Last Updated: 30/03/13 3:03pm
As United win a throw-in, it's been some time since Sunderland were on the front foot now, and barring a swift counter attack the game should be the visitors' now.
Great control from Cleverely sees United reclaim possession, camly knocking around the ball as they look to count down the clock.
Cleverley's cut back from the byline incredibly eludes everybody in the box, with Gardner on hand to claim back possession as United look to finish the game with a bang.
Terrific skill from Wickham sees him create a yard to shoot, aiming a firm effort at De Gea who stops it well at the near post.
That moment nearly came courtesy of a Sessegnon strike from range, which cannonned off Smalling, before Evans closed down Graham and ensured United escaped that period with a goal-kick.
Wickham's battling against Young sees the striker win a free-kick in Sunderland's half, with the Black Cats needing a moment of real magic to escape with a point now.
Sessegnon looks to chase with Carrick to prevent the ball going out for a goal-kick, but he can't do so despite his best efforts.
McClean battles with Valencia, but comes off on the losing side following good strength for the United winger, with Sunderland still pressing but lacking the imagination to test United, whose defence remains firmly on top right now.
Great chance for Vidic from the corner, who gets his head to the ball ahead of O'Shea, but can only directed his effort wide. 2-0 and that would likely have been game over.
Mignolet is called into action to deny Buttner's powerful strike, which swerved along the way and results in a corner for the visitors.
Magical skill from O'Shea of all people results in a ball coming into the box, but Bardsley's first time half-volley flies harmlessly over the bar.
Bardsley slides in on Buttner, who had already gone to ground, and the result is a booking for the Black Cats defender.
Sessegnon spreads play wide to McClean, but the ball from the left connects with Smalling, with Buttner calmly steering the ball away from danger.
Anderson's sensational ball eventually finds Buttner, but after running upwards of 40 yards to meet it, his ball into the six-yard box clips O'Shea and travels behind the run of Kagawa.
Valencia fails to badger his way past Rose, and ends up conceding a free-kick against the full-back having previously lost the ball.
McClean's delivery finds Vidic, before a second cross in from the right by Johnson sees Smalling make a crucial clearance ahead of the oncoming Graham.
Graham hussles Evans, with the striker impressing more and more as the game wears on, with Sessegnon breaking moments later before United get bodies back and break down the attack.
Young looks to slip in Kagawa, but O'Shea slides in committedly to intercept, as United finally up the urgency in the final third after a dominant 10 minutes from the hosts.
Great eagerness from Graham prevents Vidic controlling McClean;s deflected pass, but a loose pass from Rose finds Carrick, as United look to settle the tempo of the game that Sunderland are setting.
N'Diaye uses his power to break away from Buttner, but his cut back to Sessegnon is pounced on by Evans, who hacks away accordingly.
Bardsley goes down in the box under Evans, but the defender clipped the ball, and the decision is a corner instead of a penalty as the hosts enjoy their best spell of the match.
A drop ball sees Young prevail against Bardsley, with a United throw-in given deep in their own half.
Back on his feet now, De Gea nurses a distinct knock to the mouth, but appears fine to see the rest of the match out, with the result if that incident to be decided now by the referee.
While Vidic is back on his feet, things look much worse for De Gea who remains down and in some distress as he is tended to by the United physios.
De Gea punches away the corner bravely, connecting square-on with Vidic in the process, with both men down following the collision.
The best chance of the game for Sunderland falls to Sessegnon, who is beaten to Graham's chip by Smalling as the hosts win a corner.
Sunderland patiently progress, with Johnson ghosting in behind Buttner, before Bardsley's drive is scooped well over the bar.
A high boot from Van Persie sees the striker win the ball, but connect with Gardner in the process, which earns the United man a yellow card.
Anderson's long ball upfield is excellently controlled by Kagawa, but the referee deems the ball had travelled out of play, and all his good work is undone.
Swift one-touch passing from United sees them progress with Young, whose delivery is cleared by O'Shea as the visitors start to control the game now.
Young's flick on to Van Persie is read by Bardsley, who comes across to intercept as United looked to threaten on the counter attack.
Valencia battles with McClean, but upon finding a yard to deliver, his wayward ball travels behind goal leaving his team-mates wanting in the penalty area.
Terrific thinking from Gardner sees him move forward alongsie N'Diaye, but Vidic steps up, makes the tackle, and reclaims possession for United.
Van Persie slips unleashing his shot, which catches Rose bang in the face, with United continuing the pressure as Valencia wins a throw-in off Bardsley.
Another trip from O'Shea on Van Persie, this time on the edge of the area, results in a foul and a yellow card for the Sunderland skipper.
N'Diaye is played forward by Bramble, but his woeful delivery from the byline helps none of his team-mates as it sails behind goal.
Strong defending from O'Shea prevents Van Persie feeding in Young, but the defender is penalised moments later for a pull on the striker, which earns him a warning from the referee.
Chris Green writes: 'I'm delighted with Man Utd's performance so far. We should be winning this game by more than the one goal, but so far so good.'
A good half from the Premier League leaders sees them in front at the break, albeit from a Bramble own goal. Can Sunderland salvage something from the game in the second half? Send your predictions to email@example.com or @JWoodfield365 and I'll publish the best ones.
Young and Van Persie miscommunicate as the former looks for his team-mate, with Bardsley recovering from an earlier mistake to come across and usher the ball out of play.
Mignolet claws for the ball in the air, but it lands on the head of Smalling, with the goalkeeper's influence enough to distract the defender, who ends up heading wide.
Mignolet punches away Van Persie's pacey effort superbly, conceding a corner which Young will come across to take.
Lovely work from Van Persie lures McClean in to concede a foul, with United presented a free-kick roughly 20 yards from goal.
