Sunderland 0-3 Man Utd: Red Devils Keep Pace With Top Four as Black Cats' Relegation Fears Increase

Jude Summerfield

Manchester United strolled to an easy win over Sunderland on Sunday as goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford kept Jose Mourinho's side in the hunt for a top four place.

Ibrahimovic rolled his man before striking low to give his side the lead before Mkhitaryan capitalised from some lacklustre defending by firing past Jordan Pickford, with Rashford finishing late on to seal the win.

Despite their early domination United struggled to carve out chances, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's blocked free-kick the highlight in a dull opening. Billy Jones nodded wide from a corner, but the game was largely a drab affair during the opening half hour.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League
Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League

That was until the away side took the lead following a spell of Sunderland pressure. Ibrahimovic held off Lamine Kone to fire United ahead, with his strike from just outside the area evading Jordan Pickford and nestling in the far corner.

The Red Devils were very nearly two goals up as  Marouane Fellaini, United captain for the day, tried to reach a Luke Shaw cross only for the Belgian's shot to be blocked by Bryan Oviedo, who was soon substituted after injuring his hamstring.

Sergio Romero, in for the injured David de Gea, protected United's lead before half-time, blocking Victor Anichebe's close range effort when the former Everton striker seemed well set to score.

Already a goal down, Sunderland's chances of mounting an unlikely comeback were heavily dented when Sebastian Larsson was sent off for a challenge on Ander Herrera. The Swede lost control in possession and slid into the challenge on Herrera, going over the ball and catching the former Athletic Bilbao midfielder on the shin.

The second-half was not even a minute old when United doubled their lead through Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Some slack defending from the Black Cats allowed the Armenian space in the box following Shaw's pass and the winger finished calmly.

Paul Pogba, without a goal in the Premier League since January, had an excellent chance to secure all three points in style as Ibrahimovic set him up with a flicked header, but the £89m man could only lean back and fire his volley well over the bar.

Sunderland, who face an almost impossible battle against relegation, still tried to gain a foothold in the game despite their man disadvantage, with Jermain Defoe curling over after good work from Didier Ndong.


Anichebe and Defoe had been feeding off scraps all game, but the pair nearly conjured up a goal for David Moyes' team with Anichebe teeing up his team-mate, but Defoe couldn't react quick enough to divert the effort home.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League
Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League

And it was United who bagged the final goal of the game, breaking on the counter before Ibrahimovic rolled the ball into substitute Marcus Rashford who struck fiercely into the bottom corner.

The win ensures United kept pace with the Premier League's top four, all of whom won on Saturday, while Sunderland remain bottom as they fight against relegation.

​Sunderland XI: Pickford, Jones, Denayer, Kone, Oviedo, Rodwell, Cattermole, Ndong, Larsson, Defoe, Anichebe

Manchester United XI: Romero, Darmian, Bailly, Rojo, Shaw, Fellaini, Herrera, Lingard, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic

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