Goal drought woe and red card controversy: Six things we learned from Sunderland's defeat to Manchester United

Jack Rodwell battles for the ball. Picture by Frank Reid.
Jack Rodwell battles for the ball. Picture by Frank Reid.
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Sunderland's struggles show no signs of easing anytime soon with another defeat, a sending off and injury to contend with against Manchester United.

The club is one game closer to the Championship after the 3-0 defeat to Jose Mourinho's side.

David Moyes watches on

David Moyes watches on

Here's what we learned:

It was never a red card:

First things first, the decision to red card Seb Larsson was an abysmal one.

It was never a red. A yellow, perhaps, but not a red. The Swede went in for a tackle but it wasn't out of control or reckless on his part.

The third Manchester United goal goes in

The third Manchester United goal goes in

Sunderland were already trailing at that stage but it made any hope of getting anything from the game that much harder.

There was little reaction from the United players appealing for a red, which was the first sending off in the Premier League for Larsson.

Sunderland's sorry goal drought continues:

When the clock struck the 15 minute mark that signalled the 10th hour that Sunderland had failed to hit the back of the net.

It is now well into the 11th hour. Or 675 minutes to be exact. That is one grim stat.

A run stretching back seven Premier League games. A run that is crippling Sunderland and helping decide the club's fate.

The last time they were on a similar run was then they failed to score in eight games in October 1981.

Ellis Short was again at the Stadium of Light:

Twice in succession, Sunderland's owner Ellis Short has watched the Black Cats in action at the Stadium of Light.

Short's presence at the Burnley game sparked a huge debate over manager David Moyes' future but he retains the owner's support and has already said he is not going to walk away.

Sunderland's fate is all but secured. Ten points adrift with seven games to go. The Black Cats will be playing Championship football next season.

That is the grim reality facing Sunderland, the club's long-suffering fans and its owner.

Lamine Kone struggles again but Jason Denayer played well:

Kone's summer value is decreasing by the week after another out of sorts performance from the Ivory Coast international at the heart of the Sunderland defence.

Kone should have got tighter to Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the first and he stood off for the second goal. It wasn't all his fault but he has endured a difficult week.

Denayer, alongside him, played well though with several key interceptions and he covered well at the back.

Didier Ndong has bags of potential but decision making must improve:

Ndong provided the initial spark and energy in the first half, giving Sunderland some legs in the middle of the park and linking up defence with attack.

Ndong was one of the few pluses but for all his potential his decision making must improve.

Overall, he did well but Jermain Defoe and Victor Anichebe were visibly frustrated at times with the quality of the final ball.

Too late to make a difference but at least Big Vic is back:

On another day of few pluses, it was pleasing to see Victor Anichebe return to the Sunderland starting line-up.

It was the first time Anichebe and Cattermole had started a game together. Where would Sunderland be had those two key players been fit all season?

Anichebe completed the full 90 minutes but his return has come just too late to help save Sunderland this season.