Match Analysis: Manchester United 0-1 Sunderland

Match Analysis: Man United 0-1 Sunderland
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Sports Mole looks back over Sunderland's 1-0 victory away at Manchester United.

A first-half strike from Sebastian Larsson was enough for Sunderland to record a 1-0 victory from their trip to Manchester United this afternoon.

The Swede struck shortly before the break, which all but secured his side's status as a Premier League club for another season.

Here, Sports Mole has looked back over the contest to determine if the Black Cats deserved their first victory at Old Trafford since 1968.

Match statistics

Man United
Shots: 17
On target: 2
Possession: 63%
Corners: 8
Fouls: 11

Sunderland
Shots: 8
On target: 1
Possession: 37%
Corners: 0
Fouls: 12

Was the result fair?

In terms of the statistics above, Man United dominated proceedings. Yet, when the final whistle was blown, it didn't feel like it was an undeserved Sunderland victory. They made the most of the chance that they created and also hit the woodwork twice, while the hosts failed to capitalise on their domination. It was a big three points for the Wearsiders and they were worthy of them.

Manchester United's performance

If ever this was a performance that summed up United's campaign, this was it. David Moyes, rightly, was criticised for his negative tactics at times, but this just goes to show that he was by no means the only problem. The ageing defence was stretched on occasions, while the midfield pairing of Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher are nowhere near comfortable enough in possession.

Out wide both Nani and Ashley Young - who's inclusions were surprising - were poor. Young, for example, at one point had found his intended target just once from his 16 crosses. Further forward, Javier Hernandez was too isolated, while Robin van Persie looked short of match fitness when he came on. All in all, it's going to have to be a busy summer for Louis van Gaal if United are to challenge at the right end of the table next season.

Sunderland's performance

Whatever Gus Poyet has done in recent weeks, it's certainly worked. His side looked doomed around a month ago, with away games at Manchester City, Chelsea and United to come. Yet, with this victory, they have pretty much retained their status. What's more, they deserved it.

Former United defenders Wes Brown and John O'Shea were stubborn in defence, while the likes of Jack Colback and Lee Cattermole worked tirelessly in the middle of the pitch. Up front Connor Wickham was by no means at his recent high standard, but he still set up the only goal of the game and put in a decent shift.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Wes Brown: Perhaps with a point to prove against his former employers, Brown was the pick of a solid Sunderland defence. He read the game extremely well, highlighted by his sliding challenge to deny Hernandez during the second half. His return to fitness has been one of the reasons why Sunderland have managed to fight their way out of trouble over recent weeks.

Biggest gaffe

Interim manager Ryan Giggs received large amounts of praise following the win over Norwich last weekend, but his team selection today was extremely confusing. The creative Shinji Kagawa was left out of the squad (with no injury reported), while Young and Nani - who have failed to produce the goods for United for a number of years now - were named in the starting lineup. That no doubt gave Sunderland a boost when they received the United starting lineup in the dressing room.

Referee performance

There was very little for Howard Webb to deal with today, but what he had to do, he did so with minimal fuss. Each of the three cautions that he dished out were warranted.

What next?

Man United: The Red Devils will play their game in hand on Tuesday night with the visit of Hull City to Old Trafford.

Sunderland: A day later, Sunderland will continue their bid for Premier League survival with a home encounter against fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion.

Sebastian Larsson of Sunderland is congratulated by teammates after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Sunderland at Old Trafford on May 3, 2014
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