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Match Reports

Manchester United 2-0 Sunderland: Berbatov Bags A Brace But Anderson Is The Real Star

Dominant, commanding, adventurous and ever so slightly easy. It has been a while since a Manchester United display could be described in such a manner, but the 2-0 victory over Sunderland at Old Trafford could be detailed in no other way.

It was the Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov who got the festive schedule underway early on after latching onto the end of a delicately lofted Wayne Rooney cross, to head home at the far post.

Then in the second period he grabbed number two for himself and United after a shot into the far top corner deflected off Anton Ferdinand and trickled into the net past a despairing Craig Gordon.

However from the kick off United were on top and had a vigour about their game even after Berba opened the scoring.

By all accounts United could and should have been out of sight by half-time after Rooney went close and Anderson also hit the bar.

Sir Alex Ferguson was extremely happy with the performance put in by his side: “It was a comfortable performance,” he told MUTV. “I think in the first half we were absolutely fantastic; it could have been any score. Second half I thought we maybe put our tools away a bit and saved our legs. We knew the Birmingham game was off and they were very economical in the second half, put it that way.”

That was the most pleasing thing, the fact that we managed to take our foot of the gas and still boast a massive advantage in quality. Sunderland barely tested Edwin van der Sar as Rio coupled with Vidic gobbled up any chances Asamoah Gyan and Darren Bent created. It wasn’t until the 78th minute that the visitors had their first shot on target.

However the continued form of Anderson was particularly pleasing, the Brazilian was instrumental as United roamed forward and if his touch in the penalty area was a little better he could have grabbed his third ever goal for United.

His semi-tantrum when he came off told the story of a man who is enjoying his football and wants to play every minute. Patrice Evra did offer a word of caution for his club mate: “Ando is doing brilliant,” Evra told MUTV. “The most important thing is not three or four games, you need to play like this every year.

“He has a big talent, it’s three years now he’s played for United and the club has shown the confidence they have in him with a new contract, and he needs to show on the pitch that he deserves that.

“He put in a fantastic performance [against Sunderland], but I’m not surprised about Anderson. I always believed in him and I hope now he will keep having that type of game every game.”

The game was one that could have been a lot tougher than it was, but some excellent performances from the likes of Rafael, who has surely made the right-back spot his own. Michael Carrick was another who was on top of his game and the utterly ageless Ryan Giggs.

One negative note was Wayne Rooney’s inability to get on the scoresheet. Not through lack of trying but the goals seems to have dried up for the striker, but if Berbatov can take some of that goal scoring burden away from the number ten then we need not worry too much.