Sunderland 0-0 Manchester United
Van der Sar – 7: Made a cracking one v one save plus a couple more decent saves, but otherwise little else to do.
Rafael – 7.5: Second consecutive impressive game for the young Brazilian. Harassed and closed down opponents and offered more going forward compared to his performance against Valencia. Finally I can stop discussing the right back spot in my match preview articles, surely..?
Ferdinand -7.5: I’ve erred on the side of caution where Rio has been concerned – I was wrong to do so. Has he really been absent for 5 months? He has walked back into the team seamlessly. Guess the old saying “class is permanent” rings true when referring to Rio.
Vidic – 7.5: Strong committed performance from the big Serbian. With his surges down the left is he the solution to the left wing dilemma? “Vidic Will Tear You Apart Again” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it…
O’Shea – 6: A better defensive performance compared to recent weeks from the Irishman, but less effective going forward. Although Evra is still searching for peek form we missed his attacking thrust down the left wing.
Scholes – 5.5: Unable to influence proceedings.
Fletcher – 5.5: Pretty much the same as Scholes – extremely quiet game. The Darren Fletcher of last season is badly needed in away fixtures – midfield is simply being overrun – much of the first half was played inside United’s half.
Anderson – 5.5: He was the best of a dire midfield – used his strength/power to make one or two surging runs – perhaps l. Lacked movement in making himself available, but still lacking match fitness/sharpness therefore deserves leeway.
Nani – 5.5: Extremely poor first half – sloppy passing and greedy on one occasion when Owen and Anderson were relatively free inside the penalty area. He slightly improved during the second half, but overall a disappointing performance.
Macheda – 5: Both he and Owen barely touched during their time on field – not necessarily their fault with midfield offering little service.
Owen – 5: See Macheda.
Berbatov – 6: Man United improved once the Bulgarian replaced Owen. He came to life during the final 10-15 minutes and came the closest to scoring.
Hernandez – 6: Added a spark in attack plus linked well with Berbatov.
Bebe: Little time to make an impression or warrant a score.
Man of the Match: Rafael or Vidic
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