Sunderland v Man United player & manager ratings and verdict

Date published: Saturday 13th February 2016 3:12

Sunderland: Celebrate their victory over Man United

We rate the Sunderland and Manchester United players’ performances, discuss the coaches’ selections and give our big-match verdict following Saturday’s match at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland player ratings

Jermain Defoe: Takes on the Man United defence

Vito Mannone: Made a great save to deny Mata seconds before Martial’s equaliser and did little wrong throughout. 7

DeAndre Yedlin: Looked solid on his return to the side and used his pace to good effect both in defence and down the right flank. Shameless dive when losing possession blotted his copybook. 6

John O’Shea: Excellent positional play throughout and showed his experience by limiting United’s efforts on goal to shots outside the area. BT Sports’ man of the match – but not ours. 7

Lamine Kone: A solid presence alongside O’Shea and his towering header helped to earn Sunderland a priceless win. Looks a quality addition to the Sunderland side. 7.5

Patrick van Aanholt: Roved the flanks to great effect in the first half and underlined his status as Sunderland’s most improved player this term. Hit side-netting in the closing stages. 7

Jan Kirchoff: Started the game brightly and was looking comfortable in his defensive midfield role until a pulled hamstring forced his withdrawal early on. (Subbed on 15) 6

Lee Cattermole: Perhaps harsh, but his best work is done when not in possession and hustling and harrying the opposition, as well as organising the men around him. Still, worked hard and had a decent match. (Subbed on 85) 6.5

Yann M’Vila: Worked hard and broke up the United attacks when he could. Did his best to keep Sunderland moving forward and enjoyed a decent afternoon. 6.5

Wahbi Khazri: Justified Allardyce’s faith by scoring the early free-kick that handed Sunderland the lead and assisting Kone for the decisive second. An all-action display made him a constant thorn in Man United’s side. Sunderland’s best player and our man of the match. 8

Dame N’Doye: Put himself about on his first start for the club but missed a glorious chance to score when through on goal on the hour mark. 6

Jermain Defoe: Looked sharp throughout and had a couple of opportunities to score, while also playing a part in their opener by jumping over the ball. Surprisingly withdrawn during the second half. (Subbed on 71) 7


Jack Rodwell (on for Kirchoff, 15): Put himself about and work hard on a rare chance to shine for the Black Cats. Made a number of key blocks and looked comfortable in his position in front of the defence. 7

Fabio Borini (on for Defoe, 71): Put himself about, but doesn’t present anything like the goal threat that the man he replaced does. 6

Ola Toivonen (on for Cattermole, 85): Little time to make any impact. 6


Coach: Sam Allardyce handed first starts to January arrivals Wahbi Khazri and Dame N’Doye in a bold 4-1-3-2 formation, with fellow recent addition Jan Kirchoff selected in a defensive midfield position. However, despite the brilliant starts handed to Sunderland by Khazri, the early hamstring injury suffered by Kirchoff forced Allardyce into an early change – and a rare chance to impress on the big stage for Jack Rodwell.

DeAndre Yedlin was also handed a recall following Billy Jones’ mistake in the 2-2 draw at Liverpool and that was another selection change that was justified.

Verdict: Having helped Sunderland to claim their first ever win over Manchester United at the Stadium of Light, and their first home triumph over the Red Devils since March 1997, Allardyce can take huge pleasure from this win. He got his tactics spot on, clearly had his side fired up from the word go, and reacted smartly after Kirchoff’s early injury. His January additions look pretty decent too. Gives Sunderland a platform on which to mount (yet another) survival charge. 8


Manchester United ratings

Anthony Martial: Celebrates his equaliser at Sunderland

David De Gea: By his own high standards, he probably ought to have done better with Khazri’s goal, but more than made amends when saving from N’Doye when through on goal and from Kone’s shot on the turn. Was unlucky to have been credited with an own goal for Sunderland’s winner. 7

Matteo Darmian: Supported the attack well and appears to have been developing a good understanding with Lingard down United’s right, until a ball from his team-mate sold him short and a clattering from Khazri forced his withdrawal due to a shoulder injury. Gave away the free-kick which led to Sunderland’s opener. (Subbed on 38) 6

Chris Smalling: Was having a decent game until he lost Kone for what was to prove Sunderland’s winner. Looked a threat at the other end, but he couldn’t save United from defeat. 6

Daley Blind: Fairly compentent display in the heart of defence but still to convince as a ‘United quality centre-half’. Made a crucial intervention to deflect Defoe’s goal-bound effort wide of goal. 6

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson: Got forward well, defended stoutly and is really starting to look the part for United. Growing in confidence and stature with every game and easily United’s best defender. 7

Morgan Schneiderlin: Protected the defence well and won the ball back more than any other player on the pitch, but the jury is still out on him and whether he really is Manchester United quality. (Subbed on 86) 6.5

Michael Carrick: Linked up play well and while he picked out a number of excellent passes, he was – unusually for him – also guilty of giving the ball away carelessly on a couple of occasions. Booked. 6

Jesse Lingard: Struggled to make an impact on the right side of United’s midfield and it was no surprise to see his withdrawal just after the hour. (Subbed on 62). 5

Juan Mata: Looks far more comfortable in a No 10 role and was at the heart of most of the good things United did in the final third. Worked hard for the cause and showed a willingness to take on the early shot but faded as the match progressed. Booked.  7

Anthony Martial: United’s best player and most potent attacking outlet. His running at the Sunderland defence kept them on the back foot all match and he showed excellent anticipation and finishing ability with a delicate chip from a narrow angle for the equaliser. Another who faded as the match progressed though. 7.5

Wayne Rooney:  Had an OK afternoon but didn’t have a sniff of scoring and his best work was done by picking bringing those around him into play. Worked extremely hard as per usual. Booked. 6



Donald Love (on for Darmian, 38): Looked a little overwhelmed at first, but hardly a surprise given it was the youngster’s senior debut for the club. Grew into the match, and although fortunate to escape a booking, can reflect on his first appearance with pride. 6

Memphis Depay (on for Lingard, 62): Tried hard, saw a shot blocked for a possible equaliser, but by and large, once again failed to convince anyone that he’s a £25million footballer. 6

Will Keane (on for Schneiderlin 86): No time to make an impact. 6


Coach: Louis van Gaal made one change to his side that drew at Chelsea last weekend by replacing Marouane Fellaini for the recalled Morgan Schneiderlin. With Anthony Martial charged with attacking down the left, and Jesse Lingard – with support from Matteo Darmian down the right, Juan Mata was afforded a free No 10 role for United.

Showed his willingless to turn to United’s Academy once again with Borthwick-Jackson, Lingard, Keane and Love all involved in the matchday squad.


Verdict: Oh dear – another poor display from United and with the top four looking increasingly beyond United, surely his time at Old Trafford is coming to a close. To make it worse, the platform was there for United to go on and claim victory in the second half, before the Red Devils were out-fought and out-thought.

If this had been a Moyes side, he’d have been absolutely slaughtered, but from where I’m watching, this United team (De Gea, Borthwick-Jackson, Martial – and possibly Mata, aside) looks far from good enough. Needs to be replaced and a new man (Jose Mourinho?) to be given the rest of the season to assess his players before a summer of rebuilding. 3


By James Marshment

Related Articles