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Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Sunday, 26 December 2010

Man Utd   2 - 0   Sunderland

Berbatov (centre) plants a downward heard past keeper Gordon to open the scoring
Berbatov plants a downward heard past keeper Gordon to open the scoring

By Ian Hughes

Dimitar Berbatov scored twice as Manchester United eased past Sunderland to stay firmly in control of the Premier League title race.

The Bulgarian headed home Wayne Rooney's cross early on and United dominated the match from that moment.

Berbatov also hit the post with a drive and Anderson crashed a shot against the bar as United created chances at will.

After the break, Berbatov made it 2-0 with a deflected shot from just inside the box to wrap up a comfortable win.

With Arsenal and Chelsea meeting each other on Monday, league leaders United went into the game looking to increase the pressure on their London rivals by extending their points advantage over them.

That they did just that will have delighted boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who stated on Christmas Eve that the title race was a three-way battle between his side and those two teams from the capital.

Phelan praises Anderson display

Manchester City would argue they are also involved, having secured a Boxing Day win over Newcastle to move into second place, two points behind their neighbours - although they have played two games more.

But there can be little doubt that United hold the ascendancy at the moment as they swept aside a Sunderland team that somehow survived an opening salvo that could have put Ferguson's men way out of reach before half-time.

Berbatov - who had been restored to the starting line-up, along with Ryan Giggs - gave United the lead inside five minutes.

Giggs was instrumental in the build-up, bursting through the midfield before laying the ball off for Rooney, who crossed to the far post for Berbatov to dispatch.

Sunderland, who have kept nine clean sheets this season but were always likely to struggle without seven first-team regulars, had no chance to regroup.

An onslaught ensued, with Giggs and Rooney at the heart of it, but somehow United could not double their advantage.

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Rooney went close with an exquisite chip that drifted just wide before Berbatov went even closer with a fierce effort that cannoned back off the post.

Anderson then cracked a drive against the bar, Rooney failed to properly connect with a shot from inside the box and Berbatov slammed an effort into the side netting.

As Sunderland clung on, keeper Craig Gordon did well to block a Giggs shot with his legs and later, Anderson fired wide before the Brazilian also wasted a chance when a poor touch robbed him off a shooting chance.

Straight after the interval Sunderland managed their first meaningful effort on goal when Asamoah Gyan blasted over from the angle.

It was not to be the start of a Sunderland comeback, however, as United hit back.

A brilliant block by Anton Ferdinand kept out Andersen's shot but shortly afterwards United got the goal their play had deserved.

Bruce applauds 'impressive' Man Utd

Andersen played a superb disguised pass to Berbatov and this time Anton Ferdinand was unlucky as the shot was deflected in off his body.

Berbatov looking for his hat-trick - and what would be his 15th goal of the season - continued to press and he tested Gordon with a smart volley on the turn after flicking the ball up for himself.

With 12 minutes remaining Sunderland managed to get a shot on target for the first time but United keeper Edwin van der Sar was easily equal to Boudewijn Zenden's effort.

The home side were happy to play possession football after that and closed out the game with ease - keeping plenty in reserve while sending out a clear signal of their intent to regain their title.


Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Man Utd 2-0 Sunderland FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Berbatov 5
  • Berbatov 57

