In the end, it was a routine win for Manchester United thanks to a Robin van Persie shot deflected in off Titus Bramble's knee.
There was precious little to learn that we didn't already know.
Sunderland are a poor team who, apart from a 20-minute period in the second half, seem to be like "rabbits in the headlights of a car."
They did precious little running and supporting for each other except for that period, and too many players tried to win it in their own.
They will miss the bite of Lee Cattermole in midfield in that all-important run-in. More importantly, the loss of Stephen Fletcher means they are unlikely to win many more matches.
Danny Graham still hasn't scored since his move from Swansea, and between them, Fletcher and Craig Gardner have scored as many as the rest of the squad put together.
That is no excuse for yet another 1-0 win by United. It wasn't that they didn't want more goals. Nor was it because they fielded probably five second-choice players.
There was almost an "end of season" feel to the match. You almost felt that United expected to win and Sunderland to lose.
So there was not the usual nervousness before United scored, nor when they failed to put the result out of question.
To be frank, they aren't going to lose the six matches City need them to, even if the latter win all nine of their remaining matches.
So Sir Alex's biggest challenge may still be to motivate his squad if City roll over and die in the next couple of weeks.