Posted by Barrie on Saturday, 3 October 2009

Manchester United Slip Up at Home to Sunderland

Sunderland put a dent into Manchester United's Championship ambitions with a surprise 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson made a risky decision in including the likes of Nani and Danny Welbeck in the starting lineup, with no place in the squad for the influential Ryan Giggs.

Sunderland took the game to United and took the lead after 7 minutes through Darren Bent. A deserved lead too as they looked the more comfortable in possession of the ball. Nani and Welbeck were poor performers for United and didn't help out the defence. Sunderland looked dangerous on the counter attack and Lorik Cana and Lee Cattermole were disrupting United's attack. Michael Turner was a rock at the back for the Black Cats as he continues to shine following his £6,000,000 from Hull.

1-0 down at half time, Manchester United started the second half brightly and were level thanks to a good finish from Dimitar Berbatov. They started to boss the game around for a few minutes after that as it looked like order may be restored until they were caught out on the counter attack as Andy Reid set up Kenwyne Jones to restore Sunderland's lead with help from some unconvincing goalkeeping from Ben Foster.

Sunderland continued to look good after that and United weren't causing too many problems; Rooney and Carrick both putting chances wide.

A stupid decision by Kieran Richardson to kick the ball away with 5 minutes to go saw him shown a second yellow card followed by a red as United camped Sunderland into their own half from then on. And finally they got their break through when Patrice Evra's shot deflected off Anton Ferdinand in stoppage time to make it 2-2. A succession of corners followed by Sunderland scrambled each one away, and the referee Alan Wiley stuck to the 4 minutes of allocated time before blowing his whistle.

Last weekend's results saw United's odds shrink to 15/8, just behind Chelsea as 2nd favourites. Should Chelsea beat Liverpool tomorrow you can expect United's odds to rise, and Manchester City can even go on level points with them with a victory at Aston Villa on Monday night.

The season's still young and Chelsea still need to rebound from last week's defeat first, but the bookmakers are right in thinking the title is between these two. A blip from United for the second time already this season has cost them valuable points, but they will bounce back from this as they always do. The return of Edwin van der Sar in goal this month will also add strength to their backline that Ben Foster hasn't brought into the team.

Down at the bottom, Portsmouth picked up their first points of the season with a victory at Wolves, while Hull beat Wigan to move out of the relegation zone briefly, as either West Ham or Fulham will send them back into it after their game tomorrow.

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