David De Gea enjoyed a faultless display, repelling several testing Black Cats shots, which increased in frequency as the game wore on, and handling numerous crosses with ease. The Spaniard will be frustrated that his efforts did not lead to a clean sheet, but he could do little about Fraizer Campbell's goal.
Phil Jones came in at right-back and was typically strong and bullish in defence, outmuscling James McClean several times, as well as providing a useful attacking outlet down the flank in only his sixth appearance of the season.
Tom Cleverley buzzed around in a dominant midfield two with Michael Carrick, who also deserves a mention for a classy performance which ended when he came off at the break. Energetic Cleverley took his goal superbly and was rightfully appreciated by United's fans when he was replaced with 20 minutes left.
Ashley Young picked up where he left off in the Manchester derby and was a constant threat down the left for the Reds. The winger set up the opener for Robin van Persie, was heavily involved in Wayne Rooney's goal and was the catalyst for several other openings.
Robin van Persie's touch, control and hold-up play were a joy to behold and he took his 15th goal of the campaign in his usual clinical fashion. He foxed two Sunderland defenders brilliantly to set up Rooney's tap-in and the only surprise was that he didn't add to his own personal tally.