Monday, 29 September 2008

Player Ratings - United v Bolton

Following on from Part 1 of my report yesterday, Part 2 of the report is made up by detailed player-by-player ratings.

EVDS - 6 - didn't have anything difficult to do, but no howlers - and that's an improvement on performances so far. One particularly encouraging take from a corner.

Evra - 7 - won his on-going battle with Kevin Davies, proving he can handle physical as well as tricky opponents. Provided his usual energy going forwards, although he must still be careful not to be caught out high up the pitch, as he was for the move leading to Muamba's chance - he relies heavily on a midfielder being around to cover his tracks.

Rio - 8.5 - a rock as usual. Even with Neville back in the side, there can be no doubt who is the organiser-in-chief of the defence. He is increasingly getting himself into good spots at the other end - a goal can't be far away - and in a game where we had most of the ball his assured distribution from the back is another plus.

Vidic - 6.5 - a solid if unspectacular return from suspension. Seemed to have Elmander under control, but wasn't eye-catchingly dominant as he can be.

Neville - 6 - perfectly solid at the back, but offered little going forward (which was the chief criticism of Brown last year, and the area which Brown has improved most strongly). Wesley's continuing omission is baffling.

Park - 6 - energetic as usual, but without the extra helping of skill that has made him stand out in the past two games. A couple of disappointing crosses, and arguably could have done better from the rebound chance by lifting it back across goal.

Anderson - 6 - showed glimpses of everything he is capable of - incisive forward passing, skill on the ball, strength and tackling - but still seemed off the pace. He was too often chasing rather than being well positioned to start with. That said, he did a good job sitting deep and offering an easy pass outlet when we were going forward, something that we often lack when both Carrick and Scholes are missing. I still maintain he needs a break to recharge both mentally and physically. A goal would help, too!

Fletcher - 6.5 - worked hard and prevented our four-man midfield being overrun by Bolton's five, but was consequently unable to indulge in those driving runs forward and late arrivals in the box which have caught the eye so far this season.

Ronaldo - 7 - it was never a penalty, but he didn't dive or appeal, which was good to see. Had an average game by his standards, but that level is so high that most wingers (Nani included) would have been delighted by their contribution. Good to see him linking up with Rooney for the second goal. So, two starts, two goals and an assist...surely not again...

Tevez - 5 - if this was an audition for the spot of Berbatov's partner, he failed it. Ineffectual for the most part despite his workrate, and I can't recall a single meaningful pass between him and Berba (in contrast to when Rooney arrived). I can still see a role for him raiding from the left in the 4-2-3-1 that I would love to see Fergie try, but he's behind Rooney once more in the support striker stakes.

Berbatov - 6.5 - largely anonymous in the first half, increasingly influential in the second. Proved that he will be very dangerous with the ball into his feet as well as the extra physical presence he offers. His workrate is of a different type to that of Rooney or Tevez, in that he's constantly trying to find space and make good runs (as opposed to chasing the ball like a loon) - the others need to start looking for his movement rather than assuming he's only relevant around the penalty area. That goal won't be far away now, nor will that big performance.

Rooney (sub) - 8 - just when we needed it, a reminder of why Rooney is a special player. Looked like a man with a big point to prove when he came on, taking the game by the scruff of the neck, terrorising Bolton and scoring a peach of a goal. I could watch that little shimmy on loop for hours, pure class.

Scholes (sub) - 7.5 - having struggled with his stamina when starting, this performance gave rise to an intriguing possibility - Scholesy the impact sub. With no need to conserve his energy, he made forward runs and generally buzzed about all over the pitch, in massive contrast to his usual intelligent, languid offerings. Watch this space.

Nani (sub) - 5 - continues to follow Ronaldo's career path, by having a second season characterised not only by moments of skill but enraging, beer-bottle-through-the-tv-screen decision making. Get your head up, son - it's a team game.


Gapi said...

Pretty accurate ratings, agree with most of them. Only Evra deserved more I think.

Penguinissimo said...

Gapi - thanks for taking a look over here.

The reason for holding Evra's mark back is the element of recklessness when he goes forward - even against a team like Bolton, he needs to judge when he should be supporting the play and when he has a job to do defensively. It's a minor quibble about a sensational player, but it's one that I notice again and again.

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