Manchester United on Saturday took another step on the march to their 20th English Premier League title at the Stadium of Light against a Sunderland bereft of confidence with a comfortable 1-0 win. The score line would suggest a tight affair at the Stadium of Light but the visitors were rarely troubled throughout the match. After United took the lead in a slightly fortuitous fashion with a double deflection from Phil Bardsley and Titus Bramble of a Robin Van Persie shot, United took their foot off the pedal and almost coasted to a win.
At the start of the day United manager Sir Alex Ferguson rang the changes with players like Anderson, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young all given a chance to impress their manager left out were players like Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Javier Hernandez while Partice Evra and Nani had to settle for a place on the bench. And sure enough every player got in on the act as United started the game with some delightful crisp passing that left the Sunderland ball watching. After the goal United stepped off the gas and seemed to be conserving energy most likely for the FA Cup replay match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The only blot on a perfect day for United was the injury to full back Rafael Da Silva who was taken off in the first half due to a groin strain. The win for United takes them at least temporarily 18 points clear of defending Champions Manchester City who still have to play against Newcastle United.
The major significance of this fixture last season was not another United win by the same score line but the result of Manchester City’s match which effectively sealed the title for them on goal difference as United faced the agony of defeat by the slightest of margins, the Sunderland fans’ taunts would ring loud in United players and fans’ memories. This time around it was a professional performance by Manchester United winning the match and ensuring that they are the ones on the receiving end of a winner’s medal come the end of the season.
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