Player Ratings: Manchester United vs. Blackpool


By Mark Young.

Manchester United 4-2 Blackpool

The Premier League champions were too strong for Blackpool in the end after a spirited performance from the Seasiders.

Ian Holloway’s men will play in the Championship next season after finishing a dramatic survival Sunday in the drop zone. Ji Sung Park gave United the lead in the first half before a superb Charlie Adam free kick levelled the scores. A 57th minute Gary Taylor-Fletcher goal had Blackpool believing until Anderson just after the hour mark. An Ian Evatt own goal from a Chris Smalling cross gave United the lead before Michael Owen put the game to bed.

Nemanja Vidic held the trophy aloft as Edwin van der Sar played his last game for the club at Old Trafford. United now have eyes on next Saturday in the Champions League whilst the Tangerines begrudgingly look towards the Championship.

Man United

1. Edwin Van der Sar

It was always going to be a sad day when the Dutchman left Old Trafford but it almost didn’t seem real until Sunday. That was it, no more van der Sar at Old Trafford. He conceded twice but had no chance with either goal. He will be remembered as a legend in the same breath as Peter Schmeichel. Legend. 7 (Out of 10)

21. Rafael

The Brazilian right back has had to watch his twin brother take the reins in his position in the last month. He had a good volley at Gilks in the first half but looks likely to miss out on the Champions League final after being forced off at half time. 6

15. Nemanja Vidic

The United captain has lifted his first trophy in his first season as captain at Old Trafford. His eye wasn’t on the ball on Sunday though and was clumsy giving away the free kick that led to Charlie Adam’s superb effort. The club’s player of the year will be wider awake at Wembley. 6

23. Jonny Evans

Evans was moved to centre back after a spell at left back against Blackburn at Ewood Park. He had a solid enough game, guarding DJ Campbell but Ferdinand will play at Wembley against Barcelona. He was caught out a little bit for Taylor-Fletcher’s goal. 6

3. Patrice Evra

The Frenchman has recovered from injury just in time for the Champions League final and his energetic display showed Evra getting back to his best. He has a good understanding with his good friend Park and that shows. He kept Puncheon quiet and will keep his place next week. 7

18. Paul Scholes

It is still uncertain whether Scholes has played his last game at Old Trafford after reportedly stalling on a one year extension. He was caught in possession early on just before Keith Southern should have scored. He came back well and controlled the tempo of the game. 6

24. Darren Fletcher

The Scot’s first start since recovering from a virus and gave a busy performance. His return to fitness may have come too late for Wembley but he had a solid enough run out to suggest he could be ready. Booked. 6

8. Anderson

The industrious Brazilian is finally scoring a few goals and added another one in a good display against Blackpool. He was busy, as always and scored with a brilliant finish. He even put Owen through on goal with a good through ball to the veteran striker. 7

17. Nani

One of the only players in the United squad who’s form has been dwindling in the last few months. The simple things he did so well in the opening months of the season has now see him try and do too much on the ball. It will be a surprise to see him start against Barcelona. 6

13. Ji-Sung Park

A surprise inclusion in the starting line up as it is fully expected that the South Korean will take up a starting berth in the final. He got United going with a good finish from a Berbatov pass, over the out coming Gilks. It is tipped that he will have a big say next week and on performances like we have seen in recent months, those tips won’t be far off. MAN OF THE MATCH 8

9. Dimitar Berbatov

The Bulgarian only needed one goal in the end to secure the golden boot but most of the good work was done earlier in the season. He failed to get that goal and ended up on level terms with Tevez. He had a couple of decent chances but GIlks was all over them and it wasn’t his day. He did set up Park for the opener. 6


12. Chris Smalling

Came on at half time and played at right back in place of Rafael. His cross into the box put Ian Evatt into panic to score past his own keeper. 7

7. Michael Owen

It is more than likely that this was Owen’s last game as a United player but he signed off with a brilliant finish past Gilks. Picked up his first league winner’s medal. 7

10. Wayne Rooney

Cameo performance from Rooney as he replaced Vidic with 5 minutes left. N/A


21. Matt Gilks

Gilks must have had a bet on Carlos Tevez to be top goal scorer because there was no way that he was letting Berbatov past him. He made a string of saves to keep his team in it. He was unlucky with the United goals as there was nothing he could do. 7

5. Neil Eardley

Defended relatively well against Nani and Park but did not possess any attacking threat. This was due to the fact of the attacking intent of the champions. 6

6. Ian Evatt

A day to forget for Blackpool’s, usually reliable rock. He fell asleep when Park nicked in for the opener and got his feet mixed up with the own goal. He almost made it 3-3 with a good run forward but it wasn’t to be. 4

15. Alex Baptiste

Didn’t have the best of games and was sloppy at the back, which has been the darker side to the Blackpool story this season. He has had a good debut season in the Premier League but failed when it came to the big occasion. 5

3. Stephen Crainey

Nani did not get a sniff off of Crainey as he kept him quiet for most of the game. He was solid enough but he, like Eardley had no attacking threat when the Seasiders needed it. 6

4. Keith Southern

Southern should have scored within the first minute as he found space in the United area to shoot wide. If he wasn’t to score it should have been on target but it was a poor effort. His role is to look after his back four and did that effectively enough but it was the sloppiness of the four behind him that was ultimately their downfall. 6

11. David Vaughan

The Welsh midfielder is tidy in possession and had a positive influence on his side. He was involved in brilliant build up play in the second goal as he linked up with Taylor-Fletcher and then delivered a cracking ball for the finish. Would be a surprise if he is not still in the Premier League next season. 7

26. Charlie Adam

The Blackpool captain kept fighting until the last. His superb free kick for the equaliser summed the Scot’s season up. He did everything in his power to keep Blackpool up and will now surely depart for pastures new. 7

12. Gary Taylor-Fletcher

Taylor-Fletcher earned the free kick for the equalling goal and scored to put Blackpool in dreamland just before the hour. It unfortunately back fired but he more than most will look back on the season with an enormous amount of pride. 7

42. Jason Puncheon

The quick, direct winger was in and out of the game but when he was having an impact he was a threat. He troubled the United back line but a final ball was lacking. 6

39. DJ Campbell

Another player who would be very proud of his display’s this season. His goals have shut a number of critics up and was always a constant threat at Old Trafford. His movement caused problems but the opportunity of a final day goal never materialised. 6


23. Matt Phillips

The young Englishman replaced Puncheon for the last 15 minutes. He had little time to make an impact but his pace was a problem. 6

16. Luke Varney

Another 75th minute substitution that didn’t have an impact and could not change the game. 5

10. Brett Ormerod

A late, late sub, but couldn’t change the inevitable. N/A

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