The Premiership got back on track and if Arsenal were hoping that the Black Cats would prove spoilers, then they were in for a rude shock. Steve Bruce's side looked like their Xmas lunch was still sitting heavy. That they only lost by a brace is a small miracle. Utd could have scored a half dozen or more easily.
Wayne Rooney has found ways of proving useful even though he last scored an open field goal in March and his nicely placed cross isolated high flying Dimitar Berbatov who headed past Craig Gordon for his first goal. Anderson appears to be fulfilling his potential as an attacking midfielder at long last easing Scholesy's retirement. His smartly placed pass found Berbatov wide on the right and the Bulgarian's angled shot deflected off Anton Ferdinand for his second goal and 11th of the season.
Man Utd's tradition of finding players rising to the occasion has much to do with Sir Alex's relentless exhortation to do better. He did not find too much satisfaction after the match saying that his team were guilty of complacency in the second half and pointing out Berbatov's squandered scoring opportunities.
With this win, Utd open up a small but significant lead over title holders Chelsea and Arsenal with a match in hand. The Gunners meet Chelsea tomorrow at the Emirates to try and narrow that gap.