Wednesday, 24 September 2008

United v Chelsea Player Ratings

EVDS - 2 - his confidence looks totally shot, and I find myself wincing whenever the ball goes near him. He currently looks like an accident waiting to happen.

Kuscszak - 4 - decent enough most of the time, but split one shot in front of him and was at fault for the goal. The best keepers view any ball coming into their area as theirs unless there’s a good reason that it’s not - he’d prefer to stay on his line unless there is no choice. Nothing I’ve seen changes my mind that he’s a very good shot-stopper and a decent reserve, but without the presence or consistency of judgement to be our no. 1 in the long term. Let’s hope Foster gets fit soon…

Evra - 8 - very good game, both defensively and going forward. In particular, he made the goal with his sheer desire to get on the end of Rooney’s through-ball, and cleared up a couple of times at the back too.

Evans - 7 - solid game from the young lad in a presure-cooker scenario. Looked a bit nervy to start with, and I’m yet to be convinced about his ability to compete aerially with big centre-forwards, but it was an encouraging display.

Rio - 8 - a rock amongst the madness, and even had the drive to get into the Chelski area for his chance just before the goal.

Neville - 6 - fine for the most part, but had a twenty minute spell of misery where he could easily have got himself sent off. Offered nothing going forward, and I’m baffled as to why Brown was omitted.

Park - 8 - great display from the little man, up and down the flank all afternoon, took up great positions and had the energy to follow Berba’s shot in just in case. Deserved to be our scorer and deserves a run in the team on his past two performances.

Fletcher - 8 - worked tirelessly, his work-rate really is amazing this season. He has been our most consistent midfielder, and should be one of the first names on the teamsheet at the moment. Closed down, harried, linked, and offered a threat at the other end - and barely committed a foul in a game where you only had to breath on an opponent to give away a free-kick.

Scholes - 7 - quiet but effective, was always there as an outlet and was integral to our fast start. It is obvious, though, that he can’t maintain his performance level over a whole game now and I don’t know how often he’ll start when Carrick is fit again.

Hargreaves - 7 - worked well on the right, and was fine in the centre for a while, but tired badly towards the end. I remain worried that he’ll never be fit for long enough to really get his match fitness up to scratch.

Rooney - 5 - did some very good things (like the through-ball for the goal and setting up Rio) and some bad things (a hospital back-pass to Rio, giving away the free kick for their goal). You can feel his frustration with himself at the moment, and it’s going to take all Fergie’s powers to get him back on track. He needs to remember that, first and foremost, he is a genius in the opponent’s half. Some signs of life in the partnership with Berba.

Berbatov - 6 - was reasonably influential until our goal, then faded as we lost control of the ball and so provided him with next to no service. Doesn’t seem entirely match-fit and doesn’t seem on everyone else’s wavelength yet, but it’s too early to make the sort of judgments some people want to.

Ronaldo (sub) - 6.5 - got involved a lot and engineered a few breaks which could have been devastating if any of our attackers were even remotely in form. Didn’t have time to influence the game much - looking forward to seeing him start again, as he surely well next game.

FERGIE - 8 - making the best of a bad lot. I like the continued reversion to 4-4-2, which is much easier for the players when you’re having to chop and change your line-up constantly. He got the flair/fight balance right in the midfield and attack.

I approved of the Ronaldo substitution, because it acknowledged that to hold out we were going to have to either (a) nick another on the break or (b) stir things up and get the ball back for a while - Ronaldo was the most effective way of doing that. Fergie could desperately have done with that third sub that he had to expend on EVDS/TK, either to replace Neville with Brown or Berba with Tevez - both of those had faded miserably with 20 mins to go, but Fergie could do nothing about it.

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