Saturday, March 8, 2014

Showing The Way Forward: Manchester United 3 - West Bromwich Albion 0

photo by David Salafiavia PhotoRee

David Moyes rolled out perhaps his best starting lineup for his club's trip to The Hawthorns and was rewarded with a 3-0 victory on Saturday afternoon.  Although the final scoreline suggested a leisurely stroll in the park, the Red Devils did not pick up the game's pace until after the hour mark had passed.  With Danny Welbeck replacing a frustrated Robin van Persie, the visitors' attack picked up speed and momentum, as space opened on the pitch for the first time all afternoon.  Wayne Rooney and Welbeck both provided late scores to complement Phil Jones' header before the interval, but it was Rafael Da Silva, United's attacking right back, who showed his teammates the way forward all afternoon long.

Herewith, the individual player ratings for a game that will quiet the critics, at least for a week's time:   

De Gea: Little to do until late, resulting in another shutout. 7.0

Rafael: The return of some attacking panache: denied by a fine Ben Foster save but offered a well-aimed cross for Rooney to put the game on ice. A Man of the Match performance from the Brazilian. 8.5

Jones: Shaky beginning before heading home prior to the interval. Crunching tackles delivered with youthful exuberance. 7.0

Smalling: Displayed an unexpected ability to make up ground. 6.5

Evra: Beaten too easily. 6.0

Carrick: Solid outing; paired well with his Belgian counterpart.  6.5

Fellaini: Played a holding role and provided a target for set pieces. Displaying an increasing steadiness in his new role. 7.5

Mata: His talents are wasted on the wing, although he did contribute a fine defensive clearance. 7.0

Rooney: Barely featured in the action until he nodded home to seal the victory. 6.5

Januzaj: Flagged early for handling in the box before darting in a brilliant cross for Rafael. 6.5

van Persie: Fine whipped delivery to Jones to open the scoring, but substituted early for his own good as the red mist descended. Frustrating.  6.0


Welbeck (van Persie), 63: Added pace and some much needed impetus to the attack. Tacked on late goal to make the final scoreline appear more comfortable than it truly was. 7.0

Kagawa (Januzaj), 76: Some silky movement. 6.5

Vidic (Rafael), 87: His new role? N/A 

This is farlieonfootie for March 8.

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