5 Things We Learned From Manchester United 2-0 Sunderland

Wayne Rooney Is Louis van Gaal’s 20-Goal A Season Forward

A spade is a spade, February is the shortest month and Wayne Rooney is a forward. These are facts.

In lamenting the lack of a ’20-goal a season striker’ before this match, Louis van Gaal might have been aiming a not so subtle dig at a few of his most high-profile players, but the fact remains that the man most capable of reaching that target in his current squad has been stationed further and further away from goal this season.

Alright, one was a penalty and he couldn’t miss the other, but this was a timely reminder of just what Rooney can do.


Angel Di Maria Is Struggling Under The Weight Of Expectation

Manchester United v Sunderland - Premier League : News Photo

You aren’t allowed to mention Angel Di Maria without immediately stating his price tag. That’s the rule and it’s one he should have been aware of when he became British football’s most expensive import in the summer.

Like so many before him, the £59.7m arrival from Real Madrid has found the rigours of Premier League life to be tougher than anything he’s experienced in his career.

Sparkling when he first arrived yet subdued now, the Argentinean appears to be struggling under the weight of Old Trafford expectation. If the team were performing better then he probably would be too, but crucially he isn’t really doing enough to make that happen.


Radamel Falcao Is Struggling Too, But Still Shows Moments Of Quality

Little moments of class can get you quite far as a footballer, but it is the frequency and consistency of those moments which really determine your future.

Maybe Radamel Falcao will have enough of those moments – like the one which won the penalty – between now and the end of the season to earn a permanent deal with United, but he could really do with a few more moments in front of goal to demonstrate his worth.

Right now he’s struggling, and it was no surprise to see him withdrawn for Marouane Fellaini after the first goal.


Roger East Thought He Was Sending The Right Man Off, And That’s More Worrying

Manchester United v Sunderland - Premier League : News Photo

Forget the tweets and the memes mocking Roger East’s inability to tell John O’Shea and Wes Brown apart, the referee actually thought he was sending the right man off for upending Falcao.

That, if anything, is even more concerning that an inability to tell the two former United defenders apart, with East missing O’Shea’s blatant and primary role in felling the Colombian and instead just presuming it was Brown because he was also on the scene.

That’s staggeringly inept refereeing.


Sunderland Have The Solidity For The Battle

This wasn’t great, but when you’ve been on the receiving end of an 8-0 defeat on the road this season then you try and look for whatever positives you can find.

Until the red card Sunderland were solid, frustrating Manchester United and seemingly confusing them as they switched from one unconvincing formation to another.

They have got the tools you need to stay up, and look to have every chance.


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