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August 24, 2014
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 43217
J. Rodwell 30'
My name's Ben Cullimore and it's been an absolute pleasure describing the action to you today. Until next time, goodbye!
As for Sunderland, they will be absolutely delighted with the point, as it sets them up wonderfully for back-to-back games against Queens Park Rangers and Burnley, both of which Gus Poyet will be confident about winning. Louis Van Gaal's dejected Manchester United side now travel to Burnley for their next Premier League clash on Saturday, before they too face Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford in three weeks' time. On paper, these are games that they should easily win, but, as we have come to expect, there are no easy games for the post-Alex Ferguson Manchester United.
Manchester United's poor start to the season continues after another disappointing performance today. Despite going ahead first through a well-worked goal, they struggled for the majority of the game, both in attack and in defence. Their inexperienced back three - made even more so by the injury suffered by Smalling in the first half - looked out of their depth when Sunderland piled pressure on them, whilst, despite boasting Mata, Rooney and Van Persie, they looked bereft of any ideas in the final third of the pitch. Sunderland were able to sit back and soak up the pressure before hitting them on the counter attack, and Manchester United found it difficult to deal with such a well-organised defence.
FULL-TIME: SUNDERLAND 1-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
90' + 3'
One last attack for Manchester United. Valencia tries to fire two consecutive crosses into the box but both are cleared by the Sunderland defence. The latter of the two ends up at the feet of Januzaj but his long-range effort goes well wide of the goal.
90' + 1'
Altidore steals the ball deep inside the Sunderland half of the pitch and embarks on a marauding run forward, skipping through a plethora of Manchester United defenders before Jones finally dispossesses him on the edge of the penalty area.
The fourth official has indicated that there will be four minutes of added time.
Manchester United continue to push for a late winner but they still can't seem to find a way through the Sunderland back line.
Sunderland almost concede a disastrously comical late goal but they are just about able to atone for their mistakes at the last moment. A deep cross is headed back towards Mannone but it bounces just short of the goalkeeper, leaving him scampering around on the floor looking for the ball. However, the Sunderland defence finally clear it just before Manchester United are able to bundle it into the back of the net.
Cattermole and Wickham link up with a great one-two on the edge of the Manchester United penalty area but Valencia is just about able to deny Cattermole the opportunity to continue his run through on goal.
Again, Sunderland sloppily lose possession and Manchester United break away on a swift counter attack. However, as has been the case for the majority of the game, the visitors are unable to make it count and the attack ends up breaking down as quickly as it started.
O'Shea loses possession midway inside the Sunderland half and Januzaj tries to set up Welbeck with a quick through-ball, but his distribution is poor and it misses its intended target by some distance.
Manchester United are looking more confident in attack but are still letting themselves down when it comes to the final ball. With just 10 minutes left to play, Sunderland don't look in any danger of conceding another goal.
Great goalkeeping by Mannone! Welbeck finds Young in acres of space down the left flank with a great ball from the opposite wing, but Mannone rushes out of his goal and cuts out the danger before the Manchester United winger is able to get a shot away.
Altidore comes on for Steven Fletcher and almost immediately sets up Buckley with a fantastic through-ball, but it's cut out at the last moment and Manchester United breathe a sigh of relief.
Larsson almost puts Sunderland 2-1 up with a cracking shot from the resulting set-piece but it curls just wide of the post.
Keane takes down Gomez just outside the Manchester United penalty area, with the Spanish midfielder spinning in the air before tumbling theatrically to the ground to earn his side a free-kick in a dangerous position.
Manchester United have dominated possession since the start of the second half, with 60% compared to Sunderland's 40%, but they still look bereft of ideas in the final third of the pitch.
Worrying moments for Manchester United at the back. Wickham takes advantage of poor defending and sets up Larsson on the edge of the penalty area but his strike is blocked by the outstretched leg of Januzaj.
Cattermole attempts to break away on a swift counter attack after winning possession deep inside the Sunderland half of the pitch, but he's clattered by Cleverley and the Manchester United midfielder earns himself a yellow card.
Yellow Card Tom Cleverley
A great corner is sent in to the centre of the penalty area and it finds Vergini, who is virtually unmarked near the penalty spot, but his half-volley clears the bar.
Mata brings down Vergini 30 yards out and gifts Sunderland with a free kick. Larsson attempts to whip the resulting set-piece into the heart of the penalty area but it's sent out for a corner.
Robin van Persie
Two penalty shouts in quick succession for Manchester United. First, Van Persie is brought down just inside the box by Vergini, but nothing is given, before Young is seemingly bundled over by Brown just moments later. Young pleads for a spot-kick but is instead awarded with a yellow card for simulation.
