Player Ratings: United 1-2 City
Player ratings from today’s game.
David De Gea – 7 – Faultless for both of the goals, really, and made a couple of fine saves.
Antonio Valencia – 6 – Despite City’s pressing game effectively eliminating United’s full-backs, Valencia did more than most to try and have an influence.
Chris Smalling – 5 – As is stated in our reaction column, if you play Arsenal level defenders, expect Arsenal level results. That can occasionally bring the odd surprising win but more often than not this is what you get.
Marcos Rojo – 5 – This is a point for both defenders but Rojo was perhaps more guilty of it – wasted possession. Yes, United had a big problem with their players perhaps not making themselves available today, and yes, you might want to credit the opponent’s pressing game, but it happens too often with United’s defenders in any big game. They have the ball, they wait, and they aimlessly punt it up the field to the opponent. Against a team who base their game so strongly around possession, it’s schoolboy defending.
Ashley Young – 5 – Ineffectual but in the way that one would expect from a 32 year old winger playing at left back. As with Smalling, these are simply the levels where United’s inability to truly match City’s spending makes the difference.
Ander Herrera – 4 – Perhaps there was contact from Otamendi but the way the Spaniard exaggerated the fall meant Michael Oliver, who was in no mood to give much against City, was never going to award such a crucial penalty. That was Herrera’s most notable contribution, and instead of hoping for a return of the player we saw against Chelsea last season, this was instead the Herrera we’ve become used to for most of this season.
Nemanja Matic – 5 – One problem United have with Matic is that he is quite static. Against most teams that might not be an issue and if United had played a three in midfield (if they could have) this might not look so prominent. Matic has improved United considerably, and is arguably the biggest reason for them not being 5th and being 2nd. However Matic alone cannot bridge the gap and on days like today he can be rendered useless by the lack of discipline from team-mates and the constant throwing away of possession.
Anthony Martial – 5 – There were times he looked as if he might flash into light but these were so infrequent. Didn’t help being played on the right.
Jesse Lingard – 5 – Was lost in this system and despite being deserving of his place, one wonders what he was supposed to be doing.
Marcus Rashford – 6 – United’s one ray of light in the outfield. When called upon to be clinical, he was, and he worked the line well.
Romelu Lukaku – 4 – One of the worst performances from a home striker at Old Trafford in recent years. Bereft of confidence, his potentially dominating physical frame now looks more like a clumsy lumbering mess – he was completely outmuscled for City’s opening goal and then for the second conceded goal, thrashed at the loose ball with the composure of a non-league player. He should have done better with his effort and was perhaps unfortunate that it was the only chance created for him because it only serves to make his afternoon look even worse. Even if one has sympathy for him, much more is expected and this is certainly a nadir in his United career so far.
Lindelof – 6 – A minor improvement on United’s weak defence.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 5 – Perhaps should have come on for Lukaku but added no threat to City.
Juan Mata – too late a sub to fairly mark.