Berbatov double downs Cats

A Dimitar Berbatov double extended Manchester United's unbeaten run to 17 games as Sunderland were brushed aside 2-0 at Old Trafford.

Last Updated: 26/12/10 at 17:11 Post Comment

Berbatov: Two goals at Old Trafford

Berbatov: Two goals at Old Trafford

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Victory provided United with a healthy advantage at the summit over Arsenal and Chelsea, who meet at the Emirates Stadium on Monday, and nearest challengers Manchester City, who have played two games more.

And while Wayne Rooney's wait for a goal in open play goes on, Berbatov continues to fill the void superbly.

The much-criticised Bulgarian is now on 13 for the season, although his second did require a massive deflection off Anton Ferdinand after he had provided United with a fourth-minute opener in a one-sided contest.

It was almost beyond comprehension that United were not out of sight by half-time.

Not only had they scored an early goal, they had also struck the woodwork on two occasions, Wayne Rooney had twice come close to grabbing that elusive first goal in open play since March and both Berbatov and Ryan Giggs had threatened terror at every turn.

In response, under-strength Sunderland failed to muster a single shot.

Yet somehow Steve Bruce remained hopeful of if not gaining that long-awaited win over his old boss, at least not returning to Wearside empty-handed despite missing seven key men.

Berbatov had broken the deadlock in such simple fashion too.

Giggs' driving run through the Sunderland midfield caused the visitors a major headache.

When the veteran laid off a pass to Rooney, Berbatov was in space at the far post.

All his strike partner had to do was find him, which he did with a superb chipped cross which the Bulgarian powered home.

On his last start a month ago, Berbatov scored five and United bagged seven.

For a while it seemed a repeat was on the cards.

Rooney floated an excellent chip narrowly wide. Berbatov thudded a shot against the post. Anderson weaved his way into space on the edge of the area and curled a shot that beat Gordon but crashed down off the bar.

The Scotland keeper was relieved to see another Berbatov effort flash into the side-netting, then saved with his feet as Giggs threatened.

Amid all this, Rooney had let fly from the edge of the area and had Gordon scrambling to make the save.

Yet, as Phil Dowd blew his whistle to end the punishment, Sunderland had still only conceded once, knowing United had shown enough weakness earlier in the season to remain vulnerable.

As if to prove how precarious their position was, United's goal came under threat at the start of the second period.

First Steed Malbranque, then Asamoah Gyan tried their luck, the latter man blazing over with a volley from an acute angle.

The sense of foreboding was increasing amongst the home fans. But the worries were brought to an end when United benefited from a slice of luck they should not have needed.

With Rooney's overlapping run offering Berbatov space after Anderson had picked out the Bulgarian with a pass he delivered whilst appearing to look the other way, a shot was lined up for the right corner of Gordon's goal.

The keeper committed, Berbatov's effort then struck Anton Ferdinand, whose last-minute own goal in the corresponding fixture last year cost his side their first Old Trafford win since 1968.

This time, it was not so costly but the outcome was just the same as the goal doubled United's advantage.

Almost immediately, Ferguson replaced Anderson and Giggs with Darron Gibson and Federico Macheda.

Anderson did not look particularly impressed but a few consoling words from his manager, no doubt pointing out what lies ahead over the next fortnight, and a standing ovation from the Stretford End, seemed to cheer his mood.

Berbatov almost made it his third hat-trick of the season when he swivelled onto Gibson's wayward shot and let fly with a shot that a startled Gordon could not hold.

Boudewijn Zenden finally managed a shot on target for the Black Cats near the end, although by then, United were playing on autopilot anyway.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Sunday, 19 April 2015
16:00
Newcastle 1-3 Tottenham  
13:30
Man City 2-0 West Ham Report
Saturday, 18 April 2015
17:30
Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd  
15:00
C Palace 0-2 W Brom Report
Everton 1-0 Burnley Report
Leicester 2-0 Swansea Report
Stoke 2-1 So'ton Report
Monday, 13 April 2015
20:00
Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle Report
Sunday, 12 April 2015
16:00
Man Utd 4-2 Man City Report
13:30
QPR 0-1 Chelsea Report

Footer 365

Liverpool stay silent on rumours Jordan Henderson has signed five-year contract at club

Liverpool have declined to comment on reports midfielder Jordan Henderson has signed a new five-year deal at the club.

Tom Cleverley credits Tim Sherwood for turning around Villa's fortunes

Tom Cleverley says Aston Villa have been transformed by Tim Sherwood's attacking mentality.

Tottenham move perfect for me, says Dele Alli

Dele Alli is looking forward to getting his Tottenham career started and feels it will be good for him to work under Mauricio Pochettino.

Mail Box

Klopp Over Rodgers? Not On Your Nelly

Liverpool fans have short memories and should give Rodgers more time, while Jose's tactics and claims are getting many more in a stew. It's the afternoon Mailbox...

Thank You And Goodbye, Mr Rodgers

The genius of Tactics Tim, time is up for Rodgers, the curious case of Eric Lamela, and the flaws of tactical voting - today's Mailbox is bursting at the seams...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company