Yellow Card Ashley Young
A great pass by Darren Fletcher finds Van Persie, who tees up Mata with a deft through-ball, but the Spaniards first touch is poor and Mannone is able to comfortably collect the ball.
It looks as if Welbeck will be coming on shortly, as Van Gaal is clearly disappointed with what he has seen in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.
The Sunderland defence have been fantastic so far. Manchester United have had plenty of the ball but time after time they have failed to find a way through the hosts' resolute back four.
Again, Manchester United take their time working their way towards the Sunderland goal but, like the last effort, the attack breaks down. This time, Valencia attempts to send a deep cross in from the right flank but it's far too long and it fails to find any of the blue shirts inside the box.
Promising build-up play by Manchester United but once again it fails to lead to a chance on goal. Instead, Sunderland win the ball back and break away on an attack of their own, but they too take far too long on the ball and Manchester United regain possession deep inside their own half.
Agonisingly close for Sunderland! Poor defending by Manchester United gifts Wickham a great chance to volley Sunderland into the lead, but his shot is blocked by Blackett and the ball rolls just wide of the near post and out for a corner.
Manchester United break away on another attack, this time down the left wing. Young is presented with a great opportunity to fire the ball into the heart of the Sunderland penalty area but his attempted cross is poor and it's only able to find the arms of Mannone.
Manchester United start the second half with patient build-up play down both wings. The ball finally ends up with Van Persie on the edge of the penalty area but the Dutchman is in an offside position, bringing an end to the attack.
And we're off once again!
The teams are making their way back out onto the pitch ahead of the start of the second half. Neither side have made any changes during the break.
It will be interesting to see what changes Van Gaal makes at half-time. Against Swansea City, he adopted a back four for the second half of the game and achieved temporary success with it, so he may decide to do the same here to avoid his side going behind once again.
Just like last weekend, Manchester United looked nervy in possession throughout the first half and continue to struggle in the final third of the pitch. Brief spells of good attacking play have been undone by sloppiness in midfield, whilst their back three are finding themselves under a serious amount of pressure when Sunderland push forward.
HALF-TIME: SUNDERLAND 1-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
45' + 2'
Sunderland embark on one last attack of the first half but Vergini's cross from the right wing is poor, sailing over all of the red and white shirts congregating in the Manchester United penalty area and out for a throw-in.
The fourth official has indicated that there will be two minutes of added time.
Smalling has been struggling with an injury for most of the first half and Van Gaal has finally been forced to take him off, with youngster Keane coming on to replace him.
Steven Fletcher tries to fire Sunderland back into the lead with an acrobatic overhead kick in front of goal but his effort is slightly mistimed, sending it well wide of the goal. Still, it was worth a go!
Jones breaks away down the right flank before teeing up Mata, who sends a long ball over to Young on the opposite wing. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, his teammate's control is poor and the ball goes out of play.
A good period of Manchester United possession is brought to a premature end by Van Aanholt, who dives in to Valencia to dispossess the Ecuadorian before earning his side a throw-in.
Blackett shows his strength and outmuscles Buckley near the cornerflag to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick. Sunderland were in a good position to push for a second goal but the Manchester United youngster showed great determination to deny them the opportunity to do so.
The visitors are awarded another free-kick, this time 25 yards out and almost directly in front of goal. Rooney tries to curl it over the wall and into the top left hand corner of the net but it flies just past the post.
Manchester United earn themselves a free-kick in a dangerous position near the corner flag on the right flank but Mata's attempt to send the ball into the heart of the penalty area is poor and it fails to trouble the Sunderland defence.
Assist Sebastian Larsson
Goal Jack Rodwell
GOAL! What a header by Rodwell! The former Manchester City man takes advantage of poor Manchester United marking and heads in from a corner to put his side back on level terms.
Sunderland are finding a lot of success down the right wing. This time, a combination of Buckley and Larsson beat both Cleverley and Young before earning their side yet another corner.
Steven Fletcher tussles with Smalling on the left wing and earns his side a throw-in, which Van Aanholt quickly takes and sends into the path of Wickham. Wickham loses his marker and fires in a shot from 25 yards out but it goes just wide of De Gea's right post.
Young whips in a deep cross that Brown is forced to head out of play for a corner near the back post. Mata sends the resulting set-piece into the middle of the box but it's easily cleared away and up the pitch, where Cleverley mistimes his attempted pass and sends the ball out for a Sunderland throw-in.
After a frantic start, the pace of the game seems to have slowed down somewhat. Manchester United look more assured in possession now than they did in the opening moments but they are still finding it difficult to deal with Sunderland when they decide to press high up the pitch.
