After last weeks Manchester derby victory, the job was now keeping up our 6 point advantage at the summit of the table. A home tie against Sunderland was next up for the reds and they served up a lovely performance and the all important 3 points meaning United will be in top spot for Christmas.
United played some superb football in the first half and were ahead after 16 minutes through Robin van Persie’s neat finish. This after Captain Patrice Evra should have scored moments earlier but fired over. Three minutes after the opener, United were at it again. Some superb link up play allowed Carrick to play a perfectly weighted pass into the onrushing Tom Cleverley, who fired a delightful first time finish to make it 2-0.
Within 5 minutes, Wayne Rooney had spurned 2 excellent chances to extend the lead on the North East club, who had celebrated that Aguero goal last May like it was one of their own. Rooney did eventually get his revenge as promised in the 2nd half. Some excellent work by RVP, who was excellent throughout, left Rooney with the simplest of finishes.
Former United prospect, Frazier Campbell scored an consellation goal late on for a Sunderland side Captained by ex red John O’Shea. The game ended 3-1.
David de Gea: Had a good game between the sticks again making some important saves. Commanded his back 4 well, dishing out the odd rollocking when required. 7/10
Phil Jones: Starting at right back in place of the rested Rafael. Had a good solid game and was an attacking threat throughout as well as being involved in the build up for the first goal. Dealt with Sessegnon well. 8/10
Rio Ferdinand: Had a decent game in the back 4, could have done a little better to prevent an early chance for McLean. Replaced by Vidic 7/10
Chris Smalling: Contender for my Man of the Match, read the game well, won his physical battles, and had a real solid game. 9/10
Patrice Evra: Another good game for Patrice on the left. Linked well with Young. Should have opened the scoring early on. 7/10
Antonio Valencia: Started well but went off the boil. Seemed unwilling to take on his man and is certainly nowhere near the levels of last season. 5/10
Michael Carrick: Had a good game before being replaced at Half Time for Paul Scholes. Linked really well with Cleverley in the middle as well as setting up his wonderful goal. 7/10
Tom Cleverley: My Man of the Match. Was instrumental in lots of the build up play. Kept the ball moving at all times with some nice 1 touch passing. Topped off with a tremendous goal on 19 minutes to put United in the driving seat. Replaced by Giggs late on. 9/10
Ashley Young: After lots of criticism of late, Ashley Young put in yet another good performance. Stretched the play on the left and covered for Evra. 7/10
Wayne Rooney: On another day, could have finished with a hat-trick. Missed a golden chance with a first half volley, as well as forcing Mignolet into a fine save with a header. Finally got his goal before the hour mark. 8/10
Robin van Persie: Its a real pleasure watching RVP week in, week out in a United shirt. Opened the scoring today with a sweet finish, as well as being involved in a lot of the build up play. Could have scored again in the 2nd half but his lobbed effort over the keeper just dropped wide. Set up Rooneys goal with some lovely work. 9/10
Paul Scholes: Replaced Carrick at half time. Not his finest performance for the midfield maestro but did ok. 6/10
Nemanja Vidic: Our influential Captain is back much to the delight of the fans at Old Trafford today, and he was given a run out when we were 3-0 up replacing Ferdinand. Had a decent game but understandably rusty 6/10
Ryan Giggs: Came on late for Cleverley. Lost the ball a few times and the game slowed noticably with him and Scholes in the middle of the pitch 5/10
Next up for United, a tough trip to South Wales to play Swansea City where we will be hoping to leave with a 6 point lead (or more) at the top of the table.