Player Ratings: Sunderland 0-1 United

United returned to the scene of the crime, where last May, the title was cruelly snatched away on the last day following our 1-0 victory. The boss had told the players to remember the cruel reaction of the Sunderland fans as news filtered through of Aguero’s last minute, title winning goal.


Roll the clock forward 10 months, United had taken stock of Fergie’s words and built what looks like being an unassailable lead at the summit. Todays 1-0 victory temporarily took United 18 points clear at the top.

The build up to this game has been disrupted by the International break and the lineup reflected this. Several players were rested following last weeks expoits, as well as the prospect of a cup replay in just 2 days time at Stamford Bridge. In came Smalling, Buttner and Anderson, whilst player such as Rooney, Ferdinand and Giggs didn’t even make the trip to the North East.

After a dominant first half performance, a Robin van Persie deflected shot found its way into the back of the net, and it turned out to be the only goal of the game. The 2nd half, Sunderland pressed and threatened the United goal on many more occasions. United could and probably should have scored more, yet found Sunderland keeper Mignolet in fine form. The result means United need only to win 4 more of the remaining 8 games to ensure the title returns ‘home’. Following the result, Sunderland sacked manager Martin O Neill.

Player Ratings

David de Gea: Didn’t have a lot to do. Miskicked early on but commanded his box well afterwards. Took a heavy knock after a collision with Vidic. Now has 6 consecutive clean sheets. 6/10

Rafael: Started well, but came off injured in the first half. 6/10

Chris Smalling: Had a good game, started a centre half and moved to the right after Rafael’s injury. 7/10

Nemanja Vidic: Should have scored from a corner, added an assurance to the back 4. 6/10

Alexander Buttner: Had a superb game. Tackled well, positioning was excellent and attacked at every opportunity. Could have had a goal too. 9/10

Antonio Valencia: Following his 3 assists for Ecuador, Valencia seemed to start well but went back to his reserved self. Didn’t create a lot, I would expect to see Nani start v Chelsea. 6/10

Michael Carrick: Its hard to believe its not Scholes, you know. Excellent in the middle once again. 9/10

Anderson: Not his best game, but not his worst either. 6/10

Ashley Young: After his amazing goal for England, Young had a quiet and a wasteful day for United. 6/10

Shinji Kagawa: Japanese maestro had lots of good touches and found himself in some fantastic spaces. Makes things happen. 8/10

Robin van Persie: Had a good game, should have scored more, will probably have his goal taken from him and credited to Titus Bramble. Looked confident and hungry. 8/10


Jonny Evans: Replaced Rafael in the first half and had a good game again in the heart of defence. 7/10

Danny Welbeck: Replaced Kagawa and didn’t do a great deal. 6/10

Tom Cleverley: Replaced Anderson late on but was far more effective, seemed to make things tick as United tried to see the game out as Sunderland pressed. 7/10

Whats next?

Chelsea next in the cup replay, then a week later, United face City at Old Trafford. United will be hoping to extend the lead to 18 points and taking a step closer to the title. City will of course be trying to cut United’s lead to 12 and keep their hopes of retaining the crown alive.

About Ben 128 Articles
27 year old football writer from South Yorkshire. United fan and Season Ticket holder in the Sir Alex Ferguson stand.

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