Again, Sunderland break down the right flank but this time the move ends in a clash between Steven Fletcher and Smalling on the edge of the penalty area. Fletcher kicks out in frustration and catches the Manchester United defender's legs but referee Martin Atkinson refuses to brandish a card.
Vergini tries to break down the wing in an attempt to get Sunderland back on level terms but Blackett is there to make sure that the ball goes out for a goal-kick.
Goal Juan Mata
GOAL! Completely against the run of play, Manchester United find themselves 1-0 up. Valencia shows great skill to beat Van Aanholt down the right flank before whipping in a lovely low cross towards the back post, where Mata is unmarked and able to tap the ball in from a yard out.
Buckley breaks away on a fantastic counter-attack down the right wing and sends a great ball across to Wickham in front of goal. He sets himself up and shoots towards the bottom right corner of the goal but the effort is weak and De Gea is easily able to gather the ball.
Sunderland win another free-kick in virtually the same position to the last one, this time as a result of a mistimed tackle by Cleverley on Buckley. This time, Larsson sends the ball into the heart of the penalty area, but the plethora of blue shirts are able to deal with the danger.
A poor challenge by Young on Buckley results in a free-kick for Sunderland in a dangerous position on the right wing. The resulting set-piece is sent to Cattermole on the edge of the penalty area but his rocket of a shot hits the wall of blue shirts in front of him and bounces away from the box.
Larsson loses the ball in the middle of the pitch, allowing Manchester United to regain possession. They knock the ball around by the centre circle before Blackett attempts to send a long ball forward towards Rooney, but it's horribly wayward and instead ends up in the arms of Mannone.
Lovely one-two play between Van Persie and Rooney on the edge of the Sunderland penalty area almost leads to another chance on goal for the visitors but the Dutchman's final pass towards his captain is cut out by a red and white shirt.
Manchester United push forward and try to carve open a chance but Mata's pass towards Van Persie is slightly too heavy and it rolls out of play for a goal-kick.
Great chance for Sunderland! Cattermole decides to test De Gea from 25 yards out and his long-range effort goes just wide of the Spaniard's goal.
It's been a slightly nervy start for Manchester United in these opening few minutes. They look susceptible to swift counter attacking moves by Sunderland and they are struggling to deal with the hosts down the wings.
Almost a disastrous start for the visitors! A wayward pass by Young gifts the ball to Wickham but the Manchester United back three are just about able to deal with the danger before De Gea boots the ball upfield.
And we're off! Manchester United get us underway, kicking from right-to-left.
The teams are making their way out onto the pitch ahead of kick-off. The atmosphere at the Stadium of Light is fantastic, with the home fans in fine voice.
As expected, Louis Van Gaal has made three changes to the Manchester United side that lost against Swansea City last weekend, with Valencia and Cleverley coming in for the injured Lingard and Herrera, whilst Hernandez drops to the substitutes' bench to be replaced by Van Persie.
Gus Poyet has decided to make two changes to the side that drew against West Bromwich Albion last Saturday, with Vergini replacing Roberge in defence and Johnson making way in midfield for Buckley, who is making his first start for the club since his move from Brighton & Hove Albion 10 days ago.
Manchester United substitutes: Amos, James, Keane, Kagawa, Januzaj, Welbeck, Hernandez.
Manchester United XI (3-4-1-2): De Gea; Blackett, Smalling, Jones; Young, Cleverley, Fletcher, Valencia; Mata; Van Persie, Rooney.
Sunderland substitutes: Pantilimon, Jones, Bridcutt, Gomez, Altidore, Mavrias, Roberge.
Sunderland XI (4-1-4-1): Mannone; Vergini, Brown, O'Shea, Van Aanholt; Cattermole; Buckley, Rodwell, Larsson, Wickham; Fletcher.
There's just over 15 minutes left to go until kick-off, so let's have a look at how the two teams will be lining up today…
As for Sunderland, they were saved from tasting defeat on the opening day by Larsson, who scored in the 85th minute to steal a 2-2 draw for the Black Cats away to West Bromwich Albion. With Manchester United's struggles showing no signs of subsiding anytime soon, Gus Poyet will be confident about his side's chances of piling further misery on Louis Van Gaal today.
Life under Louis Van Gaal got off to a poor start last weekend, as his Manchester United side suffered a defeat at home on the opening day of the season for the first time since 1972. They were beaten 2-1 by Swansea City in a game which highlighted that there are still several areas that need to be improved - and quickly - if Manchester United are going to have any chance whatsoever of challenging for a top four finish this season.
Good afternoon and welcome to our live text commentary of today's Premier League clash between Sunderland and Manchester United. My name is Ben Cullimore and I will be keeping you up-to-date with all of the action from the Stadium of Light.
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