Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United: Player ratings

Matthew Lewis

Danny Welbeck was excellent, but the man of the match goes to a different man, while the midfield were solid but creativity mostly came from the wide positions.

David de Gea 6

Was very silly in giving away a corner but was not really tested during the game thanks to a rather blunt Villa attack.

Rafael 9 - Man of the match

A superb performance that showed what United have lacked with Chris Smalling at right-back. An absolutely crucial intervention on Christian Benteke early on without which the game would be completely different, set up the opening goal, and was largely reponsible for Antonio Valencia's improvement. A massively influential performance.

Jonny Evans 7

Not overly-tested, but was solid enough in combining with Jones to deal with the physical threat of Christian Benteke.

Phil Jones 7

Solid but unspectacular. Dealt with Benteke admirably with his partner.

Patrice Evra 7

Were pre-match speeches included in the ratings, his performance would be a 10. But they're not - he was solid, although wasn't at his most creative going forwards (perhaps due to the fact United preferred the right with Antonio Luna having a stinker) and drifted into the centre too often when defending.

Ryan Giggs 7

More than the much-ballyhooed deeper positioning from Rooney, it was Giggs who was mostly responsible of the midfielders for United moving the ball much more quickly today, as he has been in almost all of his performances this season. Mostly, the creativity came from the forwards and full-backs rather than he or Rooney, but his influence is undeniable. That is very worrying, and he should definitely stick to being used sparingly, but it shows how much United could improve with a real midfielder in January.

Tom Cleverley 7

Took advantage of some awful goalkeeping from Brad Guzan to score a nice goal, and generally kept things simple and ticking over. Much improved. Still probably Hull-bound.

Wayne Rooney 7

Rooney is usually awful at the deeper role despite clamouring from some quarters to play him there because he lacks awareness and is good at the occasional defence-splitter but not a reliable user of possession. Today he kept things a lot simpler, apart from an excellent pass for Tom Cleverley's goal, and United were well-rewarded. Made up for the physical limitations of Giggs and Cleverley.

Adnan Januzaj 8

Hugely lively until being withdrawn for Ashley Young, perhaps through Moyes' fear of some very aggressive challenges. Was perhaps slightly too selfish, but showed plenty of glimpses of what a ridiculous talent he is. An astonishing leap and header for the opening goal, too.

Danny Welbeck 8

Some all-round good forward play as well as two nice goals. Welbeck should undoubtedly score more when out wide but every time he is picked in the centre he responds with goals. Really ought to have had a hat-trick, however. Perhaps some in-game rotation with Robin van Persie would be an idea, given the Dutchman's lethal delivery. Shinji Kagawa apologists take note - this is what someone improving when in his favoured position looks like.

Antonio Valencia 7

Looked a different player in front of a fit Rafael. Still hardly indomitable, but the movement between the two allowed them to bypass the Villa defence without needing to directly take anyone on, even if they were profiting from a terrible display from Luna. Crossing much improved.

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