Sunderland 0 Man United 1: Three lessons as Red Devils tame Black Cats
Sunderland 0 Man United 1: What lessons did we learn as Sir Alex Ferguson's men secured a slender win at the Stadium of Light?
Unlucky Bramble scores own goal
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men edged to a 1-0 victory at Sunderland to temporarily extend their lead over Manchester City to 18 points. The opening period was quite a scrappy affair as neither side seemed willing to take control of the encounter. However, in the 27th minute, United took the lead through a deflected Robin van Persie effort. After receiving the ball on the left flank, the United striker pulled former Red Devils defender Phil Bardsley left and right before firing a shot at Simon Mignolet’s goal. Unfortunately for Titus Bramble, the ball deflected off the centre-half and into the back of the net. After that, it was always going to be a big challenge for Martin O’ Neill’s men to get anything out of the match.
Sunderland’s woes continue
Sunderland fall one place closer to the relegation zone following their defeat, and the alarm bells will certainly be starting to ring now for the Black Cats. Sunderland have now gone eight games without a win following Saturday’s loss at the Stadium of Light. In the opening half, Danny Graham, Adam Johnson and Stephane Sessegnon were all lacklustre in their efforts, and they seemed to lack any real desire to put United under some intense pressure. Frankly, Sunderland didn’t look like a team who were battling to stay in England’s top flight. In fact, the Tyneside club failed to manufacture a single shot on target in the first half and it seemed as though they would continue on in this vein after the break. However, Sunderland looked a re-invigorated side following O’Neill’s half-time input. They began to pressurise Ferguson’s men more and finally started to approach the match with more gusto. However, their lack of fire power in front of goal without Steven Fletcher and an inability to create many clear-cut chances meant that United’s defence was more than capable of dealing with any threat they threw at them.
Another clean sheet for United
The clean sheet against Sunderland on Saturday means Nemanja Vidic and his defensive colleagues haven’t conceded a goal in six Premier League games. The Red Devils fans will be happy to see that complacency hasn’t begun to creep in to United’s matches, as it did towards the end of last season. Of course, they were rarely threatened by Sunderland, as James McClean and Alfred N’Diaye lacked the necessary cutting edge to expose the visitors’s potential weaknesses. United’s sixth consecutive clean sheet prompted former goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar to tweet his praise of Ferguson’s defence: “Clean sheets wins you titles as we know at #Manutd! Didn’t see the game but 18 points clear and our neighbours next week at home! #titleback”. United’s win puts them, momentarily at least, 18 points clear of Roberto Mancini’s men and have now all but wrapped up another title.