    Man Utd

    Substitutes

    Sunderland

    Substitutes

    Ref: DowdAtt: 75,269
    MAN UTD
    SUNDERLAND

    Possession

    • Man Utd 50%
    • Sunderland 50%

    Attempts on target

    • Man Utd 10
    • Sunderland 2

    Attempts off target

    • Man Utd 5
    • Sunderland 4

    Corners

    • Man Utd 5
    • Sunderland 3

    Fouls

    • Man Utd 9
    • Sunderland 10
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+3:14 The referee brings the game to a close.
    • 90:00+1:37 Goal kick taken long by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 90:00+0:53 Foul by Marcos Angeleri (Sunderland) on Wayne Rooney (Man Utd). Free kick taken right-footed by Darron Gibson (Man Utd) from left channel, resulting in open play.
    • 90:00+0:13 Foul by Cristian Riveros (Sunderland) on Javier Hernandez (Man Utd). Free kick taken right-footed by Ji-Sung Park (Man Utd) from right channel, resulting in open play.
    • 87:47 Substitution Sunderland substitution: Boudewijn Zenden replaced by Marcos Angeleri (tactical).
    • 87:36 Goal kick taken long by Edwin Van der Sar (Man Utd).
    • 87:28 Shot by Ahmed Elmohamady (Sunderland) right-footed from right channel (18 yards), over the bar.
    • 83:00 Foul by Rafael Da Silva (Man Utd) on Jordan Cook (Sunderland). Free kick taken right-footed by Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland) from left wing, resulting in open play.
    • 82:50 Defending throw-in by Rafael Da Silva (Man Utd).
    • 82:28 Goal kick taken long by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 81:28 Substitution Man Utd substitution: Dimitar Berbatov replaced by Javier Hernandez (tactical).
    • 81:14 Substitution Sunderland substitution: Steed Malbranque replaced by Jordan Cook (tactical).
    • 78:12 Shot by Boudewijn Zenden (Sunderland) left-footed from right channel (30 yards), comfortable save (caught) by Edwin Van der Sar (Man Utd).
    • 73:46 Attacking throw-in by Patrice Evra (Man Utd).
    • 72:05 Foul by David Meyler (Sunderland) on Rafael Da Silva (Man Utd). Free kick taken right-footed by Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd) from right channel, resulting in open play.
    • 72:05 Booking David Meyler (Sunderland) booked for unsporting behaviour.
    • 70:21 Foul by David Meyler (Sunderland) on Ji-Sung Park (Man Utd). Free kick taken right-footed by Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd) from right channel, resulting in open play.
    • Correction - 69:45 Shot by Dimitar Berbatov. Save by Craig Gordon.
    • 69:45 Shot by Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd) volleyed right-footed from left side of penalty area (12 yards), save (parried) by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 69:38 Cross by Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), clearance by Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland).
    • 68:16 Substitution Sunderland substitution: Darren Bent replaced by David Meyler (tactical).
    • 67:38 Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Jordan Henderson (Sunderland) to far post, shot by Darren Bent (Sunderland) overhead kick right-footed from centre of penalty area (6 yards), over the bar.
    • 67:23 Shot by Steed Malbranque (Sunderland) right-footed from left channel (18 yards), blocked by Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd).
    • 64:26 Shot by Darron Gibson (Man Utd) right-footed from right channel (20 yards), comfortable save (caught) by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 62:44 Substitution Man Utd substitution: Oliveira Anderson replaced by Darron Gibson (tactical).
    • 62:43 Substitution Man Utd substitution: Ryan Giggs replaced by Federico Macheda (tactical).
    • 62:33 Attacking throw-in by Rafael Da Silva (Man Utd).
    • 62:01 Defending throw-in by Patrice Evra (Man Utd).
    • 61:06 Foul by Cristian Riveros (Sunderland) on Oliveira Anderson (Man Utd). Free kick taken right-footed by Oliveira Anderson (Man Utd) from right channel, resulting in open play.
    • 60:16 Shot by Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd) right-footed from centre of penalty area (12 yards), blocked by Anton Ferdinand (Sunderland).
    • Correction - 56:54 Blocked by Anton Ferdinand.
    • 56:54 Assist by Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd) from right side of penalty area.
    • 56:54 GOAL - Anton FerdinandMan Utd 2 - 0 Sunderland Own goal by Anton Ferdinand (Sunderland) right-footed (top-right of goal) from own half (12 yards).Man Utd 2-0 Sunderland.
    • 56:54 Shot by Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd) curled right-footed from right side of penalty area (18 yards), blocked by Anton Ferdinand (Sunderland).
