Man United eased to a victory over bottom club Sunderland to put them in further relegation trouble.
United didn’t start that well, with some slow build-up play. Sunderland were comfortable defending against them. They nearly went in front with about half an hour played – Jermain Defoe firing narrowly wide, although he was narrowly offside when the pass was played.
Just after that, Jesse Lingard went past Jason Denayer, before firing into the bottom corner but, Jordan Pickford made a good save. United did take the lead in the 30th minute through Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Ander Herrera passed the ball to him, he turned Billy Jones, before finishing brilliantly into the far corner with a curling right-foot shot from just outside the box.
The game got worse for Sunderland, with Bryan Oviedo going off with an injury. Just after that, Victor Anichebe had a shot saved by Sergio Romero about six yards from goal. Romero was starting instead of the injured David de Gea.
The game went from bad to worse right at the end of the first half, with a contentious red card for Sebastian Larsson. He went over the ball on Ander Herrera, but it probably didn’t merit a red card. Larsson was furious at referee Craig Pawson. It’s his first red card ever in the Premier League in his 278th game in the competition.
45 seconds into the second half, United doubled their lead. No Sunderland player had touched the ball when Luke Shaw, on his return to the starting line-up, passed to Henrick Mkhitaryan, who hit a low left-foot shot into the bottom corner.
Jermain Defoe, who is pretty much Sunderland’s only hope and will surely leave if they go down, had an effort which Romero saved in the top right corner. Sunderland look drained of any confidence 11 hours and 15 minutes without scoring in the top flight. They have lost 6 out of seven league games and look destined for the Championship. Their relegation could be confirmed as soon as April 26.
Substitute Marcus Rashford finished off the scoring in the 89th minute, finishing off a fine counter-attack. It was his first goal since 24 September. Jose Mourinho had said that he was suffering from a major lack of confidence caused by his lack of goals.
Mourinho made five changes to his side’s 50th competitive game of the season, but one was enforced with an injury to David de Gea. He also rotated players with the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht on Thursday in mind.
One of those changes was a surprise return for Luke Shaw. But, Shaw put in a very good performance and even got a pat on the back from Mourinho when he came off. It was with Gareth Southgate watching. He created a brilliant chance for captain for the day Marouane Fellaini, and also assisted Mkhitaryan for his goal.
United extended their unbeaten run in the League to 21 games. They are now four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, with a game hand on them and a game against them coming up. They climbed to fifth in the league. On the other hand, Sunderland are 10 points from safety with seven games left.
Next up for United is a trip to Anderlecht on Thursday, the 13 April in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final. Hopefully they can get the victory. Next up in the league they are at home to league leaders Chelsea. Hopefully they can carry on their winning form in the league.