Sunday, November 10, 2013

Flat Track Bullies Exposed? Manchester United 1 - Arsenal 0 -- Game Recap and Player Ratings

Photo by Boom Boom! Revolution on Flickr

Robin Van Persie's 28th minute header provided Manchester United with all the margin it needed as the home side rode the crowd's energy to a crucial 1-0 victory over league-leading Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.  Prior to the game the team's Captain, central defender Nemanja Vidic, had asked his teammates to produce a 'statement' victory, one that testified to the Club's title credentials in a season that has seen its share of ups and downs in the early going. Although he was badly shaken up in a collision with his own goalkeeper at the end of the first half, Vidic evidently received the performance he was looking for, as Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones in particular turned in inspired shifts on their way to victory. 

Although Arsenal looked lively and controlled much of the game's second half, the Red Devils successfully dulled the visitors' cutting edge, holding the Gunners scoreless for the first time this season.  Herewith, our ratings on the individual performances from a victory that saw the Reds gain ground on virtually all of their title rivals

De Gea: Nothing to do in the first half bar a punch or two. Busier in the second half but never truly threatened. 7.0

Smalling: Displaying good hustle and intensity on the right, the Englishman worked hard to stretch the Arsenal defense. Had a real chance to put Van Persie's free kick in the net but finished like the center half he is. 6.5

Evans: Read the game well and used his body to make a number of key blocks. 7.0

Vidic: Knocked nearly unconscious upon colliding with his own 'keeper after overseeing a very quiet first half. Departed at the interval. 7.0

Evra: Game plan involved lots of crossing from the left flank but the Frenchman needed to hustle back more on defense. 6.0

Valencia: Looked strong and committed in the air.  Worked his socks off but still lacks the ability to produce a consistently reliable cross. 6.0

Jones: Gritty performance in midfield but tried to do too much on the dribble. Clash of heads with Sczcesny produced an inexplicable yellow from the referee. Broke up play exceptionally well, and was badly missed in midfield when switched to center back. Beginning to come into his own? 8.5

Carrick: A calming presence in the middle, but was unable to dictate the game when Jones was moved back to defense. 6.0

Kagawa: Kept the width on offense and harried Arsenal on defense,but once again failed to truly impact the result. 6.5

Rooney: Worked hard and drove United forward, and a wicked corner was a just reward for his efforts. Nearly doubled the lead at the hour mark but dragged his shot wide. Just shaded Jones for Man of the Match. 9.0

Van Persie: Extremely active early on, the Dutchman was obviously keyed up for the game. Offered a beautiful glancing header to give his side the lead on 28 minutes and oh, what a celebration. 7.5


Cleverley (Vidic), 46: Looked slightly off the paced after coming on and oversaw a midfield that was overrun in the second half. Unconvincing. 5.5

Giggs (Kagawa), 78: Yet another Moyes' surprise off the bench. 6.5

Fellaini (Van Persie), 85: Added some bite in the middle to close down the game. 6.0

This is farlieonfootie for November 10. 

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