Manchester United Starting XI
Van der Sar – 6: After his clanger against West Brom, Stoke are not the ideal team to face a week later. He handled fairly well – everything Rory Delap could throw at him. Nothing he could do for goal.
Neville – 5: Fortunate not to be sent off in his 600th appearance for the club, after receiving a harsh yellow card. Was surprised he started ahead of Rafael or Brown. Couple of strong tackles, but was skinned for pace by Etherington on one occasion. He started well, but his performance gradually deteriorated. The correct decision to replace him at half time.
Vidic – 8.5: Monster in the air. Won virtually header lumped towards him, nullifying the threat of Kenwyne Jones. An assist for Hernandez’s first goal. Best performance as Man United Captain to date. Man of the match.
Ferdinand – 8: Perhaps less noticeable compared to Vidic, but very good all the same. ‘Rio cool’ when required and his positional play was pretty much spot on.
O’Shea – 5: Thought he was okay during the first half apart from the odd aimless long punt forward. During the second half however – we saw the same John O’Shea that faced Fulham – struggling to find a team mate with the simplest of passes.
Nani – 5: Poor performance. Dilly dallied when in possession and passing was below par. He worked hard to atone for errors. Improved during the final ten minutes.
Scholes – 5: Was okay during the first half, poor during the second half – struggled as Stoke upped their tempo and work rate. Sloppy in possession on more than one occasion – leading to the equalising goal. He is having less influence on proceedings in away fixtures, when teams are prepared to battle for midfield domination. The thought he should be saved for games at Old Trafford?
Fletcher – 6: Quiet-ish game again, but better than recent performances.
Evra – 6: At his best when supporting a winger, rather than fulfil the role himself. He struggled in the role (to be expected) and in the main we lacked an attacking threat down the left hand side. He did a job for the team and was his normal busy self.
Berbatov – 7.5: Our main creative force. Heavily involved in the build up for winning goal.
Hernandez – 8: Wayne who? Great improvisation shown for the opening goal and illustrated a natural predator instinct for the winner. He shares similarities to that of a young Michael Owen, which I suggested during the World Cup – Javier Hernandez A Young Michael Owen
Brown – 6: Did okay.
Carrick – 5: Struggled to adjust to pace of game. Hoping he starts against Wolves in an attempt to regain confidence and form.
Obertan – 6: Showed some nice touches and appears more self assured compared to last season. Surely a certainty to start against Wolves.
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