Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rebound: Manchester United 3 - Aston Villa 0 -- Game Recap and Player Ratings

Photo by Sancho McCann on Flickr

Manchester United rebounded from a four game winless streak in the League on Sunday afternoon, emerging from Villa Park with a comfortable 3-0 victory over the home side, the Red Devils first domestic win since November 10th against Arsenal.  Coming on a weekend in which the League leaders Arsenal dropped points against a rampant Manchester City side, the three points will go a long way toward putting some salve on a number of the self-inflicted wounds the side has suffered in recent weeks.  Danny Welbeck, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney competed for Man of the Match honors, with the homegrown Mancunian forward just nipping his fellow stars to the favored status, the reward for two early first half goals which made the game look comfortably in the bag before the interval.
Although United looked more free-flowing at times today, the perfunctory performance will do little to strike fear in the hearts of the teams' competitors, and much more of the same will be required before the team can put its rocky recent past behind it.  Herewith, the individual payer ratings in a game that must have calmed some jumpy nerves for the visitors:  
De Gea: Was tested early by the home side but proved more than up to the task. Finally, a clean sheet. 7.5

Rafael: The Brazilian is capable of crossing the ball as well as anyone on the team.  His best effort in quite some time. 8.0

Evans: Pumped some long balls forward and looked comfortable at the back. 7.5

Jones: Stalwart in the middle of defense. 7.5

Evra: Still looks a bit suspect. 6.0

Valencia: Clearly an important part of the afternoon's game plan and was on target with a cross that led to the away side's second goal of the afternoon. Had a stormer from the right. 8.5

Giggs: Creative force in the middle of the park, waned as the game drew on. 6.5

Cleverley: Key interception began the counterattack that led to a two goal lead. And finally a goal for the Red Devils' third of the afternoon. Much better effort than "average" on both sides of the ball. 7.5

Januzaj: Unlucky to hit the post, but claimed an assist as Welbeck was alert to the rebound for the opener.  Great movement again today. 7.5

Welbeck: His pace unsettled the defense and his quick reflexes led to both first half goals.  More please, from the Man of the Match. 9.0

Rooney: Forced to drop deep to touch the ball, but was the heartbeat of the team today with his Scholes-like long and short passing ability. 8.0


Fletcher (Giggs), 70: Boy, has he been missed.  Calm and collected, especially so given his absence. 7.0

Young (Januzaj), 70: Times have changed since he last starred at Villa Park. 6.0

Zaha (Rooney), 84: N/A

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