photo by anoldent
An uninspired victory may be better than an pulsating loss or draw, and the three points earned by Manchester United against Crystal Palace on Saturday will undoubtedly lift Mancunian spirits sagging from a depressing start to the 2014 football calendar. If the football on display in the Red Devils' 2-0 victory at Selhurst Park is the future, however, it's difficult not to pine for the past of this glorious franchise, as the contest can charitably be described as being utterly devoid of quality football and true scoring opportunities. Marouane Fellaini, newly restored to the lineup after a lengthy absence due to injury, missed the visitors' easiest chance of the afternoon, and the victory was only secured by Robin Van Persie steadiness from the spot and Wayne Rooney's quality in front of net.
Shown below are our thoughts on the individual player ratings on a match that was largely missing what the Red Devils offer in droves when they play their best football: entertainment.
De Gea: Long periods of boredom punctuated by the need to display his alertness and cat-like reflexes. 6.5
Smalling: Offered very little going forward from the right. 5.5
Vidic: Denied by the bar but commanded the box well. 6.0
Evra: Won the penalty as the clock hit the hour mark and pulled back a brilliant cross for Wayne Rooney to seal the victory. 7.0
Fellaini: Ventured forward but failed to hit an open net from 12 yards out. Looked comically slow going forward. 4.5
Carrick: Sat deep and had plenty of time to spray the ball around. 6.0
Januzaj: His first half goal was disallowed due to a handball, and he never really came into the game. 5.5
Mata: Could've been whistled for a penalty on defense, and seemingly found it difficult to get untracked at the other end. 5.5
Rooney: Celebrate his new contract with a goal. 6.5
Van Persie: Whiffed on the bicycle kick but buried the penalty. 6.5
Valencia (Januzaj), 80: N/A
Giggs (Van Persie), 80: N/A
Fletcher (Fellaini), 88: N/A
This is farlieonfootie for February 22, 2013.