United had an easy enough time of it on Saturday, easily getting beyond a very lacklustre and disappointing Sunderland side. I had heard of, but not seen directly, Sunderland’s woes this season, and I am now somewhat surprised that Martin O’Neill is still employed at the club. The team plays without flair, passion or much co-ordination with weak links all over.
The United midfield and attack was dominant, the defence largely left unmolested. It could have been much more than three if more of the strikes had been on target, with Young, RVP, Rooney and Cleverley all passing and moving through the Sunderland backline with ease.
John O’Shea is a shadow of his former self really, looking unfit and ill-suited to handling the attacking line he once played with. Another Irish disappointment was James McClean, who was pretty much taken to school by Phil Jones throughout, and is too looking far less of a player than he was last season. Most of the Sunderland team just did not look too interested in actually giving the home side any bit of a fight.
It was truly shoddy defending that saw Sunderland get their goal though, the first real pressure the United back four had come under all game. They failed to defend adequately numerous times in the build-up to the header, with De Gea showcasing the frustration that so many fans must have had. His defence isn’t doing all that they could do. The return of Vidic is a welcome sight, but is he the same player he once was?
Elsewhere, Liverpool fell to another defeat, this time to the previously questioned Aston Villa. The defending on display at Anfield was pretty shocking, especially for the third goal, when Villa just seemed to stroll up the goal and pop it in the net. Gerrard is having a pretty shocking season by his standards, and the Reds took a big step backwards in the Rodgers recovery on Saturday.
Manchester City had a good result away to Newcastle, the Magpies maybe struggling just a little bit lately. A recovery from the disappointment of last week was due alright and I think that City will probably start playing much better football from now on. Chelsea face an uphill task to try and keep the title race a three-way, once they get back from the meaningless distraction that is the World Club Cup.
QPR finally have a win under Redknapp, but I really don’t think it will mean much in the long run. There are just too many weaknesses in that team for them to maintain top flight status. Spurs picked up a hard fought win over Swansea, which moves them level on points with Chelsea. Spurs continue to get the wins, and the dropped points from West Brom and Everton are also aiding their cause. Just a step above, even with the question marks over the AVB regime.
Meanwhile, over in Ireland, Limerick FC continue life without a manager, and without any assurance about where the club will be playing next season. It has become rather worrying, the delay in naming a new boss and the linked issue of signing/re-signing players. The wait goes on.