Manchester United have leapfrogged rivals, Manchester City, into top spot in the Premier League with a routine 3-0 win over Sunderland in the Premier League clash at Old Trafford.
United came into the match knowing that a win would take them to the top of the table above neighbours Manchester City, who lost 4-1 at Tottenham Hotspur earlier on Saturday.
Unsurprisingly, they dominated the early pressure as Sunderland looked to sit back with 10 men behind the ball, but Juan Mata’s deflected shot from range was the only chance of note inside the first quarter of an hour.
The game began to open up as the half wore on and both goalkeepers were finally forced into action, first when Jeremain Lens saw his effort blocked by David de Gea before Costel Pantilimon turned Memphis Depay’s shot from the edge of the box over the crossbar.
Sunderland continued to work to stop United creating chances to take a lead into the interval, but their resistance was broken seconds before the whistle.
Daley Blind’s lofted ball over the top was knocked across goal by Mata and Memphis was on hand to tap home his fourth goal of the season to give Louis van Gaal’s side a barely-deserved advantage at the break.
Just as the hosts had scored 30 seconds before half-time, they doubled the lead a similar amount of time after the restart when Wayne Rooney broke his league scoring drought by turning in Mata’s cross at the near post.
De Gea saved with his feet from Ola Toivonen’s close-range effort and then denied Patrick van Aanholt as Sunderland looked for a response, but United should have added a third when the impressive Anthony Martial slipped in Memphis, who was denied by Pantilimon.
After setting up both goals, Mata got himself on the scoresheet when he added a late third with an emphatic finish after substitute Ashley Young had beaten Billy Jones on the left wing as United moved to the Premier League summit with a comfortable victory.