Manchester United Player Ratings from their away Barclays Premier League 4-1 victory against Swansea City.
David de Gea – The sort of impressive all-round goalkeeping display we’ve increasingly come to expect. Only sparingly called into shot-stopping action but did what was required and excelled when the ball was in the air or at feet. Brief prospect of him being forced off with an injury must have terrified every Red – he’s become that important. (7)
Phil Jones – Had about as bad a first half-hour as it’s possible to have without costing your side a goal, particularly struggling in the face of Swansea’s pressing. Settled down as United took control of the game but doesn’t really look comfortable at right-back, especially with positioning – would be nice to see Fábio given a chance in his twin’s absence. (5)
Rio Ferdinand – Was key to holding the defence together early on as the hosts threatened to overwhelm United. Given a tough time by Bony in the second half and perhaps switched off slightly for the Swansea goal, but Welbeck’s error in a dangerous position would have caught most out. (7)
Nemanja Vidic – Occasionally a little shaky in possession when pressed but otherwise close to his commanding best. Won everything in the air (one corner where he was cleverly blocked off aside) and again showed why he’s the best penalty box defender around. Unfortunate not to guide his side to a clean sheet. (7)
Patrice Evra – An even more encouraging outing than last week, again acquitting himself tidily at the back and excelling going forward. We’ve only a small sample size to go on but the Frenchman’s crossing – not typically a strength – has been superb thus far. (7.5)
Antonio Valencia – Worked hard and provided a terrific assist for Welbeck when it would have been easy to be selfish (although with Valencia you sometimes wonder if he just didn’t fancy a shot). Otherwise quiet, never really getting into the game or at opposing full-back Davies. (6)
Michael Carrick – A quiet game by the standards he’s set the last couple of years and struggled along with the rest of the midfield in the face of Swansea’s high-tempo start. Once the first two goals settled United down, last year’s Players’ Player of the Year began to control the middle of the park in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed. (6.5)
Tom Cleverley – As others seemingly struggled to remember we were wearing red, his ball retention early on was welcome. Offers precious little in a defensive sense though and at times seems too content to leave Carrick to play the genuinely incisive passes (as Carrick perhaps did with Scholes in his early days in the United midfield). (6)
Ryan Giggs – I’m no great advocate of the ol’ pass completion stat but 1 in every 3 going to an opponent isn’t going to cut it, especially when tucking in so much as to almost be a third centre-mid – his withdrawal after an hour couldn’t be argued with. You get these kinds of games from Ryan fairly often these days and it’s a case of taking the rough with the smooth, especially when he has a habit of still producing a telling contribution, as with the pass (albeit deflected) for the opener. (5.5)
Danny Welbeck – What was that – he can’t finish? Aye, right. The ability has always been there, to those paying attention at least; lack of confidence and composure was the cause of last term’s poor goal return – hardly unusual for a young player. The two goals here (the second plucked sublimely from the Cantona playbook) and his general play reflected a sharp, confident forward being deployed in a role much more to his liking, and long may it continue. Preferably without the showboating on the edge of our box… (8)
Robin van Persie – You can keep your Falcaos and your Cavanis – there’s no better genuine centre-forward around right now than this man. A brace of spectacular, opportunistic strikes will rightly grab the headlines, but the Dutchman’s hold-up play was almost equally vital and his movement played a huge part in Welbeck’s first. Oh that he were a few years younger… (8, MOTM)
Wayne Rooney (for Giggs, 62) – Heavily involved in both goals scored after his introduction and looked in decent enough nick all things considered. Looked like he’d rather be anywhere else but the street kid inside him that lives for football wouldn’t let him completely sulk his way through this cameo. Luckier than he’ll ever realise to get to wear the shirt again. (6.5)
Anderson (for Van Persie, 86) – Seemed to be readying himself for much of the second half but only given the last few minutes as the Reds cruised to victory. (NA)
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