Manchester United maintained first place in the Premier League table after 2-0 win over Sunderland at Old Trafford.
With Bent and Gyan to worry about, the normal back 5 had to be at the top of their game to keep them quiet. Ahead of those Dimitar Berbatov returned to the side alongside Wayne Rooney, whilst Park, Carrick, and Anderson kept their place in the side, along with Giggs.Berbatov and Rooney started well, they looked threatening and the two continued their excellent form as a partnership just moments in. Rooney picked up the ball from Giggs and clipped a cross to the back post, for Berbatov to run onto and powerfully header past Craig Gordon’s near post.
Rooney came close to doubling the lead on 10 minutes, with a Cantona-esque chip from outside the area, agonisingly going wide for the goal hungry striker. Dimitar Berbatov then struck the post, after a great through ball from Anderson the Bulgarian turned Nedum Onuoha inside out before smashing the ball against the post, despite Craig Gordon being beaten.
United’s total domination continued, as Anderson struck the bar! Once again the woodwork saved Craig Gordon and Sunderland. After a brilliant piece of skill, Dimitar Berbatov was fouled, but he quickly got back up and played it in to Park. The South Korean found Wayne Rooney, who struck the ball hard and low, but Craig Gordon was alert and saved well. Berbatov’s fine form continued as he came very close to doubling the lead, but he could only find the side netting from Giggs’ pass. Ryan Giggs was the next to be denied by some fine goalkeeping, after some more good build up play from Wayne Rooney, his low shot across goal was once more saved well by Gordon.
Sunderland barely got a look in until the dying minutes of the first half, United were completely dominant. However, despite the brilliant pacey football, and the fact that Berbatov, Rooney, Anderson and Giggs were all on fire, United still only had a 1 goal lead to show for it, which must have been disappointing and slightly concerning for Sir Alex at half time.
The second half started at a similar pace, this time it was Sunderland who started the better though. Steve Bruce’s half time team talk had seemingly fired them up, but it was United who scored – Dimitar Berbatov getting his second goal of the game – via a deflection off Anton Ferdinand’s backside! The attacking players were combining brilliantly, lots of flicks and tricks on display, and Park and Berbatov combined brilliantly to tee up substitute Darron Gibson next, however the shot was fairly tame by his standards, and Gordon saved well.
Sunderland still didn’t have many oppertunities to score, and United looked comfortable. Dimitar Berbatov swivelled on the ball and with excellent technique struck the ball goalwards on the 70th minute, but it was straight at Craig Gordon – who still had to do well to punch it clear, the score remained 2-0.
And that’s how the game ended, United dominated, and played some of the best football they’ve played all season, Sunderland had no noteworthy chances, Van der Sar must have been fairly bored! It was a surprisingly comfortable home victory, while Berbatov, Rooney and Anderson continued their recent good form, along with Giggs who was also excellent. Michael Carrick and the defence also deserve a lot of credit, they effectively shut out Sunderland in the little time they had a chance to go forward.
Steve Bruce conceded that ‘United were a better side’ and that Sunderland ‘didn’t deserve to beat them’ as he still looks for his first win against Sir Alex Ferguson!
Best Moment: Berbatov’s early goal
Worst Moment: There wasn’t really one…
Man of the Match: Dimitar Berbatov