By Lee Savery.
Manchester United became the first team, in English football, to win 25 top flight matches from the first 30 as they beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
On 27 minutes, Robin van Persie received the ball on the left-hand side of the penalty box and outfoxed Phil Bardsley before driving his shot towards goal but it was deflected in by Sunderland defender Titus Bramble. The Dutchman may think it ended his recent goal drought but it is definitely an own goal.
This fixture began an Easter weekend in their quest for the double as the FA Cup replay awaits on Monday, with Chelsea. With that in mind, Wayne Rooney was left out of the squad completely with Shinji Kagawa supporting van Persie. Alexander Buttner also started his second consecutive game at left-back.
The game resembled their last match with Reading. A narrow edgy win with both teams having reasons for needing the points. United dominated the first half. There were half chances for Anderson, Buttner & van Persie before the Dutchman’s strike was deflected in. United were calm and controlled with Michael Carrick and Kagawa pulling all the strings.
In the second half, Sunderland were much the better side but their possession led to nothing as United defended well. Their only shot on target came from substitute Connor Wickham. His effort from the edge of the area was saved comfortably by David de Gea.
The excellent Buttner was denied a goal when his long range effort was saved by Simon Mignolet who also denied van Persie in stoppage time when one-on-one.
It was a comfortable victory for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men as another game is out of the way on their quest for title number 20. Expect a completely different team as they look to continue their quest for the double against Chelsea on Easter Monday.
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