David de Gea 7 – De Gea was not at fault for either goal with both headers being well out of his reach. When called upon, he made smart saves and as usual, his distribution was superb. This was the eighth game in a row he has started and he is beginning to really become United’s #1 keeper.
Alexander Buttner 5 – A pretty poor performance from Buttner all round. With a narrow formation, the onus is on the attacking impetus of the fullbacks but it wasn’t there tonight. Defensively, he looked nervous and he added little to the attack.
Jonny Evans 7 – Another game and another sturdy performance from the ever reliable Northern Irishman. The more games he plays, the better he gets and he is really making the starting spot his own. If we can get Evans and Vidic ticking together, clean sheets will flow our way.
Nemanja Vidic 7 – Pretty much every ball that was sent into the box, bar the two Collins goals (which everyone was at fault for in terms of poor marking), Vidic sent it straight back out. He could be a wrestler if he wanted to, such is his physical presence. The fitter he becomes the more involved he will get and we are starting to see signs of our real captain returning.
Chris Smalling 6 – Personally, I much prefer seeing Smalling playing in the centre of defence than out at right back. Like Buttner, he added little to the attack. His link up play with Rafael was poor and his passing was off in the attacking third. He didn’t play too bad defensively but the modern full back requires more.
Rafael 6 – What a strange game for Rafael. By full time, he had played as a right winger, a central midfielder and a right back. Unsurprisingly so, Rafael had a mixed bag. He had little service when playing as a winger, looked uncomfortable when in central midfield and didn’t have long enough to settle in his favoured position.
Shinji Kagawa 6 – It was a pretty invisible performance from Kagawa tonight who struggled against a domineering and physical West Ham side. Despite the acres of space being given by a far from pressing West Ham, he couldn’t pierce their defence and wasn’t firing on all cylinders. Patience will be important when it comes to re-integrating him back in the team.
Paul Scholes 7 – Same old Scholesy. In the absence of Carrick, United needed Scholes to dictate ball retention and possession football. It was the reason we took the lead with our calming and patient play. His passes were pin point as per usual and he was taken off at the right time by Ferguson.
Tom Cleverley 8 – Man of the match. Ferguson asked Cleverley to add goals to his game and he has done exactly that. Another delectable placed finish tonight capped a fine performance. It’s his dynamism and energy that are so important to our midfield but it is obvious to see that he thrives off the partnership of Carrick.
Javier Hernandez 7 – With little to no service, there wasn’t much the Mexican could do tonight in front of goal but as has been the case this season, his all round play has been markedly improved. Dropping deeper to instigate attacks, he was pretty involved in the middle part of the pitch and effectively so.
Danny Welbeck 7 – It’s been a really tough season for Welbeck with Hernandez, Rooney and van Persie all shining at various points. He hasn’t scored many, but not for the want of trying. As you always get with Welbeck, he ran himself into the ground tonight. He needs to find himself a goal, any goal, to boost his confidence and let the Welbeck of last season return.
Robin van Persie 8 – What can you say that you haven’t already? Wow. What a player. Superlatives don’t describe him. £24 million is an utter steal. How can anybody take a 50 yard pass in their stride and follow it up with a cool finish with a weaker foot finish, all whilst remaining as cool as a cucumber in the 91st minute? World class once again.
Ryan Giggs 7 – Fans were getting on Giggs’ back earlier this season and rightly so, he was playing badly, but they are there no more. In the past few performances, Giggs has turned the clocks back and he did it once again tonight. He should of scored himself off a fantastic Rafael cross but more than made up for it with his exquisite pass to van Persie for the winner.
Antonio Valencia 5 – So, who kidnapped Valencia and replaced him with this terrible doppelganger? He was lost again today. I don’t really know what we can say about him now other than the fact he really needs to dig his heels in and find a performance. Hopefully the return of Nani will give him a kick in the right direction.