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Sunderland v Man United: Strikers’ prices boosted for cup semi

| 06.01.2014

Manchester United look to stabilise their faltering season with a Capital One Cup semi-final win against Sunderland and striker Danny Welbeck has been earmarked as the man to grab the goals.

The England forward struggled for goals early this season, grabbing just one in a 10-game spell, but has hit a purple patch in the absence of the injured Robin van Persie.

Welbeck has now scored five goals in his last seven matches, taking his tally for the season to 11, and has opened the scoring on four separate occasions.

This means the enhanced price of 11/2 – up from 9/2 – on him opening the scoring at the Stadium of Light looks too good to turn down.

Further encouragement comes from the fact that United are unbeaten in 23 meetings with the Black Cats, winning the last six in a row and keeping a clean sheet in six of the last eight.

However, if the hosts are to pile further misery on David Moyes’ men then striker Steven Fletcher looks the most likely goal threat.

Like Welbeck the Sunderland man endured something of a drought earlier this term, failing to find the net in 11 consecutive outings, but brought that run to an end in the recent 2-2 draw with Cardiff.

Fletcher now has 102 career goals and while he is yet to break his League Cup duck with Sunderland he boasts a solid record in the competition, having scored three in two for Burnley and one in two for Wolves.

He has opened the scoring just once this term, but the 26-year-old will be very aware that United’s confidence is lower than at any point in recent memory.

Fletcher started out as a 7/1 shot to open the scoring but thanks to Ladbrokes’ price boost can now be backed at 9/1 and with the Black Cats outscoring the visitors in the opening 15 minutes of games this year the Sunderland man looks a good bet.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.