Premier League | Old Trafford | Mon Dec 26, 2016 (Boxing Day) | Attendance: 75,325 | Scorers: Blind 39th minute, Ibrahimovic 82nd minute, Mkhitaryan 86th minute; Borini 90+1 minutes
9-3-6, 2nd Group A
H. Mkhitaryan, 86′ Z. Ibrahimovic, 82′ D. Blind 39′
4-12-2, Premier League
F. Borini 90’+1′
Since the Premier League era began, Manchester United have been the best performing side in the English football league on Boxing Day, with 18 wins, two draws and just two defeats. Manchester United’s growing confidence and momentum were enhanced further on Dec 26, 2016 (Boxing Day) as Sunderland were dismantled in a fourth successive Premier League victory for Jose Mourinho’s men – of course, in the Theater of Dreams.
Daley Blind (photo: 3rd from left), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (photo: 2nd from left) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the goals to clearly dismantle Sunderland 3-1 in a most decisive victory. It’s pertinent to recall that since the start of November, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored seven Premier League goals from only eight shots on target, and Paul Pogba was so impressive in his all-round midfield play, and I was so impressed with the talented Frenchman.
1ST HALH GOAL – DALEY BLIND
39th minute: Goal! Daley Blind collects Ibrahimovic’s pass and rifles in the opener! 40th minute: United lead 1-0 thanks to Blind’s assured finish, arriving on to Ibrahimovic’s well-timed pass and beating Pickford in style. It’s the Dutchman’s first goal of the season.
Mourinho made two changes to his starting XI. Juan Mata replaced the slightly injured captain Wayne Rooney. David Moyes returned to Old Trafford and nothing serious happened except the dismantling of his men. Paul Pogba was so impressive in his all-round midfield play and I was so impressed with the talented Frenchman.
STATS AT HALF-TIME
Possession: United 66% Sunderland 34%
Total shots: United 11 Sunderland 6
Shots on target: United 3 Sunderland 3
Corners: United 3 Sunderland 2
During the exciting 2nd half, Ibrahimovic scored the 2nd goal in the 82nd minute and Mkhitaryan scored the 3rd goal to seal the dismantling of Sunderland in the 86th minute, while Borini scored a consolation goal for the Black Cats in the 90+1 minute of the encounter.
STATS AT FULL-TIME
Possession: United 63% Sunderland 37%
Total shots: United 25 Sunderland 7
Shots on target: United 9 Sunderland 4
Corners: United 5 Sunderland 5
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Blind; Carrick, Herrera (Fellaini 84), Pogba; Mata (Martial 74), Lingard, (Mkhitaryan 61), Ibrahimovic.
Subs not used: Romero, Darmian, Smalling, Rashford.
Sunderland: Pickford, Jones, van Aanholt, Djilobodji, Kone, Denayer, N’Dong (Love 86), Borini, Larsson (Khazri 83), Anichebe, Defoe.
Subs not used: Mannone, Asoro, O’Shea, Embleton, Honeyman.
Booked: Borini, Kone.
I must admit that Manchester United exhibited a brilliant footballing performance on Dec 26, 2016 (Boxing Day) and this gave me the inclination to call the United-Sunderland encounter a Premier League Boxing Day Goal Rush – slightly so!. In hindsight, Manchester United maintained their brilliant record on all Boxing Days, so far, as in the past since the inception of the Premier League era, but this was revealed ahead of facing Sunderland at Old Trafford.
Manchester United in effect have the best record in England on Boxing Days which boded well ahead of the Premier League fixture with Sunderland, today, at Old Trafford.
I’m most thrilled . . .
Up Man U!