Player Ratings: Manchester United 4-2 Bayer Leverkusen

by Tom Parker

David de Gea 7: Helpless for Leverkusen’s deflected opener but De Gea was at fault for the German outfit’s rather meaningless second goal. A superb save on the 70th minute with the game at 2-1 was critical.

Chris Smalling 7: An aggressive yet composed display from Smalling in his first appearance of the season. Defended well against the highly rated Heung Min-Son and was always quick to close down and tackle. Crossing was a little erratic though and he was reluctant to attack too readily.

Rio Ferdinand 6: Generally fared well against Steffan Kiessling, although the big German did carve out a decent chance when he out-muscled the 35-year-old. Conceded a needless corner in the build-up to the second goal too.

Nemanja Vidic 7: Another impressive display from United’s captain which was his fifth consecutive start. Was imperious aerially and his distribution was nearly faultless too. Handled Kiessling well in tandem with Ferdinand. Continuously improving.

Patrice Evra 7: Provided the cross for Wayne Rooney’s opener. He was a willing runner, always offering Shinji Kagawa a passing angle from the left. Defended resolutely against the in-form Sidney Sam.

Michael Carrick 6: An understated yet typically classy display from the midfielder. Pressed high and retained the ball well, dictating the ebb and flow of the contest. Looks to be developing an understanding with Marouane Fellaini.

Marouane Fellani 7: A fantastic full debut from the Belgian international. He offered something which United have lacked for a while and provided physicality in the centre. His interceptions were well-timed and he recovered the ball numerous times. His distribution was good too as were his headed clearances. Looks to be well worth the substantial outlay.

Antonio Valencia 8: Easily his best performance over the last year despite a quiet first half. A well-taken goal capped an excellent evening. Valencia’s crossing was accurate and he looked to beat his full-back at every opportunity. Seems to have found his 2011/12 mojo.

Shinji Kagawa 6: After much furore over his absence from the starting eleven in recent weeks, Kagawa did relatively little to justify his inclusion. The game seemed to pass him by at times, although he did aid ball retention. Enigmatic. Played out wide left which may have affected his effectiveness.

Wayne Rooney 9: A second man-of-the-match performance in a row for Rooney. He scored two good goals; the first a composed volley and the second a cool finish after a quick counter. Notched an assist too but should have passed to van Persie after rounding the ‘keeper. Looked physically good and seems near top form.

Robin van Persie 7: Aside from a petulant booking which may become important later in the competition, it was a respectable outing from the Dutchman. His volley was a magnificent display of agility and breath-taking technique but he should have scored a tap-in late on from a Valencia cross.

Substitutes

Ashley Young 6: Replaced a tiring Kagawa and played a key role in the swift counter attack for United’s fourth with a weighted pass into Rooney. Looks to be growing in confidence and could be selected this weekend given his defensive diligence.

Tom Cleverley 6: Brought on in place of Fellaini, played a few neat passes but struggled to make an impact. Place is under threat with the former Everton man’s arrival.

Javier Hernandez 5: Late change for Rooney. Ineffectual.

Image: Twitter/ManUtd

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