Sunderland 0 United 0
United withstood a Sunderland onslaught to snatch a point at the Stadium of Light in a game that was far from being a boring 0-0 draw.
After the trip to Valencia in midweek, Sir Alex Ferguson sprung a few surprises with his starting eleven today. Patrice Evra and Dimitar Berbatov dropped to the bench. Owen and Macheda were selected as the strike pairing whilst our young Portuguese striker, Bebe, was on the bench for the first time in the Premier League. Carrick having played on Wednesday, dropped out of the picture completely!
Unfortunately, kick-off was delayed twenty minutes due to a burst pipe above the United dressing room that required the away side to relocate to another dressing room.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, O'Shea, Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Anderson, Macheda, Owen.
Subs: Kuszczak, Evra, Berbatov, Smalling, Hernandez, Gibson, Bebe.
Sunderland made a good start, in a hi-tempo affair, stretching Vidic and Ferdinand but without troubling Van der Sar. United were struggling to get going and when Cattermole and Malbranque combined for the Frenchman to force a fine save from Van der Sar pulled off a fine save.
Prior to that Sunderland had created half chances for both Henderson and Bent, both of which were spurned. The Malbranque chance appeared to wake United up with the tempo increasing although the Sunderland keeper, Mignolet, was having a very easy time of it.
But still the home side poured forward. A set-piece saw Van Der Sar fail to clear his lines and when the ball was returned Bent saw his effort cleared by Vidic. Onuoha was the next to try his luck with a shot being blocked before finally being hacked clear.
Zenden, after a Malbranque shot had been blocked, saw his shot smash against the base of the post. Bramble conceded a soft free kick which saw Nani hit a shot wide but Sunderland were still bossing things making you think that United just might capitalise on the chances missed by the home side.
Half Time - Sunderland 0 Manchester United 0
Sir Alex, obviously disappointed at the first half performance, chose to introduce Dimitar Berbatov for the second half.
Berbatov, on for Owen, almost made an instant impact but was ruled offside after netting. United had definitely started the second half better and had started to dominate possession with Sir Alex introducing Hernandez in place of Macheda. But United were struggling to create decent chances.
Malbranque saw Ferdinand deflect his goal bound shot over the bar. Bardsley set up Bent but his shot went the wrong side of the post. Sir Alex introduced Bebe for his Premier League debut.
Berbatov, Fed by Nani, dragged a shot wide. Steve Bruce, hoping to get his first win over Sir Alex, introduced Gyan and Reid. Gyan forced a save out of Van der Sar as the pressure mounted. As the game entered stoppage time Bramble did well to prevent United snatching it at the death from a Vidic header.
Sunderland forced two late corners but United held firm to take a point.
Full Time - Sunderland 0 Manchester United 0
Vital Man United on:
Vital Man United on: