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Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Player ratings

It was a very mixed bag against Arsenal, and far from a vintage Manchester United performance despite getting the win. There are lessons to be learned here, even if the victory was a hugely welcome one.

Alex Livesey

David de Gea: 7

Didn't have to do a tremendous amount, but solid when called upon. Could've perhaps been slightly more commanding on the corners and Sagna's late dangerous ball, but ultimately no harm was done.

Chris Smalling: 8

Surprisingly excellent. Few people were glad to see the sight of the lanky defender selected at right-back, but he did an industrious job, and while poor at providing a final ball, helped Antonio Valencia get into some dangerous positions.

Jonny Evans: 8

Looked back to his solid best. A wayward pass or two, but defensively, hardly put a foot wrong all game.

Nemanja Vidic: 8

As above until being replaced in the second half. Certainly still our best defender, potentially still the league's best.

Patrice Evra: 8 (Man of the match)

Not only as solid as the rest of the defence, but also a typically superb outlet for possession and almost our largest attacking threat too, having surprisingly learned to cross at some point between this campaign and last. Having a superb season so far.

Michael Carrick: 4

Lacklustre in the first half and awful in the second, such that even serial Carrick-lovers were beginning to groan. Did OK for the first 45 minutes bar a couple of poor mistakes, but without his foil Phil Jones in the second completely fell away, allowing Arsenal to gain control of possession and giving the ball away too often while offering too little defensively. Extremely unambitious with his passing while under little pressure, and moved the ball around far too slowly and obviously even when keeping it simple. Essentially, a catalogue of all of his weaknesses in one game, which is more or less par for the course in important matches. Another poor performance in what is becoming a poor season.

Phil Jones: 8

Didn't get on the ball as much as he should have, but the difference to United's midfield without him in the centre was obvious, exacerbated by Jack Wilshere's introduction. Had to move to centre-back at half-time but did so excellently and slotted right in, making no mistakes and holding out well. A fine performance.

Antonio Valencia: 5

Not as diligent in tracking back as he might have been, although Arsenal's wide men offered nothing anyway. But too often wasted good positions to cross or pass when in the final third thanks to characteristically poor decisions. A disappointment given his recent improved form.

Wayne Rooney: 5

Put in a fine shift as the game wore on to press Arsenal and prevent them from laying siege to United's goal, but was generally awful in possession. Two of the worst first touches you'll see spoiled two good moves in the first half, before he also missed a sitter and generally gave the ball away too often. A game to forget.

Shinji Kagawa: 4

It's hard to see what Kagawa has possible done to warrant deposing Adnan Januzaj from this side, but he didn't show it today. Ran down blind alleys far too often, took too long to move the ball on, and surrendered possession cheaply. Was more industrious than usual, thankfully, but still a nothing performance from a player rapidly becoming a very big let-down.

Robin van Persie: 7

Not on his best form, and struggled to find enough space to create any further chances for himself, but a superbly well-taken goal to settle the game. Would otherwise have gotten Man of the Match for the celebration alone.

Tom Cleverley: 5

Contributed far too little in either direction after replacing Jones in central midfield at half-time, after which United noticably lost thrust and direction.