Saturday, October 5, 2013

Prodigy: Manchester United 2 - Sunderland 1 -- Player Ratings

Prodigy floppy disk
Photo by Grilled Cheese

Adnan Januzaj's surprise inclusion in Manchester United's starting eleven paid considerable dividends for his manager, as the young prodigy's second-half brace lifted the visitors to a 2-1 victory over the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light on Saturday evening.  Januzaj livened up an otherwise flat United attack, and the Belgian's two goals near the hour mark turned the game around for his side, which had been placed in a losing position through Emanuele Giaccherini's early goal.  Although Sunderland threatened to equalize and pull back two points in stoppage time, United's second half turnaround took the wind out of the home side's attack for much of latter 45 minutes, and the visitors had just enough gas in the tank to get the game over the finish line.

Herewith, our thoughts on the individual player performances in a match that handed a critical three points to the Red Devils

De Gea: Absolutely nothing he could have done on Sunderland's goal.  The Spaniard offered a goalkeeping master class to deny Giaccherini near the half hour mark and keep his side in the contest. 8.5

Rafael: Looked sloppy going forward, repeatedly offering a poor first touch. 6.5

Jones: Made mistakes before the interval, but his beautiful recovery tackle saved a 3-on-1 for the home side. Worked hard to hold Altidore in check for the second half. 7.0

Vidic: An inability to clear the ball cost his team dearly in the game's first five minutes, but the big Serb pulled it together after the interval to steady the ship.  7.0

Evra: Picked out Nani with a perfectly-weighted first half cross, and his vision was rewarded again when Januzaj stroked home the Frenchman's cross to pull the visitors level on 55 minutes. 7.5

Nani: Missed a volley when he really should have hit the target. Was willing to shoot, but often seemed to slow down the offense.  6.0

Januzaj: Displayed a brilliant touch and looked easily the team's most lively attacker on the night. Was constantly forced by the home side to try something spectacular and often succeeded. Offered a superbly composed finish to equalize at the 55 minute mark, and a stunning volley handed his side a lead they would not relinquish just six minutes later. 8.5

Carrick: Guilty of trying to force balls that he shouldn't. Appeared to settle down in the second half. 7.0

Cleverley: Seemingly unable to produce a decent forward pass. Lots of motion, but very little end product. 6.5

Rooney: Dropped deep and saw plenty of the ball, but offered only wildly inaccurate passes into the box. His touch was a good deal less than world class, and the Englishman created no real opportunities today. 6.0

Van Persie: Must be frustrated with the paucity of quality service. Spent all day being pushed onto his right foot by the Sunderland defense. Missed a sitter near stoppage time. 6.0


Welbeck (Nani), 76: Helped to keep the ball moving. 7.0

Valencia (Januzaj), 76: Hustled during his short time on the pitch, and sprung RVP through near the game's end. 7.0

Smalling (Rafael), 85: Sent in to lock things down.  7.0

This is farlieonfootie for October 5.

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