Last Saturday, West Bromwich Albion beat United in a league game for the first time since March 1984. At half time yesterday, Sunderland looked like exorcising another long standing hoodoo when they were winning 1-0 and looking good for their first league win against United since March 1997. Three minutes after Sunderland went into the lead in the fourth minute, Craig Gardner robbed possesion off Phil Jones in the midfield. If Gardner had been more decisive in possesion, United would have been 2-0 down before they’d even realised the game had kicked off. Emanuele Giaccherini forced a brilliant save from David De Gea in the 34th minute. Ten minutes later, Giaccherini shot high from six yards when it was probably easier to shoot on target. Apart from a volley from Nani on 21 minutes, which he fired across goal, United never looked threatening. The second half began nearly as badly as the first, on 48 minutes, Adnan Januzaj was booked for a dive in the Sunderland eighteen yard box. Having seen it again on Match of the Day, it was that poor a dive as to make Ashley Young’s recent efforts look convincing. Seven minutes later, Januzaj redeemed himself by calmly sidefooting Patrice Evra’s low cross from twelve yards, past a stranded Kieron Westwood. On 62 minutes, Januzaj scored the winner with a brilliant volley, low into Westwood’s bottom right hand corner from eighteen yards. After Uniteds erratic start to the season, todays result gives me great confidence that United will be playing Premier League football next season.
United players walking over to the fans after the final whistle (photograph courtesy of Stuart Gwilliam)