Watched by a crowd of 43,217, United moved ahead with their only meaningful attack of the first half when Juan Mata tapped the ball into the gaping net on 17 minutes after some fine wing play by Antonio Valencia wound up with the ball being deflected into the Spain player's path.
Gus Poyet's Sunderland had been the more vibrant team against a United side lacking any notable pace, and deservedly equalised on 30 minutes when Jack Rodwell rose to power a header into the net from a Sebastian Larsson corner.
Both teams improved the longer the match progressed, but the most notable moment of the second period was perhaps the customary booking for United winger Ashley Young when he dived with former United defender Wes Brown clearly nowhere near the ball.
Louis van Gaal said after the 2-1 defeat by Swansea last week that United would need a miracle to win the Premier League. He is unlikely to alter his thoughts any time soon. With or without the arrival of £64 million-rated Argentina winger Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid.
17' - GOAL! Mata taps the ball into the net from the deflected cross. Superb play by Valencia. And United lead 1-0 against the run of play.
30' - GOAL! Rodwell arrives to power home the header from the Larsson corner. Brilliant finish. No chance for De Gea. Sunderland level at 1-1.
52' - CHANCE! Almost a second for Sunderland as Blackett is back near his line to deflect the Wickham volley past a post. That could easily have ended up in his own net. United then survive the home corner.
61' - PENALTY APPEAL! Santiago Vergini made a decent tackle to prevent Van Persie gettting a shot at goal. Referee called it right as the Sunderland man got a touch on the ball.
62' - YOUNG BOOKED! Young has been booked for a dive. No contact from Wes Brown. And that is a dive. Referee called it right.
79' - CHANCE! Mannone races from his line to make a vital block on Young. Had to get there first. And did. Just. Impressive decision-making.
Manchester United's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal of the English Premier …
Man Utd's total of one point after two PL matches is their worst total since the first season of the Premier League era, when they lost both of their opening matches.
Man Utd are now winless in three consecutive Premier League matches (D2-L1), and have won only one of their last five. They are also winless in their last six PL matches on a Sunday.
A draw also means that Sunderland fail to win either of their opening PL matches of the season for the fifth year in a row, while Man Utd fail to win either match for the first time since 2007/08 (two draws).
Should United break the bank to land Di Maria? On this showing, United need to overpay for the required talent. And Di Maria fits into that category at around £64m. Real Madrid must smell the desperation because United are lacking a directness and speed. They have neat and tidy players, but a bunch of triers who can't really trouble defenders like the Sunderland pair of John O'Shea or Wes Brown. That says enough.
Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
MAN OF THE MATCH
Phil Jones (Manchester United): Not many bright spots for United to pore over, but Jones was one of them in defence. Kept his head while others were struggling to find theirs. Is suddenly a wise head in a United side that is slow, ponderous and predictable. United don't move the ball fast enough. And they look suspect at the back, but Jones surely has a future at Old Trafford.
Sunderland: Mannone 7, Vergini 7, Van Aanholt 7, Brown 7, O'Shea 7, Cattermole 7, Larsson 6, Rodwell 6, Buckley 7, Wickham 6, Fletcher 5. Subs: Bridcutt 6, Gomez 6, Altidore 6.
Manchester United: De Gea 7, Jones 7, Smalling 6, Blackett 7, Valencia 6, Cleverley 5, Fletcher 5, Mata 6, Young 5, Rooney 5, Van Persie 5. Subs: M. Keane, Welbeck 6, Januzaj 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- Premier League
- Angel Di Maria
- Sebastian Larsson
- Wes Brown