Kept United at bay with a number of smart saves, particularly from Buttner, but could do nothing as Van Persie's whipped cross deflected off Bramble and past him. Kept the score respectable with further saves from the Dutch pair.
Playing just his third league game of 2013, the ex-United man was targeted throughout by his former club and struggled against Young and Buttner, particularly with most of the visitor's good openings coming from his flank.
Had a job on his hands in the first half to keep the Sunderland defence together as United swarmed forward in the hunt for goals. Looked calm and composed after the break as the hosts got more into the game and kept Van Persie from causing further damage.
Clumsily thrashed at Van Persie's cross to score the only goal of the game at the wrong end and almost repeated the trick from a Buttner cross in the second half. Out-muscled United attackers on occasion, but often had O'Shea to thank for mopping up after him.
Rarely troubled by Valencia for the most part and supported McClean where possible, but couldn't quite influence things from the left wing as he often does for the Black Cats.
Quickly moved to an anchoring role to keep Kagawa quiet and the switch worked to a certain extent. Although United scored, they struggled to create much afterwards, with the towering Senegalese man stopping a lot.
Chased back in a committed manner but completely let himself down in attack. Too often looked to beat a man more than once, running into blind alleys and losing impetus.
Couldn't threaten from either flank much as he struggled to take on his man with any real conviction but delivered a couple of dangerous in-swinging corners from the right. Ultimately a hugely frustrating afternoon and he was replaced by Wickham with 15 to go.
Tried to keep Carrick occupied, regularly snapping into the England man while on the ball, while also looking to prompt his own side's attacks, although much of his distribution was sideways.
The Benin man had a shocker, constantly looking to dribble through United, while his passing was largely atrocious. Failed to track back when positioned on the right wing, much to the annoyance of several colleagues.
Toiled up front and closed down the United defence where he could but found himself isolated for much of the game and could not offer much in an attacking sense.
Scuffed an early clearance straight to Graham, but had absolutely nothing else to do in the first half. Was tested slightly more after the break and proved many critics wrong by dealing magnificently with a string of crosses and high balls.
Kept McClean fairly quiet on the left, but was forced off in the 32nd minute with a groin injury and was replaced by Jonny Evans with Smalling switching to right-back.
Worked up and down the right wing, ensuring the threat of McClean was kept to a minimum, but could rarely get the better of Rose at the other end as his fairly mediocre campaign meanders on.
Pulled up with an apparent injury in just the second minute, but shook it off comfortably enough to turn in a fine performance despite Graham constantly nipping around him.
Bombed on down the left incessantly and stumbled into a one-on-one opening in the 12th minute, although Mignolet was out quickly to smother. Kept an eye on his defensive duties too, working back to quell Johnson and Sessegnon.
Started alongside captain Vidic before moving to the right after Rafael's withdrawal and showed no signs of fatigue, despite playing twice for England in the international break.
Linked the visitors' attacks together magnificently in the first half, despite being shadowed by N'Diaye, dropping into pockets of space and dinking clever balls to his team-mates. Faded slightly after the break and was replaced by Welbeck.
Combined with Buttner well on the left, but could not provide a sustained threat over the 90 minutes, often letting the Dutchman charge past him and take up the attacking mantle.
Recycled the ball excellently throughout and was the launch-pad for all of United's good play in the first half. Had to show the opposite side of his game after the break and excelled there too, tackling well, while heading away a number of corners and crosses.
Put in a good shift alongside Carrick, closing down the Sunderland midfield and ensuring there was little space to manoeuvre around the edge of the area. Withdrawn for Cleverley late on.
R. van Persie
Utilised in a slightly more supportive role than usual, holding the ball up and bringing team-mates into play but forced the opening goal as he teased Bardsley before firing the ball across goal with Bramble haplessly turning into his own net.