clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Manchester United 2-1 Wolfsburg: player ratings

New, comments

Come this way to find out who played well as Manchester United beat Wolfsburg, and who should be beaten with sticks.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Last night, Manchester United came from behind to beat Wolfsburg and get their Champions League campaign rolling. That was the good news. The bad news is that they conceded an embarrassing goal and spent a fair chunk of the evening hanging on desperately. But who was bad, and who was good? Let's find out ...

David de Gea: 6

Saved everything he could save, and couldn't do much with the goal. Managed to keep his head despite the wobbling in front of him, and reacted well to a few hasty backpasses.

Matteo Darmian: 5

Individually acceptable, but played a part in the overall defensive incoherence that characterised United's performance.

Daley Blind: 4

Probably the United defender most at fault for the goal, as he abandoned his post not once but twice, failed to win the ball either time, and left a gaping hole in United's defensive line as a result. Just when he was starting to look like a centre half, he decides that he wants to be a midfielder again. Eventually had to cede his place in defence to Phil Jones, who is considerably more solid.

Chris Smalling: 5

Well, he took his goal nicely. But United's defence was a mess all night, and while he was pretty much flawless one on one, he spent a fair chunk of time standing in the wrong place.

Antonio Valencia: 4

It feels a touch unfair to blame Valencia for his deficiencies at rightback, in the same way it would be a little harsh to have a go at him for not being able to perform keyhole surgery, double-entry bookkeeping or lion-taming. It's just not his job. And interestingly, while it didn't look good live, the goal was actually nothing to do with him. Even if he'd remembered how the offside rule works, Daniel Caliguri was level.

Still, if we make allowances for the less familiar part of his job, there isn't much of an excuse for his lack of contribution on the overlap. Lots of running, very little crossing. He came off at half time — possibly with a minor injury — and nobody was particularly upset about it.

Morgan Schneiderlin: 5

Okay for the first hour or so without being spectacular. Seemed to vanish towards the end of the game, as Wolfsburg took control of the midfield and pressed for an equaliser. Was lucky not to be sent off late in the game after first conceding possession with a daft, directionless pass, then tripping an opponent to halt the ensuing break.

Bastian Schweinsteiger: 6

His usual slick-passing string-pulling self, apart from when he got booked. Then, his complaints swelled to almost operatic proportions. He pounded the turf. He begged. He pleaded. He told somebody on the touch line to go and do something obscene to either themselves or a close relative. It was great. One of United's biggest problems is that when Schweinsteiger gets tired, they can't bring him on for himself.

Memphis Depay: 5

We've seen this performance before; we'll see it again. Obviously talented and always threatening, but nothing quite seemed to come off the way it was supposed to.

Wayne Rooney: 4

Juan Mata: 8

Louis van Gaal may not have been that impressed, but we mere mortals thought he was pretty good. It's getting slightly ridiculous how dependent United's attack is on the little Spaniard, but it seems to be just about working for the moment, and if he can leave United a little open on the flank, then such is the price of including a player who can flick perfect through balls over a defence with the outside of his heel. Also, the sight of Mata standing over a penalty is a blessing for the collective blood pressure.

Anthony Martial: 7

It's becoming increasingly clear that defenders really, really hate playing against Martial. Wolfsburg's back four simply could not stop him killing the ball, squaring them up, and more often than not jinking past as well. Didn't have any clear chances of his own but would have set up a second goal in as many games for Rooney, had United's captain not thought to himself: ah hah! An open goal! This calls for the pitching wedge!

Ashley Young (on for Valencia, 45'): 6

If United are still having to improvise against Arsenal, then Young should have moved ahead of Valencia in the queue. Made one excellent and necessary covering tackle shortly after coming on — where the central defenders were, nobody seemed to know — and offered much more in combination with Mata.

Andreas Pereira (on for Memphis, 62'): 5

A touch sloppy in possession, which is exactly what wasn't wanted at the point he came on. He's got an appealing swagger about him though, and showed admirable confidence to insist on taking a late free kick.

Phil Jones (on for Schweinsteiger, 72'): 10

Managed not to contract necrotising fasciitis.

The Busby Babe would like to cordially remind you that taking marks out of ten too seriously can prove deleterious to your health.