After our match report, we cast a detailed eye over United’s Barclays Premier League defeat to Sunderland…
The Goals: After a drab opening, Sunderland eventually broke the deadlock in the 30th minute as Seb Larsson latched onto a cross from Connor Wickham, the Premier League Player of the Month, to volley into the bottom corner of David De Gea's goal. The Spanish goalkeeper looked dejected, although he could have done little to have stopped the Swede’s perfectly executed finish.
Star Man: As the scoreline suggests, United’s forwards struggled to make an impact and the Reds lacked any real attacking threat in the final third – perhaps until substitute Danny Welbeck was introduced to the action, with his pace and urgency occasionally causing problems for the Sunderland defence. Phil Jones and Patrice Evra had decent games on the flanks, while Nemanja Vidic was typically powerful in the air, though this was definitely an afternoon to forgot for all concerned.
Sub-plot: Robin van Persie made his long-awaited return from injury, replacing Juan Mata to register his first appearance since scoring a hat-trick against Olympiacos on 19 March. While the Dutchman could do little to overturn the deficit, making just a handful of meaningful touches, he will benefit from the game time and is surely in contention to start against Hull City on Tuesday.