Player Ratings: Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal – Juggernaut Jones and Rooney

by Tom Parker

David de Gea 7 – Had a quiet game as Arsenal rarely tested De Gea despite good possession spells. De Gea commanded his box well and made a number of impressive claims and punches.

Chris Smalling 8 – Arguably his best game at full-back this season. Although the England international looked a little awkward when he ventured forward at times, he was a willing runner and was excellent defensively. Neutralised the threat of Santi Cazorla. Should have scored late on with a header.

Nemanja Vidic 7 – Had the beating on in-form Olivier Giroud throughout his time on the pitch and rarely looked anything but dominant defensively. Involved in a nasty collision with De Gea and didn’t return for the second half.

Jonny Evans 7 – A typically composed display from the Irishman who read the game brilliantly and won his fair share of challenges late on. His timely interceptions proved vital in disrupting Arsenal’s forays forward.

Patrice Evra 7 – Was a threat from the left hand side and continued his impressive run of defensive displays with another fine outing. Didn’t attack as readily as normal in the second half but the Frenchman shackled Aaron Ramsey brilliantly.

Antonio Valencia 6 – Valencia was energetic and saw plenty of the ball in the first half. His delivery was a little inconsistent and he still seems a little short of the confidence of his 2011/12 self.

Michael Carrick 7 – A majestic return from injury for the 32-year-old whose sharp, intelligent use of the ball as well as his positional knowhow was pivotal to victory. Recovered possession as superb as ever.

Phil Jones 8 – The definition of a big game performance from Jones. His powerful running from midfield and strength in the tackle was refreshing in the first half. A half-time re-shuffle saw Jones move to centre back where he looked equally as impressive.

Shinji Kagawa 6 – The Japanese playmaker was surprisingly effective defensively although he faded late on and somewhat struggled to deal with Bacary Sagna, who carved out numerous chances. Found it tough to influence the game from the left.

Wayne Rooney 8 – A technical and physical masterclass from Rooney. The England international ran himself into the turf and fought for everything. His link-up play was sharp and his tireless work led to United’s goal. Should have added a second on the hour.

Robin van Persie 7 – His fabulous looped header proved to be the difference between the two sides and his celebration was as gratifying as the goal. Van Persie still looks a way off top gear but like Rooney, he put in a real shift for the team.

Substitutes

Tom Cleverley 7 – Replaced Vidic at half-time and worked hard in the centre of midfield as United dropped deeper. Cleverley didn’t see a great deal of the ball but was a combative presence in the engine room.

Ryan Giggs – David Moyes opted for experience late on for the fatigued Kagawa and Giggs got nearer to Sagna than his Japanese counterpart as Moyes sought to shore up the midfield.

Marouane Fellaini Replaced Van Persie late on and played in an advanced role for the final minutes of the game. Won a few aerial duels as the clock wore down.

Image: Twitter/sir_ysh

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