Manchester United Starting XI:
Van der Sar – 6: Flapped at one cross, but otherwise had little to do.
Rafael – 7: The word mature has been branded about regarding Rafael’s performance – fairly accurate. Tempered his natural attacking instinct and showed greater responsibility in defensive situations. He surely must be allowed an opportunity to establish himself as first choice right back.
Ferdinand – 7: Was superb – allayed my fears about his performance levels after missing so much football. His experience told regarding positional play. Sterner tests lie ahead for Rio, but hopefully he has overcome his injury nightmare.
Vidic – 7: The odd hairy moment during the first half, but much more himself during the second. Pleasing to have the partnership of Rio and Vidic reunited.
Evra – 6: Still some way off peak form. He struggled in the first half as Valencia targeted the right hand side. Improved a tad during the second half.
Carrick – 7: Was occasionally sloppy early on. He however protected/acted as a shield for Rio and Vidic – his influence on the team was notable.
Fletcher – 6: Quiet-ish game.
Anderson – 6: Did well in parts – was okay. Faded badly, which is only to be expected due to his injury lay off plus the heat inside the Mestalla.
Park – 5: Poor performance – really struggling in the left wing role – lost possession on several occasions. Left wing is becoming a real concern… Obertan will never have a greater opportunity than now to stake a claim to be a United player.
Nani – 7: I’m undecided on whether he was good or poor overall? We saw the better of Nani whilst running at Jérémy Mathieu, but poor set pieces and crossing continued – frustrating. Showed a healthy appetite for tracking back – little wrong with his attitude.
Berbatov – 6: Worked hard, was isolated at times, lacked service from midfield and looked frustrated. Two brilliant efforts on goal, one created off his own back.
Man United’s Substitutes:
Hernandez – 7: Brilliant cameo! First Champions League goal of many we hope. Hit the post with another half chance. Competition between strikers is hotting up nicely…
Macheda – 7: Limited time, but made a substantial contribution by feeding Hernandez for the winner. In my opinion him or John Cofie are the two young strikers, which excite the most.
Man of the Match?
There was no real standout player for man of the match, for me. The players performed to a similar standard. Might be alone on this, but my vote goes to Carrick. He wasn’t outstanding, but due to his defensive attributes his performance was the most influential of the three central midfielders. His return (as part of a three man midfield) and Rio’s was the main contributing factor for keeping a clean sheet.
If you disagree, please share your thoughts?
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