Sunderland 0 United 1
Did we really expect Liverpool to do US any favours?
Off course not!
Despite a solid 1-0 win at Sunderland, we have to accept that we`re now rank under-dogs for the premier League title with our rivals, from London, Chelsea a massive 1-14 ON to beat Wigan Athletic, next Sunday, and deny us the opportunity to win it for a record-breaking 4th time and also establish a record of 19 wins, leaping ahead of Liverpool by one.
In fact the events of Anfield, with Gerrard gifting Chelsea the lead, soured an afternoon that was supposed to be a massive chance for us to gain the advantage in the title race.
Sunderland got the action underway, at the Stadium of Light, in front of a full house. Early on Rooney forced Gordon into a fine save and from the rebound the ex-United player, Bardsley, did well to block Gigg`s shot.
Our hosts responded to the early United flurry well with another ex-United player, Richardson, delivering a ball into the area that Vidic did well to intercept. Sunderland were moving the ball around well and refusing United any time on the ball, Malbranque, looking lively, saw his cross deflected behind for a corner by Evans and from the resulting kick Bent headed wide from a good position.
Sunderland continued to press and Can headed a Malbranque free kick just wide before our hosts suffered an early blow when Mensah picked up an injury and had to be taken off, to be replaced by Kilgallon.
United, attacked down the flank and Evra`s fine run saw the ball played to Giggs who, in turn, saw his excellent shot clip the frame of the goal with Gordon beaten. Malbranque, still causing problems, forced Van der Sar into an acrobatic save, tipping over his long range effort, before United, on 28 minutes, got the breakthrough they wanted.
A slick passing move saw the ball worked across to the box to Nani who beat Gordon with a blistering shot into the far corner. United could have doubled their lead moments later when Turner almost slid the ball the wrong side of his post after Giggs played the ball into the danger area with some purpose.
Van der Sar had to remain alert though as Sunderland, through Malbranque, continued to push forward, collecting a free kick, safely, just under his bar.
With 36 minute splayed Sunderland lost a second player to injury when Meyler picked up a bad looking knee injury. As half time neared Cana fired over from long range and the four minutes of stoppage time, courtesy of the Meyler injury produced some interesting action.
First Gordon produced a save to deny Evra and then when Rooney set up Berbatov he just had to score but shot wide. Evra, who`d enjoyed a good first half, was then called upon to hook the ball off the line as a Sunderland corner threatened to put them level.
United started the second half the better of the two sides. Nani forced Gordon into a save before Rooney gifted Berbatov with another good chance the striker couldn`t take. Bardsley then received a yellow card for a blatant dive, in the penalty area, as Sunderland looked for the equaliser.
Just before the hour mark Berbatov had a third chance to double the lead but this time his downward header bounced off the shoulder of Richardson for a corner. A burst of Sunderland pressure then followed with Cana firing wide from distance and Fletcher blocking a Cattermole shot.
With twenty minutes to play the misfiring Berbatov was replaced by Carrick as Sir Alex looked to pack the midfield. Rooney, as bustling as ever, fired a scorching shot just wide before Turner was forced to hack a Carrick shot off of the line.
With three minutes of stoppage time announced there was just time for Turner to head wide from a corner. United had the three points but will rue what happened at Anfield earlier in the day!
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