Manchester United turned in an overwhelmingly comfortable performance at home to the Premier League's basement club Sunderland on Saturday, winning 3-0 to go top of the table. It certainly wasn't the most exciting of games, but Louis van Gaal's side more than merited the points at the final whistle.
Very little of note occurred throughout the game's first half, with United being frustrated by a disciplined Sunderland defence. Things refused to click for the hosts in the final third of the pitch, and with the final ball invariably lacking, United resorted to efforts from outside the penalty area. Juan Mata's low shot was deflected behind by Lee Cattermole, before Memphis Depay forced Costel Pantilimon into a comfortable save from the edge of the box. At the other end, David de Gea was forced into a solid save after Daley Blind was outmuscled by Jeremain Lens.
The opening period seemed to be ticking towards a goalless conclusion, until things changed in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time. Sunderland left Blind acres of room to charge into, and the Dutchman took full advantage with a glorious chipped pass in behind the defence. Mata squared the ball first-time for Memphis, and he just had to tuck the ball into an empty net for his first Premier League goal.
Within 38 seconds of the restart, United were 2-0 to the good, with Wayne Rooney finally breaking his Premier League duck. Some smart work by his strike partner Anthony Martial culminated with a lethal cross, leaving the United captain with the simple task of tucking the ball home from close range.
Sunderland's response came courtesy of Ola Toivanen, though De Gea was on hand to deny the Swedish international. He was made to do the same again just past the hour, as Patrick van Aanholt's angled drive was beaten to safety.
Despite their half-chances, Sunderland didn't ever look really like getting back into the game. United should've killed it off with 25 minutes remaining, though Memphis fired straight at Pantilimon from inside the area. The former Manchester City keeper made an even better stop a few minutes later, diving instinctively to his right to palm a powerful Mata strike to safety.
However, it was the Spaniard who had the last laugh, as he finally found his way through in the game's dying moments. After taking control of an Ashley Young cross, Mata smashed the ball beyond the Romanian and into the back of the net for 3-0.