Once the chances of winning the Champions League were gone, it seemed that Manchester United fell out-of-love with the 2012-2013 season, and are trying to do the absolute minimum in order to secure the Premier League. Despite Robin van Persie in the worst form he’s been in for years, it’s working out pretty well for them.
Boring is probably what you’d call the atmosphere and the match as United needed a Titus Bramble own goal to win another match, making it 7 consecutive wins and 17 undefeated, the last loss coming in November 2012. Sunderland might not have been bored, fighting against relegation and sacking their manager after the match, but United are too good of a team, too focused, too concentrated and full of purpose to let these matches become stages for slip ups.
And once you go beyond the clinical, mistake-free work and passing of Michael Carrick, one of those secret “players of the season”, who along with Anderson (on his way out?) did an excellent job in the middle of the field to make it very hard for Sunderland (16th) to create any sort of chance against a more confident than ever David de Gea, seeing a defensive quarter of Vidic, Smalling, Buttner and Rafael standing in front of him. Not something he’s seen this season, but familiarity isn’t the only thing that matters anymore.
Up front was a little more worrying for United, although this isn’t the team that Ferguson is going to play against Chelsea in the FA Cup, probably one of the three matches left on the schedule that can spark some life and interest into his team in what remains of a boring Premier League when it comes to the title challenge.
Robin van Persie missed and missed. He has scored only one goal in United’s last 11, and the excellent form he showed for the Netherlands last week against Estonia and Romania didn’t really seep through to where he actually gets paid. United do have other tools at their disposal to score goals, but their poor form (regardless of the wins) during this stretch of the season is directly connected to Van Persie playing simply terrible football.