    • 55:55 Foul by Rafael Da Silva (Man Utd) on Darren Bent (Sunderland). Free kick taken right-footed by Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland) from own half, resulting in open play.
    • 54:54 Foul by Patrice Evra (Man Utd) on Boudewijn Zenden (Sunderland). Free kick taken left-footed by Craig Gordon (Sunderland) from own half, resulting in open play.
    • 53:55 Foul by Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland) on Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd). Free kick taken right-footed by Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd) from left channel, resulting in open play.
    • 53:42 Shot by Oliveira Anderson (Man Utd) right-footed from centre of penalty area (12 yards), blocked by Anton Ferdinand (Sunderland).
    • 52:40 Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) caught offside. Free kick taken left-footed by Craig Gordon (Sunderland) from own half, resulting in open play.
    • 51:45 Outswinging corner from left by-line taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs (Man Utd) to centre, header by Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd) from centre of penalty area (6 yards), comfortable save (caught) by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 50:33 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken left-footed by Boudewijn Zenden (Sunderland) to centre, clearance by Ryan Giggs (Man Utd).
    • 50:19 Cross by Boudewijn Zenden (Sunderland), blocked by Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd).
    • 49:39 Foul by Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) on Nedum Onuoha (Sunderland). Free kick taken left-footed by Craig Gordon (Sunderland) from own half, resulting in open play.
    • 49:02 Attacking throw-in by Ahmed Elmohamady (Sunderland).
    • 47:11 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs (Man Utd) to centre, clearance by Steed Malbranque (Sunderland).
    • 46:53 Foul by Nedum Onuoha (Sunderland) on Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd). Free kick taken left-footed by Oliveira Anderson (Man Utd) from left channel, resulting in open play.
    • 46:46 Goal kick taken long by Edwin Van der Sar (Man Utd).
    • 46:35 Shot by Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland) left-footed from left side of penalty area (6 yards), over the bar.
    • 45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
    • 45:00+1:14 The match has reached half-time.
    • Half Time
    • 44:44 Shot by Steed Malbranque (Sunderland) left-footed from left channel (25 yards), resulting in open play.
    • 44:27 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken left-footed by Boudewijn Zenden (Sunderland) to near post, clearance by Patrice Evra (Man Utd).
    • 44:02 Cross by Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland), clearance by Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd).
    • 42:52 Attacking throw-in by Wayne Rooney (Man Utd).
    • 42:05 Shot by Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) right-footed from left side of penalty area (12 yards), save (caught) by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 41:41 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs (Man Utd) to centre, save (punched) by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 40:57 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs (Man Utd) to centre, clearance by Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland).
    • 39:53 Shot by Oliveira Anderson (Man Utd) left-footed from right channel (25 yards), missed left.
    • 38:36 Foul by Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) on Nedum Onuoha (Sunderland). Free kick taken left-footed by Craig Gordon (Sunderland) from own half, resulting in open play.
    • 35:47 Darren Bent (Sunderland) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Rafael Da Silva (Man Utd) from own half, resulting in open play.
    • 34:21 Defending throw-in by Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland).
    • 33:33 Defending throw-in by Patrice Evra (Man Utd).
    • 33:11 Attacking throw-in by Patrice Evra (Man Utd).
    • 29:37 Defending throw-in by Ahmed Elmohamady (Sunderland).
    • 27:18 Defending throw-in by Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland).
    • 26:58 Attacking throw-in by Rafael Da Silva (Man Utd).
    • 25:05 Attacking throw-in by Ahmed Elmohamady (Sunderland).
    • 24:35 Defending throw-in by Ahmed Elmohamady (Sunderland).
    • 22:08 Booking Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland) booked for unsporting behaviour.
    • 22:01 Foul by Boudewijn Zenden (Sunderland) on Patrice Evra (Man Utd). Free kick taken left-footed by Oliveira Anderson (Man Utd) from own half, resulting in open play.
