Man United 3-1 Sunderland: 5 Talking points
Manchester United comfortably beat Sunderland today. The 3-1 score line flatters the visitors as it could easily have been 6-1 had Rooney and RvP not missed their chances. Rooney, RvP and the increasingly impressive Cleverley got the goals as United ran out comfortable winners. Here are the five talking points:
1 – VIDIC IS BACK!: The whole stadium stood up and roared in approval as Nemanja Vidic came on for Rio Ferdinand in the 67th minute. ‘The Serbinator’, as he is fondly known, got 26 minutes of action and it wasn’t as if it was a stroll for him. Sunderland applied pressure and Vidic was called upon to do his bit on a few occasions. With almost all defenders fit and running, United enter the festive period well stocked in that department; something which will please the gaffer and the fans alike. Vidic’s leadership skills will be welcomed by the team and the number of clean sheets should look northwards now!
2 – WICKHAM AND SESSEGNON’S BRIGHT DISPLAYS: Steven Fletcher is a good striker and his withdrawal due to a back problem was a worrying sign for the Black Cats faithful. But Connor Wickham was very good since he came on. He held the ball well, brought others into play and made a nuisance of himself. It was a good display from him and he should look to build on it. Same can be said about Stephane Sessegnon who has been coming into form gradually for the Mackems. His intelligent cross for Fraser Campbell took De Gea out of the equation and it was the easiest of headers for Campbell to make it 3-1. Sessegnon and Wickham formed a good understanding and tried their best to have a go at the United defence. Were it not for some good defending by the home side, Sunderland could have had more goals. Some signs of encouragement for the visitors in an otherwise ordinary display.
3 – ROARING ATTACK!: Manchester United’s attack has now scored 43 goals in 17 games at 2.53 goals a game. And it could easily have been 6-1 today had Rooney and RvP not missed some pretty decent chances to score. Valencia and Young were brilliant on the flanks. They put in good shifts and delivered some fantastic balls into the box. Young especially is looking very good now and his form has taken an upturn since the past three odd games. With Nani out, it was imperative that Young stepped up to the task and he has done that. Elsewhere, Rooney and RvP were again pretty good. Both got a goal each but could have had hat-tricks apiece! Their blossoming partnership is a good sign for United and an ominous one for opposition defences. These two are growing in confidence, reading each other’s movement and playing very easily. There is still scope for improvement but their quality shines through in every match. With both at top fitness and form, fans will continue to see goals galore!
4 - SOLID DEFENDING: Manchester United’s defending has improved quite a bit since the Reading debacle. They were solid against Man City and things were pretty good today as well. Sunderland are no mugs in attack, and overall United’s defenders did well against them. De Gea looked good again today. I’ve always been a massive fan of his shot-stopping skills which are simply amazing but today his punching, ball distribution and overall display were pretty solid. He should get an extended run in the side now. He deserves it.
5 - CLEVERLEY’S GOOD FORM: Tom Cleverley clearly has something which makes Sir Alex play him so much. His golazo at St. James’ Park (unintentional maybe, but he’ll take that!) and now the beautiful curler against Sunderland hint at a player who is adding goals to his gameplay. He quickens the pace of the game and moves the ball quickly on the ground. Has a lot to learn and needs to work on his shooting (he’s missed some very easy goals this season) but his showings today and last weekend were impressive and if he can nail down the starting spot, it will be a massive relief for everyone connected with the club. He could be a top player for both club and country and his displays will be welcome by the England boss Roy Hodgson.
In conclusion, it was a good display by the home side and most importantly, the six point gap stays. That is what the club will look at eventually.