Player Ratings: Manchester United vs Reading

by Tom Parker


David De Gea– certainly a less eventful night than five days ago at the Bernabeu, but was equal to many of Reading’s efforts. Was at his athletic best to hold on to a first half Le Fondre drive, and made a fine double save prior to Reading’s second goal. Distribution was exceptional as ever, but he would have been disappointed to concede late on. 7.

Phil Jones– was up for the physical battle against Reading skipper McAnuff, and had a solid time against the Jamaican international. Swung a couple of crosses into the box, and offered Valencia some support down the right flank. Was replaced before half-time after sustaining a knock which looked painful. Left Old Trafford on crutches, and will be a big miss if the injury is lengthy. 6.

Chris Smalling– passing was at times erratic, but did well in the air throughout against Reading’s frontline. Perhaps should have done a little better with Reading’s consolation goal. 7.

Nemanja Vidic– the big Serb relished the physical battle with Noel Hunt, and both required a change of shirt after a couple of meaty tussles. Excellent in the air, as per usual and made a couple of good blocks in and around the penalty area. 8.

Alexander Buttner– his first appearance since West Ham at home, and this was one of is better displays in a United shirt. His crossing was good throughout, and he put in a number of quality crosses down the left side. Linked well with Young and Welbeck, and did the defensive side better than he usually does. 7.

Antonio Valencia– started at right midfield, and again looked a little devout of confidence. Had a far better game at right back, where he was afforded space to run into with Nani stretching the play. Made many good standing tackles and interceptions when filling in at full-back, and supplied an assist to Nani with a good pass. 7.

Anderson– at times looked like he wanted to take the game by the scruff of the neck, but then proceeded to give the ball away cheaply. Made some good driving runs, but his ball retention was average at best. Seemed to run out of steam late on, and was replaced by Carrick. 6.

Tom Cleverley– rekindled his partnership with Anderson, and his dynamism and work-rate was good throughout. Kept the ball well, and his sharp, forward passing was good. Gutsy, and full of desire, as he looks to force himself back into the plans of Sir Alex after missing the Madrid game. 7.

Ashley Young– the winger’s first start since a knee injury in the win over Liverpool, an and he lasted 65 minutes on his return. Crossing was good, and he saw plenty of the ball in the first half. Should have opened the scoring but for a fine Federici save. Good to see Young back, as he has been our best winger this season. 6.

Javier Hernandez– ran the channels well, and was penalised harshly on a few occasions by the ref. Got his goal in the 72nd minute, a fine near post header, which incidentally was his 15th in 26 appearances. Will look to get more minutes on the pitch, with Welbeck being preferred of late by Sir Alex. 7.

Danny Welbeck– some good touches and passes in and around the box, where his quick feet worked well in Reading’s penalty area. Didn’t have many clear-cut chances, but his final touch often let him down. Decent link-up play with Hernandez, but never really looked like scoring. A decent performance following on from his heroics in the Bernabeu nonetheless. 7.

Subs

Van Persie– replaced Young after the hour mark, and demonstrated a few sublime touches after a weekend plea to start the game. Found himself in a deeper role, where his passing was impeccable. One switch of play to Nani drew applause from the crowd. 7.

Nani– came on for Jones, and immediately influenced the game. Hit the post with his third touch of the ball, and gave Reading’s full-back a torrid afternoon. Shot on sight, and certainly looked “up for it.” Scored the opener, which was a really good finish, and supplied the cross for Hernandez’s goal. Man of the match, if only he could perform at this level on a consistent basis. 9.

Michael Carrick– replaced a tiring Anderson very late on. Was his usual classy self on the ball, didn’t have a lot to do as reading pushed for an equaliser. 6.

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1 comment

Dan 02/19/2013 - 19:42

Tom, Reading didn’t score twice. Stating that in the opening paragraph prevents me from taking the rest of the article seriously…better editing required.

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