Jack Rodwell’s 30th minute equaliser ensured Sunderland stayed unbeaten as the points are shared at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland started the game brightly with assured possession and midfield pressing. The first chance of the game fell to Cattermole after a loose United throw - in was pounced upon but his shot flashed wide of the post.
Sunderland nearly took a deserved lead on 15 mins after a great run by Buckley down the right wing created the opening for Wickham, but he could only shoot straight at De Gea.
The Black Cats were made to pay for Wickham’s miss a minute later when United took the lead against the run of play. Valencia had isolated Van Aanholt on the left side and his low cross was tapped in at the back post by Juan Mata.
Sunderland were still passing the ball around well and created another chance on 27 mins. It was Wickham again who latched onto another loose ball on the edge of the box only to see his effort go wide off De Gea’s post.
The equaliser came on 30 mins from a Larsson corner. Great persistent play from Will Buckley down the right side forced Blackett to put the ball out for a corner where Jack Rodwell rose highest to powerfully head the ball into the bottom corner.
The second half started much like the first with Sunderland applying early pressure. Connor Wickham took a snap shot volley that deflected agonisingly off Blackett just wide of the goal.
As the half progressed Manchester United were seeing more of the ball as Sunderland were sitting too deep. On 60 mins Van Persie drove at the defence but Vergini made a last ditch tackle to deny him.
Sunderland were scrambling at the back after John O’Shea gave the ball away and were let off the hook when Ashley Young saw a yellow card for simulation after diving in the box under a challenge from Vergini.
The later stages of the game saw end to end action with half chances being traded at either end as both sides were struggling to maintain possession. United could have taken an undeserved lead on 77 mins after Ashley Young’s run wasn’t tracked but Vito Mannone came rushing out to slide tackle Young to avert the danger.
Both teams applied late pressure but neither could find a way through two stubborn defences.
Sunderland (4-3-3): Mannone, Vergini, van Aanholt, Brown, O'Shea (c), Cattermole, Larsson, Rodwell (Gomez 63’), Buckley (Bridcutt 78’), Wickham, Fletcher (Altidore 76’).
Subs: Pantilimon, Roberge, Jones, Bridcutt, Gomez, Mavrias, Altidore.
Goals: Rodwell (30’)
Manchester United (3-5-2): De Gea, Blackett, Jones, Smalling (Keane 43’), Valencia, Young, Cleverley, Fletcher (Januzaj 62’), Mata, Rooney (c), Van Persie (Welbeck 62’).
Subs: Amos, James, Keane, Kagawa, Januzaj, Chicharito, Welbeck.
Goals: Mata (16’)