Player Ratings: West Brom 0-3 Manchester United – Magnificent Mata and Rafael

by Tom Parker

David de Gea 7 – Quiet afternoon between the sticks but looked effortless with his claims from crosses and made two decent saves to deny Zoltan Gera

Rafael 8 – A superb outlet down the right  and showed how much he brings at full-back. Made a fantastic late block against Berahino after crashing a header against the bar in the first half and put in a pinpoint cross for Rooney to head in.

Chris Smalling 7 – Solid throughout when faced with the physical Anichebe. Smalling was an assured presence alongside the more gung-ho Phil Jones at centre back.

Phil Jones 7 – Started off shakily, but improved as the game wore on. Headed United in front and put in a great claim to be Nemanja Vidic’s heir to the throne with two crunching challenges on Anichebe.

Patrice Evra 6 – Saw plenty of the ball down the left and linked nicely with Januzaj, although most of United’s better play came from the right side. Defensively solid.

Michael Carrick 6 – Kept things ticking over in the centre and made a couple of timely interceptions but was a way off of his sparkling best.

Marouane Fellaini 7 – A strong physical presence alongside Carrick and although he was susceptible to being a little clumsy, his use of the ball was much improved and he looked a threat when venturing into the West Brom box.

Juan Mata 8 – Ran the show today. Picked out Januzaj with a perfectly weighted ball in the early stages and had a big hand in United’s second. Touch was super throughout and he even cleared one off the goal line late on.

Wayne Rooney 7 – Quiet in the first half but his influence grew after the restart. Dropped into nice pockets of space, headed United second in before supplying two perfectly weighted through balls for Danny Welbeck.

Adnan Januzaj 6 – On the periphery for some periods of play but produced a few moments of magic, one of which almost led to United opening the scoring with a brilliant left-footed cross almost converted by Rafael. Rough-housed at times and needed more protection from the referee.

Robin van Persie 6 – Set up Jones’ opener with a wicked free-kick but at times struggled to get involved and his partnership with Rooney was non-existent. Perhaps lucky not to escape a red card after two late tackles and United were better after the Dutchman was replaced.

Substitutes

Danny Welbeck 7 – Replaced van Persie, skied one chance from a Rooney through ball moments after his introduction but showed superb composure to net United’s third and his tenth goal of the season in the 82nd minute. Could start against Liverpool.

Shinji Kagawa 6 – Found decent pockets of space at the Hawthorns and showed a few fleeting moments of magic. Has been promised more minutes by Moyes and is another who could push for a starting berth against Liverpool.

Nemanja Vidic n/a- United’s soon-to-be departed skipper replaced Rafael with five minutes to play.

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