Manchester United went up to first place in the Premier League after a 3-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday after goals by Memphis Depay, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata.
As Manchester City suffered a heavy 4-1 loss to Tottenham, United went top of the league with the win over Sunderland at Old Trafford. The Red Devils sits at the top of the standings with 16 points, one ahead of rivals City.
United dominated the game against a weak Sunderland team that is still looking for the first win of the season. United had a vast majority of the ball possession and looked great in dictating the tempo and getting behind the Sunderland defense.
With Luke Shaw out long-term with a broken leg and Marcos Rojo missing the game due to injury, Matteo Darmian was moved over to the left back position and Antonio Valencia came into the lineup as right back.
Manager Louis van Gaal was pleased with the win and Wayne Rooney and Memphis Depay getting their first league goals of the season.
“I am pleased for them but for me it does not make any difference because for me we have to make goals as a team,” van Gaal told manutd.com. “Who makes them is not so important. You have to beat your opponents and when you make one more goal than the opponents, you are the winner. That is the game.”
Anthony Martial has been in fine form, scoring some crucial goals for the team. He didn’t get on the scoresheet against Sunderland, but he did set up Rooney for a goal.
“I am very pleased with the performance of Anthony because he is not only a goalscorer, he is also an attacking point and he also prepares goals,” van Gaal said. “So for us he is more important than I thought before he came.
“What I want of a striker is that he is an attacking point, that he is running in behind, preparing goals and running to the first post. These are not all the aspects of a striker, but Anthony Martial has done that today so I am pleased with his performance, but he can still be better and other players can be better.
“This is why I don’t want to say too much about individual performances because, as a manager, there is always something you can improve. When I say what a player can improve then it is in the press and you don’t know what is happening with your remarks and that is our problem as a manager.”
Van Gaal also spoke about the upcoming schedule and making the top spot their own. United takes on Wolfsburg in the Champions League on Wednesday at Old Trafford before traveling to London to take on Arsenal next Sunday.
“Yes, not only for the Champions League but to maintain our top position in the league because we have to play Arsenal away, it’s the most difficult game but last year we won there so we have hope.”
After the international break, United have Everton (league), CSKA Moscow (Champions League), Manchester City (league), Middlesbrough (Capital One Cup), and Crystal Palace (league) to close out the month of October.
“Next week we have Arsenal away and I think it is one of the most difficult teams to beat in the Premier League, but we won also last year there, so it is possible,” van Gaal said. “I think that Manchester United can win against every team, but you need also luck and today the luck was in the last minute of the first half. Of course it is a wonderful goal, but it is in the last minute, it was more or less punishment after Sunderland wasted so much time in the first half.”
Last time United lead the Premier League was back in 2013 after a 4-1 over Swansea on Matchday 1.