Player Ratings: Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United

by Tom Parker

David de Gea 7: The Spaniard was rarely truly tested by Sunderland. At times, he looked a little shaky with his kicking but he was helpless for Craig Gardner’s clinical opener and produced a stunning save to deny Giacherrini in the first half with the score at 1-0. Commanded his box well, too.

Rafael 6: Didn’t attack with the vigour that he usually does but did provide a decent outlet from the right hand side. Often sought to overlap Nani and coped well defensively, particularly in the second half. Limped off late on.

Phil Jones 6: Looked a little shaky in the first half and didn’t seem to form an understanding with Nemanja Vidic. He might have done better for Sunderland’s goal and Jones was a little over eager at times. Made a fabulous recovery tackle after making the mistake himself and improved noticeably in the second half.

Nemanja Vidic 5: Struggled to truly get to grips with the pace and power of Jozy Altidore and his botched clearance led to the goal. Despite looking a little leggy, he grew in confidence as the game wore on and improved.

Patrice Evra 6: Was beaten far too easily in the build-up to the first goal and the experienced Frenchman was guilty of being a little porous defensively throughout. He did improve as the game progressed and provided a good attacking outlet and assisted Januzaj’s first with a super cross, even if the majority of his crosses left much to be desired.

Nani 7: One of United’s best players in the first half as he Jack Colback at every opportunity. His end product was a little unpredictable but he always sought to beat his man, something United’s other wingers often fail to do. Forced Westwood into action with a couple of long range efforts but waned in the second half.

Michael Carrick 7: United’s cog looked neat in possession and calm under pressure in a solid display. At times, he was swamped in midfield but he recovered the ball well throughout and set-up attacks with comparative ease.

Tom Cleverley 7: Was a combative presence in the engine room. Was sometimes guilty of being too safe in possession but Cleverley performed well alongside Carrick despite being outnumbered. Didn’t shirk a tackle, either.

Adnan Januzaj 9: Marked his first start with a virtuoso display. He troubled Sunderland’s rearguard and glided around the pitch intelligently. Both of his goals were well taken with the second particularly brilliant. The sky is the limit for Januzaj.

Wayne Rooney 6: Looked leggy and off the pace at times and his first touch often left much to be desired. In the first half, he was guilty of being tactically unaware but he mucked in with Carrick and Cleverley much better in the second half.

Robin van Persie 6: Squandered a gilt-edged chance to make the game secure in the dying minutes which typified a rather tame display. He looked his typically classy best when on the ball but struggled to make an impact on proceedings.

Substitutes

Danny Welbeck 6: Fresh from his goal scoring salvo in midweek, Welbeck was a willing runner from the bench and pressed well to harass Sunderland’s back four. Might have scored had Cleverley released the ball faster late on.

Antonio Valencia 5: Another late change. The former Wigan man was again a little ponderous in possession but his trickery did carve out a late chance for van Persie. Lacks confidence despite showing glimpses of his former self.

Chris Smalling : Replaced the injured Rafael for the last five minutes. Offered United’s back line more height and made one instinctive headed clearance in the dying embers.

Image: Twitter/infobolaholic

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