Gardner's free-kick tests United's defence, with Bramble heading on the first ball, before Buttner spectacularly clears the second with an overhead kick.
Van Persie makes a terrific run ahead of O'Shea, but upon collecting the ball from Kagawa, he falls while shooting and his shot ends up with Mignolet at the near post.
McClean holds up play neatly, but Sunderland struggle to keep the ball moving forward, with O'Shea eventually found by Gardner after good United pressure.
Young is perplexed as the referee awards Sunderland a free-kick following his trip on Sessegnon. Johnson takes, but it clips a body in the wall and makes a simple clearance for Buttner.
Bramble redeems himself to a degree, sliding in precisely on Anderson, who had advanced into a shooting position inside the penalty area.
Young's effort from the free-kick is impressive, curling in at the far post as Mignolet makes a solid save, preventing the ball spilling out in the process.
N'Diaye runs the risk of a second yellow with a trip on Buttner, which gives United a free-kick 25 yards from goal.
Bardsley picks up the pace as he advances through the centre, but he fires wildly from 25 yards with the fans behind goal collecting his woeful effort.
Vidic launches the ball forward following a prolonged period of scrappiness on the touchline, but it's a simple claim for Mignolet with Van Perise sitting back to avoid the offside flag.
It's one for the dubious goals panel, but following Van Persie's twists and turns, his shot clips the knee of Bramble and carries it past the helpless Mignolet. Regardless, United have the lead at the Stadium of Light.
Johnson can't keep the ball in play after solid defending from Rafael, with the game hitting a bit of a lull as both teams aim to make more of an impact in the final third.
A long ball forward from Carrick is fairly poor in its bid to find Young, who was never going to a stand a chance of retrieving in down the left side.
Van Persie is pickpocketed by Bramble just inside the penalty area, with Rose clearing the danger as the hosts continue to hold their own in this match.
Good pressure from Sunderland sees United restricted to playing the ball amongst their defence, before a long ball upfield from Vidic sees O'Shea clear bravely ahead of Valencia.
Sessegnon beats Vidic in the air following the clearance of the corner, but a battle on the touchline eventually results in a United throw-in.
Young's tricky delivery sees Mignolet, who had the sun in his eyes, palm away somewhat frantically as another corner is conceded.
McClean clears off the line from a Vidic header following a United corner, with the visitors just starting to up their game in the final third now.
Johnson takes on Vidic, but ends up playing straiht into Carrick, before Rafael's challenge on Gardner is deemed fair by the referee, a decision which draws the ire of the home fans.
As Gardner's tame effort sees a Sunderland move break down, Bramble hacks down Young as United surged forward, conceding a free-kick in the process.
A lovely United move concludes with Anderson feeding in Buttner in behind Bardsley, but Mignolet is quick off the mark and rushes out to claim.
Sunderland get the ball cleared from Young's delivery, with Van Persie then beginning a run in behind Bramble too early, which results in the linesman's flag being raised.
Buttner's relentless run through the centre sees him skip past Gardner and Bardsley, with the ball eventually spilling out for a United corner.
Bardsley looks over the top for Sessegnon, who impressively bursts forward, but Vidic displays his own pace by marshalling the ball away from the Sunderland man.
Young's delivery from the byline is exceptional this time, his ball nearly connecting with Van Persie's head, but O'Shea is on hand to beat the striker in the air.
Young's delivery is horrific in the end, serving as neither a cross nor a shot as the ball harmlessly curls out of play.
Following a Sunderland corner, Gardner unleashes a screamer on the edge of the box, which collides with Vidic, before United break as Young draws a free-kick from a Bardsley hand ball.
Sessegnon looks to muscle out Vidic, but the defender reclaims his position impressively before playing calmly back to De Gea.
A dreadful back pass from De Gea lands straight at Graham, but upon trying to feed in Sessegnon, the forward is caught offside as a result. Massive let-off early on for the United keeper.
A lovely turn from Kagawa sets him free from Bramble, but his tame shot once more finds Mignolet positioned well.
Kagawa plays down the line for Valencia, as United press with numbers, before Van Persie's speculative effort from range lands safely with Mignoley.
Worrying scenes for Vidic, who kicks the ball out of play before apparantly nursing an injury. The defender shakes it off moments later though and seems fine to continue.
The players have emerged from the tunnel and we're minutes away from kick-off now at the Stadium of Light.
Examining that team news, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand do not even make the bench as Manchester United looked to strengthen their grip on the Barclays Premier League title at Sunderland. The pair are two of four men to make way from the side which beat Reading last time out with they, Ryan Giggs and Danny Welbeck being replaced by Shinji Kagawa, Rafael da Silva, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia. Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill too makes four changes, although most of his are enforced as the injured Carlos Cuellar, David Vaughan and Steven Fletcher, as well as Sebastian Larsson, are replaced by Titus Bramble, Phil Bardsley, Alfred N'Diaye and James McClean.
Manchester United (4/6) are being well backed to continue their impressive form and claim a fifth successive victory against Sunderland (9/2). Sir Alex Ferguson's men have conceded just once just in their last 572 minutes of Premier League football against the Black Cats and are 13/8 to win to nil today.
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael, Buttner, Smalling, Vidic, Carrick, Valencia, Anderson, Young, Kagawa, van Persie. Subs: Evra, Evans, Nani, Welbeck, Cleverley, Powell, Lindegaard.
Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, Rose, O'Shea (c), Bramble, N'Diaye, Gardner, McClean, Johnson, Sessegnon, Graham. Subs: Larsson, Wickham, Kilgallon, Colback, Mangane, Mandron, Westwood.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to live coverage of Sunderland v Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League. As United continue their march towards the title, victory is imperative for Sunderland if they are to avoid getting further sucked into the battle for survival. If you'd like to get in touch today you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @JWoodfield365