Player Ratings & Thoughts After Bursaspor


At £10m, Chris Smalling is looking an absolute bargain. The comparison to Rio Ferdinand is fairly obvious. They share similar attributes: height; blessed with pace, natural athletes and look comfortable in possession. Once his reading of the game improves (which it surely will with experience) he will become a real asset for the club. If he continues to impress he will surely put pressure on Jonny Evans to be third choice defender, if he is not already.

Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes controlling midfield. Scholes was sublime, his best game of the season in my opinion. He sat in front of the back four – dictating play at his will and occasionally offered an attacking threat. His future lies in a three man midfield, where his midfield partners can do his leg work. Carrick was excellent against Spurs and now Bursaspor. He is improving steadily with the more game time he receives – hopefully his last two performances a sign of what is to come. An inform Carrick has played an important role during recent success. He isn’t a glamour player, he keeps the team ticking over and retaining possession. Against Bursaspor he passed well, highlighted by the assist for Fletcher to open the scoring and protected the defence when required.

Obertan impressed. The odd poor pass in the first half, but he was very good during the second half – topped off with a cracker of a goal (very similar to the goal he scored for the reserves against Liverpool last season). His performance was mature; he knew the correct time to pass/maintain possession or dribble/to be adventurous. With limited options on the wing Obertan may have a big role to play in the next month.

After one off-ish and one poor performance the vultures are once again circling Dimitar Berbatov. Although Berbatov has failed to score since his hat trick against Liverpool, his overall play has been very good. With Hernandez as his strike partner, Berbatov is now fulfilling a deeper role compared to earlier in the season which may be the answer for his lack of recent goals. There is no denying he was poor against Bursaspor, he was perhaps isolated and lacked support after Nani was replaced. To suggest we’re seeing the “old Berbatov” after two poor games is extremely harsh, he has been one of our better players this season. The odd strop did him no favours. The Man United man needs a goal against Wolves on Saturday to stop those vultures…

With Smalling, Rafael, Obertan and Hernandez all showing their potential and impressing at one point or another further highlights how wrong Wayne Rooney was to question the ambition of Manchester United. As Sir Alex stated, it is his job to spot and develop the potential of players – thinking three or four years in advance. Appears the great man is doing just that…

Starting XI

Van Der Sar – 6
Rafael – 7
Smalling – 7
Vidic – 7
Evra – 7.5
Nani – 6
Carrick – 8
Scholes – 8.5
Fletcher – 7
Obertan – 7
Berbatov – 5


Park – 6.5
Bebe – 6
Fabio – N/A

If you wish to discuss this issue further with myself or other members of the Stretford End Arising community, you can do so in the Stretford End Arising Forum

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  1. Avatar

    I was impressed with the stats at the end of last night’s match, with Scholes completing 81 out of 90 passes and Carrick was around 87%. Fabulous work rate.

    Berb WAS disappointing, head hung low, sloping shoulder.

    Rafael had a good game, almost to atone for last season.

  2. Avatar
    Danny Salford Red on

    Hate to say it as have always rated him but the way Jonny Evans has performed this season whenever hes played Smalling is a country mile ahead of him in the pecking order for me. He actually wins headers and is strong for a start.

  3. Avatar

    never again will i go to turkey. 4 and half hours buy playing. then we got a car to Bursaspo nearly took us a hole day. the only reason i went to the ganme is cos my bother couldnt go so i took his place. only got back this moring. and we were under a tent and match wasnt over until 12 oo am there time. had drive all the back again god. never again

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