By Andrew Embling
- Goals from Memphis, Rooney and Mata hand United 3-0 win
- Win takes United top of the league after City’s loss at Tottenham
Venue: Old Trafford Attendance: 75,328
Manchester United overcame a stuttering first half to cruise to a 3-0 victory over Sunderland as they overhauled neighbours City to make it to the Premier League summit.
Goals from Memphis and Wayne Rooney either side of half time and a late Juan Mata strike helped United to three more points as Anthony Martial once again impressed for the Red Devils.
United threatened early as Darmian powered down the left and crossed towards Martial, who just mistimed his jump. It was a sign of things to come as both Darmian and fellow full back Antonio Valencia got forward at every opportunity, whilst Martial used his strength and skill to good effect, causing Sunderland’s defence plenty of headaches.
Juan Mata fired just wide via a deflection and then fired a free kick into the wall after Pantillimon was penalised for handling outside of his area, but that was all United had to show as they failed to break down a stubborn Sunderland defence.
De Gea had to be alert to deny Lens with his legs as Sunderland made a rare sortie into the United area, whilst Memphis forced Pantillimon to tip the ball over his bar as United broke at speed.
For all United’s possession the men in red weren’t able to find the final pass, too many times giving the ball away when well placed in and around the Sunderland box. But just as half time approached United made the breakthrough as Blind picked out Mata with a majestic pass and the Spaniard squared it to Memphis, who couldn’t miss from just a couple of yards out.
United doubled their money within a minute of the second half as Rooney profited from Martial’s strength and skill to turn in from close range.
Sunderland forced De Gea to stab away with his feet after a scramble in the area, but it was a rare moment of concern for the United keeper as Van Gaal’s side continued to dominate with their possession play. De Gea was forced to save again as Van Aanholt got beyond Valencia to shoot at goal, but United always had enough in the tank against their opponents.
Memphis should have added another after Martial rolled his marker and slipped his teammate in, whilst Martial himself headed over from Valencia’s cross. United were passing it around for fun, Mata forcing Pantillimon to save low down at his near post after another excellent move.
Rooney almost added the icing on the cake with a brilliant mazy run, but Juan Mata finished off Ashley Young’s cross in the final minute to make it 3-0. United will have tougher games, but for now it’s all about the league table as they sit prousily on top of the tree.
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Blind (Jones 73), Darmian, Carrick (Schweinsteiger 68), Schneiderlin, Mata, Rooney, Memphis (Young 77), Martial Substitutes Not Used: Romero, Herrera, Fellaini, Pereira
Our Man Of The match: Martial
Martial didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet today but he provided the United attack with a focal point, drifting out wide on several occasions. Providing the assist for Rooney’s goal after a fine run from the young Frenchman.