Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Panic Stations: Manchester United 1 - Shakhtar Donetsk 1 -- Player Ratings

Photo by Memphis CVB
The visitors rode an 18th minute poacher’s goal from Danny Welbeck to a 1-1 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Donbas Arena in Champions League action on Wednesday night.  It was a result that manager David Moyes would likely have settled for pre-game, and could become a game to build on for the Reds’ new boss, who will be pleased that his team managed to hold off a late onslaught from the home side.  Although the English champions appeared calm and composed in the first half, a worrying trend re-emerged as a confident performance turned into a bit of panic stations as the game drew toward its nailbiting conclusion.  Once again, the visitors failed to create much in the way of offensive opportunities, but did manage to hold on long enough for a vital point on the road.

Herewith, our take on the individual performances in a gritty road draw:

De Gea: Precious little to do in the first half despite Shakhtar gradually coming into the game after a slow start.  Made a crucial stop on a deflection to deny the home side a late winner. 8.0

Rafael: Less attacking play than usual in the first half.  Got beaten badly near the start of the second half to allow the home side a real chance. 7.0

Smalling: Should’ve put his first half header on target, and rose high on defense when called upon. 7.5

Vidic: Energetic presence in the back who made a crucial second half interception to snuff out a threat.  Drew a professional foul to claim a yellow, and was unlucky that his late game clearance fell straight to Taison. 7.5

Evra:  Appears to be one of the few players this season that relishes going forward at speed. 7.0

Valencia: Worked hard defending but given little room to go forward – and got his feet tripped up over the ball when he did. 6.0

Carrick: Played even deeper than usual, which didn’t help his link up play.  A smart player who held up the ball when he needed to do some work on the defensive side of the match. 6.5

Fellaini:  If he wasn’t busy giving the ball away he was being called for a foul; a horrendous hour of action for the Belgian. 5.0

Cleverley: Will consider himself fortunate to escape an early penalty shout.  Upped the tempo and kept the ball ticking over in midfield with his one touch passes, but many of them were sideways or backward in direction.  Still seems unable or unwilling to offer the artful through ball. 6.5

Welbeck: Pounced on a blocked Fellaini cross to score a poacher’s goal and help his side to an early lead.  Played all over the pitch and worked his socks off, but his role tonight required him to dribble the ball – definitely not one of the Englishman’s specialties. 7.0

Van Persie: Found space early on but skied his first opportunity well over the bar.  Didn't see much of the ball after that, bar a single second half shot. 6.5


Giggs (Fellaini), 66: Made his 145th appearance in the Champions League when he entered the action.  The middle of the pitch seemed to turn into a yawning gap when the Welshman entered the game. 6.0

Jones (Welbeck), 91: N/A

This is farlieonfootie for October 3.

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