    • 21:08 Defending throw-in by Patrice Evra (Man Utd).
    • 19:55 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Ryan Giggs (Man Utd) to centre, comfortable save (caught) by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 19:38 Shot by Ryan Giggs (Man Utd) right-footed from right side of penalty area (12 yards), save (tipped over) by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 18:48 Goal kick taken long by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 18:39 Shot by Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd) right-footed from right side of penalty area (12 yards), missed right.
    • Correction - 17:28 Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save made by Craig Gordon.
    • 17:28 Shot by Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) right-footed from right channel (18 yards), save (caught) by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 16:45 Foul by Ryan Giggs (Man Utd) on Boudewijn Zenden (Sunderland). Free kick taken left-footed by Craig Gordon (Sunderland) from own half, resulting in open play.
    • 16:37 Cross by Ryan Giggs (Man Utd), clearance by Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland).
    • 15:59 Attacking throw-in by Patrice Evra (Man Utd).
    • 15:30 Handball by Boudewijn Zenden (Sunderland). Free kick taken left-footed by Patrice Evra (Man Utd) from own half, resulting in open play.
    • 14:57 Foul by Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) on Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland). Free kick taken left-footed by Craig Gordon (Sunderland) from own half, resulting in open play.
    • 14:33 Shot by Oliveira Anderson (Man Utd) left-footed from left side of penalty area (18 yards),
    • 11:37 Foul by Oliveira Anderson (Man Utd) on Jordan Henderson (Sunderland). Free kick taken right-footed by Jordan Henderson (Sunderland) from right channel, resulting in open play.
    • 10:00 Shot by Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd) right-footed from left side of penalty area (18 yards),
    • 9:28 Goal kick taken long by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 9:11 Shot by Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) right-footed from right channel (20 yards), missed left.
    • 8:16 Goal kick taken long by Craig Gordon (Sunderland).
    • 7:11 Handball by Ji-Sung Park (Man Utd). Free kick taken left-footed by Craig Gordon (Sunderland) from own half, resulting in open play.
    • 6:29 Foul by Steed Malbranque (Sunderland) on Ji-Sung Park (Man Utd). Free kick crossed left-footed by Ryan Giggs (Man Utd) from right wing, clearance by Ahmed Elmohamady (Sunderland).
    • 5:33 Foul by Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd) on Steed Malbranque (Sunderland). Free kick crossed left-footed by Boudewijn Zenden (Sunderland) from right channel, clearance by Rafael Da Silva (Man Utd).
    • 4:15 Assist (cross) by Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) from right side of penalty area.
    • 4:15 GOAL - Dimitar BerbatovMan Utd 1 - 0 Sunderland Headed goal by Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd) (bottom-left of goal) from left side of penalty area (6 yards).Man Utd 1-0 Sunderland.
    • 3:49 Foul by Cristian Riveros (Sunderland) on Ji-Sung Park (Man Utd). Free kick taken right-footed by Oliveira Anderson (Man Utd) from right channel, passed.
    • 3:02 Attacking throw-in by Rafael Da Silva (Man Utd).
    • 2:38 Defending throw-in by Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland).
    • 1:55 Defending throw-in by Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland).
    • 0:00 The match begins.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Barclays Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 26 Dec 2010 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Man Utd 17 22 37
    2 Man City 19 12 35
    3 Arsenal 17 15 32
    4 Chelsea 17 19 31
    5 Tottenham 18 4 30
    6 Bolton 19 7 29
    7 Sunderland 19 1 27
    8 Stoke 18 1 24
    9 Newcastle 18 -1 22
    10 Liverpool 17 -1 22
    11 Blackpool 16 -5 22
    12 West Brom 18 -7 22
    13 Blackburn 19 -7 22
    14 Everton 18 -1 21
    15 Aston Villa 18 -10 20
    16 Wigan 18 -14 19
    17 Birmingham 17 -3 18
    18 Fulham 18 -6 16
    19 West Ham 19 -13 16
    20 Wolves 18 -13 15

    see also
    Phelan praises Anderson display
    26 Dec 10 |  Man Utd
    Bruce applauds 'impressive' Man Utd
    26 Dec 10 |  Sunderland
    Ferguson sets Berbatov big target
    27 Dec 10 |  Premier League
    Boxing Day football as it happened
    26 Dec 10 |  Football
    Boxing Day football photos
    26 Dec 10 |  Football



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