Sunderland 0 Man United 0
Sunderland 0 Manchester United 0, The Stadium of Light, English Premier League, October 2, 2010. Manchester United’s poor away form continued as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Sunderland at The Stadium of Light. The hosts created several chances before the break, but Edwin van der Sar remained cool and organised his defence well as the game went on.
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic both returned to action for Manchester United, but the club had a long list of absent players with Ryan Giggs, Owen Hargreaves, Wayne Rooney, and Antonio Valencia all out for the fixture. And although Rooney claimed himself fit as a fiddle, Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to give the forward more rest, which once again proved that if you want to teach John Latin, then you not only have to know Latin, you also have to know John. The meeting between Sunderland and Manchester United, which was delayed by some twenty minutes due to a burst water pipe inside the visiting team´s dressing room that caused part of the ceiling to collapse, nonetheless turned out to be an exciting and enthralling affair, even despite the lack of goals. Apparently, Manchester United were not as fluent as they had been during the one-nil victory against Spanish Primera Division outfit Valencia at Mestalla Stadium in the Champions League Group Stage just three days earlier, and The Mackems went on to dominate much of the first half of the battle. Ferguson’s cavaliers enjoyed a better second half, though, but they could not force the ball over the chalk line. After replacing veteran player Michael Owen during the break, Dimitar Berbatov had the ball in the back of the net within only three minutes, but the battering ram striker was clearly in an offside position. Portuguese new boy Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, also known as Bebe, was given the last ten minutes of the clash at The Stadium of Light to impress, but it was not enough time for the promising youngster to make a real impact on the match.
With eight minutes remaining on match official Chris Foy´s waterproof watch, Berbatov managed to waste a perfectly decent scoring opportunity which a central attacker of his calibre should have done more with when he blasted the ball wide of the target from less than twenty yards out. Manchester United pressed hard for a winning goal during the closing skirmishes of the fixture, but found themselves unable to break down a solid Sunderland defence which left the Old Trafford men exceedingly frustrated, and even though they kept their undefeated record against Sunderland, they were still without an away win thus far in the 2010-11 Premier League season. Roman Abramovich´s Chelsea were now topping the Premiership table with eighteen points won from seven games played, followed by Manchester City on fourteen, and Manchester United on thirteen. Sir Alex Ferguson: “The consistency of not losing is something that we can take. I am not pleased, but I am satisfied.” Sunderland Team: Simon Mignolet, Phil Bardsley, Nedum Onuoha, Titus Bramble, Michael Turner, Ahmed Elmohamady, Lee Cattermole, Jordan Henderson, Steed Malbranque, Bolo Zenden, Darren Bent. Substitutes: Paulo da Silva, John Mensah, Anton Ferdinand, Cristian Riveros, Andy Reid, Asamoah Gyan, Craig Gordon. Manchester United Team: Edwin van der Sar, Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, John O’Shea, Paul Scholes, Anderson, Darren Fletcher, Nani, Federico Macheda, Michael Owen. Substitutes: Chris Smalling, Patrice Evra, Darron Gibson, Bebe, Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez, Tomasz Kuszczak.