Player ratings: Sunderland vs Manchester United

by Sam Peoples

David De Gea: 7 Wasn’t genuinely tested during the match with the only save he had to make coming late on from a Connor Wickham shot. Also showed his increasing bravery with an early call to his defence and getting a strong fist to a looping cross, getting a blow to the head from Vidic for his troubles.

Rafael: 5 Surprisingly looked quite uncomfortable in the early exchanges especially with him having a two week rest after not being called up to the Brazil squad. Replaced in the 33rd minute for J.Evans with a groin injury that rules him out of the Chelsea game on Monday.

Chris Smalling: 7 With Rafael being taken off early into the game, Smalling was forced to play at right back, a position that he does not favour. However, he adapted quickly and when Sunderland attacked down the left, made sure he offered support in the centre to deal with the crosses.

Nemanja Vidic: 8 Solid at the back. A great man to have when the opposition attack and he kept calm under pressure. Could of even grabbed a headed goal towards the end of the match from a corner.

Alex Buttner: 7 Reminded me of a younger Rafael, only stronger. Great quick feet and attacking purpose. If he works more on his defensive duties, he could really challenge Evra for the left back spot next season.

Antonio Valencia: 7 Though he played well for his Ecuador during the break, I wasn’t expecting him to perform miracles. He found his team-mates with ground passes but yet again his crosses were wild. Tracked back when Sunderland were applying pressure to help Smalling out.

Anderson: 7 Looked fresh, especially in the first half by providing balls out wide to Valencia and Young. Failed to show enough effort winning possession back in my opinion, although when you’re as injury-prone as him that’s understandable.

Michael Carrick: 9 Quietly brilliant again and makes playing in his role much easier than it actually is. My Man of the Match.

Shinji Kagawa: 8 Always wanted the ball. Displayed great movement to find space on the pitch then looked to see who he could thread the pass in-between. 91% passing accuracy in his favoured role, playing off the striker like in his Dortmund days.

Ashley Young: 5 Made some poor decisions when to play the pass to the overlapping runner. Would’ve like to see him whip a few more crosses in then he did. Also wasted a good free-kick chance in the first half.

Robin Van Persie: 7 Looked isolated at times. Thought he’d scored the winner but it was credited as a Bramble O.G. The search for his 20th in the league continues.

Subs

Jonny Evans: 8 Looked confident in dealing with Sessegnon who is usually a tricky customer. Coped very well on his return to the Stadium of Light.

Danny Welbeck: 5 Used to hold the ball up in the last few minutes of the match which he managed to do well by linking up with Cleverley.

Tom Cleverley: 6 His energy lifted the team when he replaced the tired Anderson. Linked up with his fellow substitute Welbeck in the dying minutes to keep the ball in the home team’s half.

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