Goals from Memphis, Rooney and Mata gave Manchester United all three points at Old Trafford as Sunderland stay rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.
The game got off to a quiet start as United dominated early possession without breaking through the Sunderland backline as the Black Cats were content to keep men behind the ball.
United had the first chance of the game through Mata whose early effort deflected wide after Sunderland lost possession in midfield. The Black Cats did try to get forward on occasions in the early stages and they had an opportunity of their own on 24 minutes when Lens shot straight at De Gea after a sweeping move down the right. Straight down the other end United responded with Memphis stinging the gloves of Pantilimon, as the big Romanian had to tip a dipping strike over.
All of Sunderland’s good defensive work was undone on the stroke of halftime as Memphis broke the deadlock for Man United. Blind found an unmarked Mata with a diagonal ball to the back post and he squared the ball across goal for Memphis to slide in to open the scoring. Sunderland though would have felt slightly aggrieved with the referee playing four added minutes; nevertheless it’s another case of switching off and not tracking runners for the Black Cats which proved costly.
The second half began, and it only took 38 seconds for Rooney to double Man United’s lead. Martial drove to the by-line and his low cross was put away at the front post by Wayne Rooney despite the best efforts of Pantilimon.
Sunderland had a chance to get back into the game on 53 minutes when Toivonen tried to flick the ball inside the post but De Gea saved well at the near post.
The Black Cats spurned another great chance on the hour mark as Van Aanholt was played through on goal by Toivonen only to be denied by the feet of De Gea.
United should have undoubtedly made it three on 67 minutes when Kaboul stepped out of defence only to be turned easily allowing Martial to play Memphis in on goal but Pantilimon stood up well to deny him.
Sunderland began to tire as the game went on and Pantilimon had to be alert to save a goal bound shot from Mata on 77 minutes.
Man United did inevitably score a third through Mata after the Sunderland defence watched Young tee up Mata who finished high into the net.
It was same old story from Sunderland today. Effort was shown in patches of the game but defensive frailties again prove costly for the Black Cats as they continue to dig that hole deeper.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Blind (Jones 73’), Darmian, Schneiderlin, Carrick (Schweinsteiger 68’), Mata, Rooney, Memphis (young 77’), Martial.
Subs: Romero, Jones, Herrera, Schweinsteiger, Pereira, Young, Fellaini.
Goals: Memphis (45+4’) Rooney (46’) Mata (90’)
Sunderland (4-3-3): Pantilimon, Van Aanholt, Jones, Kaboul, O’Shea, M’Vila, Cattermole, Toivonen (Larsson 69’), Lens, Johnson (Fletcher 46’), Borini.
Subs: Mannone, Yedlin, Coates, Larsson, Gomez, Fletcher, Defoe.