Man United 3 Sunderland 1
Manchester United 3 Sunderland 1, Old Trafford, English Premier League, December 26, 2016. Manchester United won their fourth Premiership game in a row as they beat Sunderland 3-1 on Boxing Day 2016. Daley Blind, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all produced one goal each for United before Fabio Borini netted a consolation for the visitors.
Manchester United had opened the 2016-17 season with a convincing 3-1 victory against AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, with goals coming from Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic respectively. They followed up by beating Southampton and Hull City in their next two matches and found themselves second in the Premier League table to old rivals Chelsea by the end of August. After losing their following two games to Manchester City and Watford, United outclassed reigning champions Leicester City by 4-1 at Old Trafford in late September through first half goals by Chris Smalling, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba respectively. Then came consecutive draws to Stoke City and Liverpool before they suffered a humiliating and painful 4-0 defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in late October, with Pedro, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard, and N’Golo Kante scoring the goals for the Londoners. But this was followed by an undefeated run of eight Premiership matches, including four wins, which took them to sixth place in the standings.
Manchester United had beaten Sunderland 3-0 at Old Trafford in the corresponding fixture the previous season and were expected to win all three points. As for the injury front, Jose Mourinho had to cope without England defender Luke Shaw because of a groin strain, but Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan was back in match action. Despite Manchester United dominating from the kick-off, the home supporters had to wait for almost forty minutes for the first score. With the first period approaching its lattter stages, United finally staked themselves to a 1-0 advantage as Daley Blind latched on to a pass from Ibrahimovic before firing a low shot past Sunderland and England U21 goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and into the bottom right-hand corner of the net with thirty-nine minutes gone of the half. Manchester United continued to enjoy plenty of possession in the second frame and Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan registered a goal apiece in the 82nd and 86th minutes of the tie respectively before Fabio Borini hit a late consolation for The Black Cats in stoppage time. Manchester United Team: David de Gea, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Antonio Valencia, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Substitutes: Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian, Marcus Rashford, Sergio Romero. Sunderland Team: Jordan Pickford, Billy Jones, Patrick van Aanholt, Jason Denayer, Papy Djilobodji, Lamine Kone, Sebastian Larsson, Didier Ndong, Fabio Borini, Jermain Defoe, Victor Anichebe. Substitutes: George Honeyman, Donald Love, Wahbi Khazri, John O’Shea, Elliot Embleton, Joel Asoro, Vito Mannone.
Daley Blind Quickfacts
Daley Blind was handed his debut for Manchester United by Louis van Gaal in a 4-0 win against Premier League new boys Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford on the 4th of September 2014.