Here are the player ratings for Thursday's Europa League clash in Holland between Dutch giants Ajax and Manchester United. Lets get to it!
A score of 1 being the lowest (Stewart Downing standard), 10 being the highest (Messi like) A score of 6 will be standard, 7 is solid, a very good game will get an 8, 9 is good for outstanding and 10 is unplayable. 10's will be very rare. Not only will they have to play the game of their life, but it will usually come against a team of good quality or in a big match (Finals, championship deciding game's etc.)
David De Gea - good performance for the third game running. Never looked troubled, made some good saves, one very good one in the first half stretching to his right. He will have stiffer tests, as European competition is not really the place to test a young goalkeeper's ability to command his box and keepers are protected a lot more (too much in my opinion) in Europe and in internationals. Still, a further confidence boost and a good showing. 7.5/10
Phil Jones - Fitted in like a velvet glove after his return from injury. Steamed up the right side like we are used to seeing from him and delivered some tasty crosses. Tidy in his distribution as well. Solid. 7/10
Jonny Evans - Brilliant. Defended very nicely with one header in the first half where he climbed so high to reach it. But recently he has been igniting attacks from the back and he once again showed his ability to do this. It really is something he has added to his game and he does it very well and with ease as well. Shows such composure on the ball in tricky positions. 8/10
Rio Ferdinand - Another good performance for the United back line. Never really troubled but dealt with anything that came his way. Maybe a little lucky not to concede a penalty at the death of the first half. 7/10
Fabio - Much better than what we have been seeing from our "first choice" left back. Defended well with good tackles and interceptions and bombed forward with intent and regularity. Will have stiffer tests though, but this performance will give Sir Alex Ferguson options if Patrice Evra continues his poor form. 7.5/10
Nani - Poor. Gave the ball away far too many times. The Ajax left back kept him quiet for the most part but when Nani did get in a good position, he was far too wasteful. In the first half he hit a horrible skewed effort high and wide, and im still not sure if it was a cross or shot. Another time, second half this time, he found himself in a good shooting position. But his effot was far too tame. Grabbed an assist from the first goal, but not good enough. Will need to find form with Valencia out. 4.5/10
Micheal Carrick - A typical Carrick performance. The first time he has played with Cleverley, but the formed a decent partnership. Made a brilliant sliding tackle, a rare sight from the man that typically does not leave his feet, and as always, cut out danger with his interceptions. Controlled as always in possession, hardly ever wasting possesion. 7.5/10
Tom Cleverley - Been out since October with injury but he should be pleased with his return. Not as sparkling as his early season form, but his discipline allowed the team to rarely get caught leaving too much space between the midfield and the defense (Carrick's presence was crucial to this too). Played one scything through ball that Wayne Rooney latched on too. Also hit a horrible shot that went high and wide. I almost thought we had signed Andy Carroll with efforts like that! 7/10
Ashley Young - A better performance than his first this year against Chelsea. Grabbed the opener in the second half with a right footed effort that went though the keepers legs. Would like to see him use his left foot a little more. He sometimes is a little predicitable as he is forever cutting inside. Not bad, but will need to step up. 6.5/ 10
Wayne Rooney - A more understated performance than his last two, where he has arguably been man of the match in both. Looked dangerous but maybe a little more bark than bite. Grabbed the assist to Chicarito's goal but maybe a little lucky the pass was not cut out. 6.5/10
Chicarito - His movement was always a danger and was giving the defense fits. Was unlucky not to latch on to some of the through balls that were played, as they were slightly too heavy. Should have opened his account sooner as but the keeper smothered his effort to dribble around him. Took his goal well, as we have come to expect from him 7.5/10
Paul Scholes - The standard Paul Scholes performance, coming off of the bench to see out the game. Controlled the game, and the pace. A joy to watch him play each and every time. The consistency of his performances since he has come back have been staggering. Off the bench or from the start, he is the dictator of the game. 6.5/10
Antonio Valencia - Came on and promptly left with injury. But not before he had make his mark. A brilliant burst of pace led to him feeding Rooney who in turn assisted Chicarito for his goal. Injured his hamstring and he shall be out for four weeks. Ouch! N/A
Danny Welbeck - Came on for the injured Valencia, but didn't have enough time to get into the game. N/A
In summary, a good performance from almost all the players, Nani Excluded. Hopefully the Portuguese winger finds his groove soon, because with Valencia out injured, we need some attacking threat down the wings as the Ecuadorian has been the standout player of 2012 down our right hand side.
In my opinion the tie is dead. Hopefully Rooney, Carrick and the fragile Rio Ferdianand can be rested for a tricky game at Norwich next weekend, followed by a real test at White Hart Lane. I would like to see Paul Pogba start, and maybe have some youngsters on thew bench of we take a really commanding lead, something that is viable as I thought Ajax were really poor.
Antonio Valencia out for four weeks