Manchester United vs. Sunderland: An Overview of the Red Devils' Performance
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David Moyes has been off to a rough start as Manchester United's newly appointed manager, but the 2-1 win over Sunderland should help ease the pressure. Though claiming the victory at the end of the 90 minutes, United was far from dominant.
The first half was disastrous to say the least.
United's back line was sloppy and had an abundance of poor touches, allowing Sunderland one too many chances on the attack. Early on, what should have been an easily handled cross turned into a gift for Craig Gardner after a mistake from Nemanja Vidic.
Lee Cattermole was a constant threat to United's back four, never giving them the opportunity to settle or play around with the ball.
Thanks to consistent pressuring from Sunderland up front, Adam Johnson's drive in to Emanuele Giaccherini nearly resulted in a second goal, but a world-class save from David de Gea kept the score at one.
Sunderland kept a tight defense, shutting out most of United's build ups toward goal.
The Red Devils were persistent in crossing the ball, giving the home team an easy time defensively. Luis Nani had a fare amount of touches coming from the outside, but he only managed to give the ball away.
Though there were the occasional workings of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, their presence was minor. Only 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj took advantage of his time on the ball. Being as young as he is and just starting his career on the big stage, it's possible that a future star is looming at Old Trafford.
Januzaj's presence was one of the few threats that United possessed in the first half, and after he bagged two goals in the second, it's no question who the man of match was. A pass out to Patrice Evra and a swift run into the box by Januzaj leveled the scoring.
Less than 10 minutes later, Januzaj scored a beauty on a left-footed volley with perfect form.
After a dodgy start to the season, Moyes may have come across a budding superstar that could ease some of the club's troubles in the future.
There was no showing from Marouane Fellaini today due to a wrist injury, but the Belgian hasn't proved himself as a major asset to the team aside from a solid performance against Bayer Leverkusen back in September. As such, midfielders Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley have been left to control much of the central area.
Overall, the defense needs to communicate better and stop dragging their feet, and the offense needs to make more connections when advancing forward. Normally, United are able to effectively work from the outside and drive crosses in. However, against Sunderland, looking to feet and working the ball around turned up the best results.
It took until the second half to pull the offense together and get a fluid attack going, and though the defense stepped up, they started staggering by the match's end. To put it simply, United have a lot of work ahead them.
If changes aren't made quickly, Moyes will have United running around in circles.
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