Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Debut: Manchester United 2 - Cardiff City 0 -- Game Recap and Player Ratings

photo by benbenvia PhotoRee

Juan Mata made his Manchester United debut Tuesday night, but it was Robin Van Persie hogging the headlines as the Dutchman got off the mark early to lead the home side to a relatively comfortable 2-0 win over Cardiff City at Old Trafford. Ashley Young bagged the second goal of the evening to put the contest comfortably beyond the Bluebird's reach in the second half. Never truly looking threatened on defense -- although definitely appearing confused and slow at times --  United played better than they have in recent weeks, although still far from the fluid heights fans may remember from recent seasons.

Indeed, while it appears that Mata will indeed be a creative spark so desperately needed by the side, the mere fact he was backed by Ryan Giggs and Phil Jones in the engine room speaks to the issues still apparent in the Red Devils' midfield.  Herewith, the individual player ratings for a game that saw the team turn around a string of poor performances in front of the home crowd:  

De Gea: Little to do on either side of the interval; a relative breeze. 7.0

Rafael: Sloppy in possession, but looked decent in attack. 5.5

Smalling: Rose high in the air on numerous occasions. 6.0

Evans: Covered for his teammates and turned in another solid performance. 6.0

Evra (c): A dangerous weapon rampaging down the left, and easily could have had a couple of assists if Mata and Januzaj had scored.  However, the Frenchman was also caught out defensively a number of times. 6.0

Valencia: Hit the bar early when he really should have scored, and was denied by Marshall late in the game. 5.5

Jones: Sat deep for most of the match and came up with a late block. Not terribly convincing. 5.0

Giggs: Unable to influence the match from the middle. 5.0

Young: A great cross to start the game, placed on a virtual platter for Valencia. His goal, the team's second of the evening, was an absolute gem. 7.0

Mata: Offered a glimpse of what he can do when he picked out a wide open Young on 20 minutes, but the winger was unable to control the ball. Still (and understandably) didn't look quite on the same song sheet as his teammates yet. 7.5

Van Persie: The Dutchman showed just how much he's been missed when he headed twice in succession to find the net before the ten minute mark. 7.0


Rooney (Van Persie), 63: Almost scored several times on his return to the pitch. 6.5

Cleverley (Giggs), 71: Didn't seem to add much. 5.5

Januzaj (Mata), 85: Should've  scored in stoppage time. 6.0

This is farlieonfootie for January 29.

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