point separating them in their penultimate matches. The title may well be decided on Sunday but it will take a much braver man than me to bet his house on it.