Manchester United player ratings from 3-1 victory over Sunderland at Old Trafford

Manchester United player ratings from 3-1 victory over Sunderland at Old Trafford

Goals from Daley Blind, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan secured a comfortable three points for the Red devils.

ryan-fisher
Ryan Fisher

Manchester United beat Sunderland 3-1 at Old Trafford as Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored a glorious scorpion kick.

Black Cats boss David Moyes endured an unhappy return to the Theatre of Dreams as Daley Blind and Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted for the Red devils.

Jose Mourinho's men have now won four in a row in the league, and five in a row in all competitions.

United haven't lost since the 2-1 defeat against Fenerbahce in early November, and haven't been beaten in the league since the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea in late October.

The defence

Goalkeeper - David de Gea - 8: The Spaniard was much more of a spectator than his opposite number, Jordan Pickford, but that isn't to say he had nothing to do. He smartly dealt with efforts from Jermain Defoe and Victor Anichebe from close range, displaying great composure, before denying Fabio Borini from outside the area. De Gea was left motionless as Borini struck from range in the 90th minute, as the shot was placed so well in the corner, there was very little he could've done about it. 

Right-back - Antonio Valencia - 8: The Ecuadorian has established himself as first-choice right-back and is revelling in the confidence being shown in him by Mourinho. His power and strength was evident as he nullified a pretty toothless Sunderland attack consistently throughout the game. As always, Valencia was one of United's most fruitful attacking outlets, as his explorations down the right regularly troubled left-back Patrick van Aanholt.

Centre-back - Phil Jones - 9: Jones' return to the side has been nothing short of spectacular. Another solid display from the young Englishman will significantly lessen the impact of the loss of Eric Bailly to the African Cup of Nations. Faced with the tricky task of keeping in-form Sunderland strikers Anichebe and Defoe at bay, Jones dealt with them seemlessly, very rarely seeming flustered or troubled.

Centre-back - Marcos Rojo - 8: Rojo has looked far more settled at centre-back than at full-back, reinforced by another solid showing at Old Trafford. Like Jones, it was very rare that Rojo was troubled by the threat of the Sunderland attack, which often fizzled out into nothing. The Argentinian's distribution has been a major improvement in his game throughout this run in the side, as he often kickstarted attacks from the back.

Left-back - Daley Blind - 9: Blind regained his place having missed out in recent weeks to Matteo Darmian and truly capitalised. Blind exposed the defensive weakness of the right-hand side of Sunderland as he roamed forward at will, often putting in dangerous crosses. He opened the scoring late in the first half with a very tidy slotted finish that took the edge of a restless Old Trafford crowd.

The midfield

Defensive midfielder - Michael Carrick - 7: United's lucky charm lived up to his title yet again as Carrick oversaw another United victory. The veteran's ability to blend in and so calmly control the game without standing out is uncanny in the modern game. Very rarely was he troubled by a very flat and uninspiring Sunderland midfield.

Centre-midfielder - Ander Herrera - 7: The Spaniard was given far more licence to roam forward by Sunderland's monotonous midfield, and he seized this chance by regularly strolling up the pitch and contributing to attacks. His usual break-up play wasn't required to the extent as it usually is, so his creativity shined through as his interplay really aided attacking progression, more so in the first half than the second.

Centre-midfielder - Paul Pogba - 9: The Frenchman put in a man of the match display on Boxing Day as he controlled the game. Pogba was the epicentre of everything good United did throughout the match, even nullifying the threat of the Sunderland frontmen on numerous occasions. He could've bagged himself a hat-trick as he struck the post, and missed narrowly either side of the bar, as he regularly troubled Pickford. His passing range was exemplary for the full 90 minutes and pressed the Sunderland midfield to exhaustion. He set up the second United goal as he dispossessed Didier Ndong and slotted through Ibrahimovic to seal the three points.

Right-winger - Juan Mata - 6: The Spaniard replaced the injured skipper Wayne Rooney but was largely ineffective down the right-hand side. As is his style, Mata often drifted infield where he is most effective. This negated his impact as the centre of the field was very congested and he vacated the wing positon where Sunderland were very weak.

Left-winger - Jesse Lingard - 6: Lingard couldn't back up his outstanding display against West Brom with another at Old Trafford. He too was far too willing to drift, thus leaving just his full-back to attack the weary Sunderland wide defenders. His interplay with the attackers was promising but led to very little.

Striker - Zlatan Ibrahimovic - 8: The big Swede struggled to impact the game as he usually does, as he was often isolated in the first half, needing to drop back to get himself into the game. Despite these struggles, Ibrahimovic managed to bag himself two assists and a goal at the Theatre of Dreams. His pass to Blind was perfectly weighted for the Dutchman to slot home, and his cross in the perfect place for Mkhitaryan to deliver his stunning scorpion kick which erupted the Stretford End. His goal was taken with typical ease and grace as Pogba served him a Christmas treat that he simply couldn't resist.

The substitutes 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan - 8: The Armenian continues to go from strength to strength in a United shirt as he made a triumphant return from injury. Mkhitaryan added another dimension the United attack after he replaced Lingard, and often sprinted forward and dragged defenders out of position to create chances. His return was capped off by a truly spectacular scorpion kick, which instantly went down as a goal of the season contender.

Anthony Martial - 6: The Frenchman returned to fitness with an uninspiring display from the bench. He added pace and counter attacking ability to the United side but was largely ineffective in his play.

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