Down and rotten
The headlines may have centred on referee Craig Pawson's controversial decision to send off Sebastian Larsson, but in truth it wouldn't have mattered if it was Hartlepool United lining up against Sunderland never mind Manchester United - this team can not score and can not fashion a result from anywhere.
The only unknown factor of late is how many the opposition will squeeze past David Moyes' side and how long the breakthrough will take to come.
The subtle hiding-in-plain-sight tactic employed by certain Sunderland players would be alarming if it mattered anymore. For professional footballers to engineer themselves as marked out of the game would be criminal if it bothered us any longer.
Time to go down - shift those who earn more than their endeavours are worth, slash the pay of the rest and move on the saleable assets. Rebuild away from the glare of the Premier League and rediscover the basics of hard work and ambition.
Here's how the national press reported Sunderland 0 Manchester United 3.
They cut a colourful sight in the spring sunshine at the Stadium of Light, a chunk of yellow amongst the red-and-white, but their afternoon was somewhat spoiled by the game's main talking point;
Sunderland's cause was not helped by Sebastian Larsson shown a straight red card for a mis-timed tackle on United midfielder Ander Herrera.
However, the supporters, who travelled in from Lund in Sweden, tried to make the best of their appearance at the Stadium of Light.
They were pictured in the crowd holding huge banners, one of which was even in honour of their “hero” Larsson.
The Swedish supporters have followed the Black Cats since 1973, when they beat Leeds United in the FA Cup final, and it was their first trip to watch the side at the home stadium. They may have left somewhat underwhelmed after the 3-0 reverse that sees Sunderland expecting Championship football come August.
They would have likely enjoyed seeing fellow Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic score but the Seb Larsson banner was sadly tempting fate:
No fight, no heart, no pride - and the one time a player in red-and-white showed any semblance of any of it, he got sent off:
Please, do not allow the injustice of Seb Larsson’s red card to provide mitigation for what was another lame performance from the Premier League’s worst team. David Moyes rejects this notion, but Sunderland really are going down without a fight.
It is, of course, a little harsh that their one moment of real aggression - Larsson’s committed challenge on Ander Herrera - resulted in the midfielder being sent off just before half-time.
An enjoyable afternoon out for Jose Mourinho:
You will not get more pleasant spring weather in the North East and it was a comfortable afternoon all round for United, who maintained their excellent away form, as well as an interest in a top four finish with a degree of ease that undermined our claim to have the world’s most competitive league.
Sunderland tried their best – as they generally have done - but this was typical of their season. They can look a decent, tidy team, but as soon as they concede, they never look like getting back into it and have now gone more than 10 hours without a goal. They are surely doomed, ten points adrift at the bottom of the table.
But what of that whiff of protest which has been hinted at all week?
This was supposed to be the start of a rebellion, when, according to social media, there would be loud protests against manager David Moyes and owner Ellis Short. There was no sound of them inside the stadium.
Moyes has failed to live up to expectations and there are those who argue the Scot has not shown enough fight, charisma or tactical knowledge to justify being told his job is safe, even if Sunderland are relegated. Yet, there also seems to be a general recognition that this mess is not his fault.
Another bad week at the Stadium of Light is about to begin off the pitch, as Moyes and his employers will have to submit their response to the FA tomorrow:
Bottom-placed Sunderland are contemplating Championship football next season while, more immediately, their manager faces Football Association sanction in the wake of the comments he directed at the BBC’s Vicki Sparks. Ten points adrift of 17th place, the Wearsiders’ cause appears increasingly hopeless after an afternoon on which Moyes’s players created little more than half chances and were severely hampered by Seb Larsson’s highly controversial 43rd-minute sending-off.
Last one out turn the lights off; see you in August.