Barclays Premier League
Manchester United vs. Sunderland A.F.C.
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Saturday, 26 September 2015
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Manchester United made it three league wins on the spin, with a routine 3-0 victory over Sunderland at Old Trafford.
Memphis bagged his first domestic goal of the season, with Wayne Rooney also making it a first – his first league goal of the new campaign, following on from his first half strike in midweek against Ipswich Town.
Those two goals could not have come any closer to either side of half-time, with Juan Mata rounding of the scoring in the final minute of normal time.
Early on and former United player John O’Shea was on the end of Younes Kaboul’s cross via his head, but it was a comfortable catch for David de Gea.
Mata struck a free-kick into the wall before another shot was deflected off of Lee Cattermole and behind for a corner.
Jeremain Lens took aim from the right-hand side of the box, but De Gea saved well with his legs.
A swift counter-attack from the home side saw captain Rooney give the ball to Memphis, who went for goal from the edge of the penalty area, only for Costel Pantilimon to tip the effort over the bar.
Adam Johnson was booked for handball as minor injuries to Cattermole, Fabio Borini and Anthony Martial delayed passages of play, but United made the breakthrough in the fourth minute of added time before the break.
Daley Blind, whose superb pass led to Rooney’s opener against Ipswich in midweek, bettered that effort with a pinpoint 35-yard ball to the back post, where Mata was on hand to play the ball across goal on the full, with Memphis left with the simply task of tapping home.
The old cliché, usually associated with buses, of you wait ages for one then another comes along straight after, and although separated by half-time, United doubled their advantage and all but sealed the game less than a minute after the restart.
Despite not scoring, Martial was bright all afternoon, and his neat work on the right-hand side of the area sent him to the byline, and his low cross was bundled in by Rooney, a weight off his shoulders, with his first league goal of the season.
Lens set up Ola Toivonen whose shot was blocked before a second attempt in a later attack forced a good save from De Gea’s foot from close range.
Patrick van Aanholt, a left-back by trade, burst forward but De Gea was on hand to save once more as Pantilimon did likewise at the other end, saving from Memphis after Martial had played the Dutchman in for a one-on-one situation.
Martial headed Antonio Valencia’s cross over the bar as Rooney found Mata, with the latter’s shot turned around Pantilimon’s post via a fine low save to his right.
Mata wasn’t to be denied a second time, as substitute Ashley Young’s low cross from the left found the Spaniard, who took a touch to set before thumping his shot into the back of the net from close range.
Another four minutes of stoppage time were added, as United held out for three more points.
That’s now 18 goals in the last seven games, with a fourth league clean sheet in seven league games another promising statistic.
A comfortable win for Louis van Gaal’s side, with Memphis and Rooney’s first league goals of the season pleasing to see, with Mata continuing his fine start to the season.
German side Wolfsburg will be welcomed to Old Trafford on Wednesday night for the second round of group stage matches, before a trip to North London to take on Arsenal next Sunday takes the club into the October international break.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Blind (Jones 74), Darmian; Schneiderlin, Carrick (Schweinsteiger 68); Mata, Rooney, Memphis (Young 77); Martial.
Subs: Romero, Jones, Herrera, Schweinsteiger, Pereira, Young, Fellaini.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Sunderland: Pantilimon; Jones, Kaboul, O’Shea, van Aanholt; M’Vila, Cattermole; Johnson (Fletcher 46), Toivonen (Larsson 70), Lens; Borini.
Subs: Mannone, Coates, Yedlin, Larsson, Gomez, Defoe, Fletcher.
Manager: Dick Advocaat