Man United 2 Sunderland 0
Manchester United 2 Sunderland 0, Old Trafford, English Premier League, December 26, 2010. Manchester United remained at the top of the table after beating Sunderland 2-0 in a one-sided Boxing Day match. Bulgarian international Dimitar Berbatov opened the scoring with a powerfully headed goal in the fifth minute of the clash and the prolific striker then added a second twelve minutes after the restart.
Manchester United locked horns with Sunderland at Old Trafford on Boxing Day 2010 in what promised to be a meeting between different styles of play. The Reds had emerged 1-0 winners against fellow Premier League contenders Arsenal at The Theatre of Dreams in their previous Premier League fixture thanks to a late first half winner from South Korea international Ji-Sung Park, while Steve Bruce´s boys had defeated Bolton Wanderers by the identical scoreline at The Stadium of Light through a goal by Old Trafford loanee Danny Welbeck two minutes past the hour mark. Manchester United had to manage without the services of Owen Hargreaves, Paul Scholes, John O’Shea, and Antonio Valencia, but Oliveira and Nemanja Vidic were both back in action. The Black Cats, for their part, had been struck by several injuries in defence, with Titus Bramble, John Mensah, and Michael Turner all on the sidelines. Defensive midfield enforcer Lee Cattermole was also ineligible to play in this game after being suspended for receiving his fifth yellow card against The Trotters.
Manchester United had an almost perfect home record thus far in the season as they had dropped a mere two points at Old Trafford and they were red hot favourites to beat the Wearsiders. United dominated proceedings from the very beginning and it took Dimitar Berbatov only five minutes to provide the men in red shirts with the opening goal of the encounter. Ryan Giggs found Wayne Rooney whose magnificent cross was met by the inform Berbatov who sent an unstoppable header past Sunderland and Scotland shot stopper Craig Gordon and into the back of the net. Although The Black Cats started to take possession of the ball following the resumption of play, the visiting team were unable to create proper goal scoring opportunities for themselves. Then, three minutes before the hour mark, Manchester United produced their second goal of the afternoon as Berbatov managed to find the net once again. Anderson delivered an excellent ball to the unmarked dangerman who hammered a thunderous effort goalwards which went into the net via unlucky Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand, and even though Sir Alex Ferguson´s troops could have scored more goals during the Boxing Day clash against Sunderland, the home victory was smoothly executed and well deserved.
After defeating Sunderland by a 2-0 margin at Old Trafford, Manchester United were now two points ahead of second placed Manchester City, five in front of third positioned Arsenal, and six above Chelsea in fourth spot. At the other end of the table, meanwhile, Fulham found themselves in the drop zone along with West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Sir Alex Ferguson: “Manchester United are coming into good form, playing some good stuff and getting some consistency. There are plenty of good signs.” Manchester United Team: Edwin van der Sar, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Rafael da Silva, Rio Ferdinand, Ji-Sung Park, Michael Carrick, Oliveira Anderson, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs. Substitutes: Gary Neville, Chris Smalling, Darron Gibson, Tiago Dias Correia, Javier Hernandez, Federico Macheda, Tomasz Kuszczak. Sunderland Team: Craig Gordon, Ahmed Al Muhammadi, Nedum Onuoha, Anton Ferdinand, Phil Bardsley, Boudewijn Zenden, Cristian Riveros, Jordan Henderson, Steed Malbranque, Darren Bent, Asamoah Gyan. Substitutes: Marcos Angeleri, Adam Reed, Paulo da Silva, Blair Adams, Jordan Cook, David Meyler, Simon Mignolet.
Manchester United Quickfacts
Manchester United came from behind to edge out fellow promotion hunters Sunderland 3-2 in front of a crowd of 60,000 people at Old Trafford on the 30th of November 1974. United were were trailing by one goal at the break, but the hosts hit back through goals from Willie Morgan and Sammy McIlroy.