Writer: Red Boy
Date:Sunday December 26 2010
Manchester United cemented their position at the top of the Premier League with a convincing, and very comfortable win over Sunderland.
Ryan Giggs and Dimitar Berbatov returned to the United starting eleven but there was no place in the eighteen for the fit again Michael Owen. Fir Sunderland, Steve Bruce was missing seven of his regular starting eleven.
Team - Van der Sar, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Park, Carrick, Anderson, Giggs, Rooney, Berbatov
Subs - Kuszczak, Neville, Smalling, Hernandez, Macheda, Gibson, Bebe
It didn`t take long for United to get ahead, four minutes, Sunderland were attacking but lost possession and when United broke with pace through Giggs, his pass found Rooney who delivered the perfect cross for Berbatov to head home past Gordon in the Sunderland goal.
United 1 Sunderland 0 (5 minutes - Berbatov)
Giggs then found Rooney, who chipped the keeper but his effort was just the wrong side of the post. Anderson then found Berbatov but his shot came back off the foot of the post as United threatened to score a second goal.
The woodwork was then hit again when a poor clearance allowed Berbatov to feed Anderson who saw his shot rebound to safety off of the bar. Giggs then found Berbatov who hit the side-netting. Gordon then produced a great save from Giggs to keep it at 1-0.
Unfortunately, after that stunning start, United went a little off the ball and passes were going astray with the result that Sunderland, having been on the rocks in those opening exchanges, were suddenly looking very comfortable restricting United` chances.
As half time approached Rooney produced a shot that Gordon saved comfortably and the half ended with United possibly ruing the chances they couldn`t convert in that devastatingly beautiful first fifteen minutes.
Half Time - United 1 Sunderland 0
Sunderland started the second half well when Gyan fired over the bar when presented with a half chance after good approach work that saw a Malbranque chance saved.
United engineered a great chance in a move involving several of the cast but Anton Ferdinand produced a great block, from Anderson, to ensure it came to nothing.
A second goal finally came when Anderson, having a great game, found Berbatov who was lucky enough to see his shot take a wicked deflection off of Anton Ferdinand to leave Gordon, in the Sunderland goal, stranded.
United 2 Sunderland 0 (57 minutes - Berbatov / Ferdinand og)
Anderson found Giggs but Gordon once again rescued the visitors with another fine save.
With the game more-or-less wrapped up and United in total control, Sir Alex withdrew, just past the hour mark, Giggs and Anderson and threw on Macheda and Gibson.
Berbatov thought he`d grabbed a hat-trick when he latched onto a ball from Carrick but Gordon, once again, produced a good save to deny him.
Rafael was the unfortunate victim of a poor challenge from Meyler with the Sunderland substitute on or Bent, only receiving a yellow card from Phil Dowd.
Sunderland threatened briefly when Zenden had a low shot, from distance, that Van der Sar easily saved.
Berbatov was not to get his hat-trick though as he was withdrawn, with eight minutes of normal time left, having netted seven times in his last two games at Old Trafford.
The unbeaten start to the season continues.
Date:Sunday December 26 2010
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