Ibrahimovic, Mkhitaryan and Rashford were on target as Manchester United defeated ten-man Sunderland 3-0 at the Stadium of Light. Sebastian Larsson was controversially sent off for a studs-up tackle on Herrera in the first half. With this win, United maintained their charge for a top four finish, while further misery was heaped on David Moyes’ men who are now almost certain to depart the league for the first time in 11 years.
Ibrahimovic created the opening goal out of nothing in the 30th minute. The strike, which was his 17th league goal of the season, was of deluxe class. Sunderland’s Seb Larsson was then sent off before the break for a challenge on Herrera. The replays showed that he had made contact with the ball first, and he was furious as it was clear that the referee had got it wrong.
The second half started with a bang for United. Barely 47 seconds into the second period, Mkhitaryan doubled the visitors’ lead, with a strong left-footed strike which gave Pickford no chance. United’s one-man advantage was pretty clear as they dominated the remaining course of the match. Pogba missed a sitter as he ballooned his volleyed effort from Ibrahimovic’s pass. Rashford, who replaced Lingard, put the icing on the cake and scored the third of the night. He exchanged the ball with Zlatan twice before smashing the shot to the right of Jordan Pickford.
Here are the Talking Points from the match-
Team Sheet Confuses Fans
The team sheet confused the fans for a number of reasons. They were curious to know the reason for De Gea being dropped, and even though Jose clarified that he had a “little problem”, fan theories suggested that it was related to him being strongly linked with Real Madrid. His Twitter activity suggested otherwise. Another player who was missing was Valencia, who was again rested for the Europa League encounter with Anderlecht. There was a dissent amongst fans because of Martial again named on the bench. Don’t get me started on the reactions on Fellaini captaining United (what a day to be alive!).
Keeping Up with the Top Four
United traveled to the Stadium of Light in pursuit of three points, and did deservedly achieve them. With all other teams in the top four, as well as Arsenal, winning their respective matches, United maintained their gap. They are now four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, but have a game in hand. Losing or maybe even drawing next weekend’s match against Chelsea could put an end to their top-four ambitions.
Moyes again fails in his Revenge
Since being sacked as United’s manager, this was David Moyes’ second game against his former employers, and it resulted in his second straight loss at redeeming himself. Moyes had stated prior to the match that any manager would need time at United, and defended his record by saying that a manager is offered the job as United’s boss only if he is good enough. His comments clearly reflected his revengeful mindset, but it wasn’t at all as he planned as Mourinho’s side put three past his side. His wait for avenging his sacking (somewhat!) goes on.
Larsson Disappoints Travelling Fans
Before the game, Sunderland revealed on their Twitter account that a group of fans from Sweden would be attending the game, just to see Larsson play. However, they were left disappointed as Seb Larsson was sent off barely before the first half had even ended! One feels sorry for the fans who had prepared a special banner for him, only to see his game cut short. Luckily, they carried Ibrahimovic’s banners as well!
Sunderland Certain to Go Down
If there were any doubts about this one, they’re now completely put to bed. Sunderland are now certain to go down, as they are now ten points from safety with just seven games remaining, and haven’t scored a goal in over 11 hours. Uninspired displays like this one do not help in such situations, and even Anichebe’s return didn’t help inspire the Black Cats. This would be their first relegation in 11 years, and its safe to say that Ellis Short might already be planning for life in the Championship (That is, if he still hasn’t sold the club by then).