London: The English Premier League is in uncharted territory. Never before has Manchester United started a season so badly. Having swept to its 13th title in the league's 21 years barely five months ago, United is languishing in 12th place six games into the new campaign. The next game on Saturday, though, sees new manager David Moyes take United to Sunderland, which is stuck to the bottom of the standings on just one point. Here are five things to know about this weekend's matches:
BACKING FOR MOYES: United is enduring its worst start since 1989, three years before the start of the Premier League and three years into Alex Ferguson's reign.
Having hand-picked David Moyes to succeed him after more than 26 years as United manager, Ferguson is hardly going to criticize his fellow Scot. By offering public backing though in his new role as a United director, Ferguson has sought to dispel any suggestions of a crisis at Old Trafford.
"Absolutely, 100 percent (United is backing Moyes) and all the club will be," Ferguson told U.S. broadcaster PBS in his first full post-retirement interview. "That's the great thing about the club, they will support the manager and he will be fine, he will be good."
Good for United is at least finishing in the top three to guarantee Champions League qualification, according to the club's financial forecasts. But three of the opening six league matches have been lost, with a home collapse to West Bromwich Albion last weekend. With Wayne Rooney an injury doubt, United is facing a Sunderland side on Saturday that has lost five out of six league matches and is still in the temporary command of Kevin Ball after Paolo Di Canio's firing.