By Alex Keery
David de Gea: 6 Not a whole lot he could have done for Kompany’s goal as his defenders let him down. Looking slightly more assured these days, and dealt with some difficult crosses better than he would have only a few months ago. Midway through the second half, Yaya Toure hammered a low cross into the crowded box which De Gea did well to clear with his feet. As City pressed late on, he got down low to save well from a Gael Clichy drive.
Phil Jones: 4 Rafael was dropped after his performance in the 4-4 draw with Everton, and on this showing, it was the wrong decision. He looked unusually uncomfortable carrying the ball from defence, something which became almost a trademark of his earlier in the season. He defended well from crosses, and as the game progressed he found himself drifting infield more often, where he looked slightly more effective. However, he wasted our best chances with some woeful crossing. Showed his instinctive knack for defending with an exceptional tackle on Nasri with seconds to go when the Frenchman would have certainly made it 2-0.
Chris Smalling 5 A night to forget for Smalling, unfortunately. In for the injured Jonny Evans, he never looked as assured as the Nortern Irishman. It was his failure to track the run of Vincent Kompany which led to the winning goal, and after that moment he never really appeared to recover. Did well in clearing crosses, though, as he and Ferdinand easily dealt with the aerial threats of the diminutive Tevez and Aguero.
Rio Ferdinand 7 Few complaints can be made about his performance. Time and time again he frustrated Aguero, and found it far too easy to head clear hopeful City crosses into the box.
Patrice Evra 5 Disappointing performance from the captain, to say the least. He was easily beaten by Nasri on 2 occasions in the first half which could have led to goals were it not for Ferdinand. He also appears to have completely lost the attacking prowess which made him such a versatile force down the left flank for United. Zabaleta’s tireless work kept Evra pinned back for long periods of the game as he struggled to really get involved.
Ji-Sung Park 5 The shock selection of the night, picked ahead of Young and Valencia, making his first start for 3 months. The reasoning is understandable – a packed midfield would, on paper, benefit from his famed energy and relentless hunting of the ball. However, he found it almost impossible to really get going in any rare United counter attacks, his only real involvement was driving a rare United shot well over the bar after a smart short corner caught City’s defence cold.
Michael Carrick 6 Continues to divide opinion amongst United fans but he does his job as effectively as anyone in the league. As always, he kept possession with smart, short passing, and made it awkward for Silva to find the space he needed to function. United’s counter-attacking game never really gathered any pace, and as a result, the ball often ended up stuck in midfield; more often than not, Carrick was forced to retain possession by passing backwards.
Paul Scholes 6 Unusually quiet game for him, as he struggled to have any real impact following a promising start to the game. Gareth Barry tracked him effectively, hounding him into playing the simple pass which stopped any attacks from getting going. A night to forget, even for him, in which United never looked a threat. Booked.
Nani 4 No real threat with his delivery, and found it hard to use the ball when he drifted infield. Ineffective and disappointing night for the winger who was lucky to last 83 minutes before being replaced by Young.
Ryan Giggs 5 Like Scholes, he started well, but the game passed him by for long periods. He defied his age, closing down the City back four effectively early in the first half, but his energy was lacking in the second half, and all too often his passing was safe and sensible rather than cutting and decisive.
Wayne Rooney6 Far too isolated in this United formation. The forward does his best work dropping slightly deeper than an attacking partner, so leaving him alone up front against a resolute City defence was an optimistic tactic, to say the least. Appeared to dive and exaggerate under the weakest of tackles from Kompany which led to the defender getting himself booked. Frustrating night in which he saw hardly any of the ball and was unable to manage a single shot at Joe Hart.
Danny Welbeck: Unlucky to not start this game. Almost made an immediate impact, flicking on a header for Nani to chase. However, he never really got going.
Antonio Valencia: Also another who arguably should have started the game. His natural tendencies to drag the game wide would have suited the congested midfield in which United struggled.
Ashley Young: Too late for the winger to do any damage.