Manchester United delivered a genuinely good half of football against Everton on Saturday. Admittedly, they followed it up with a rather more more mediocre one, but that's still a significant improvement on Arsenal! Without further ado, let's dive into some ratings:
David de Gea: 7
Marcos Rojo: 7
A funny one. As a centre-back squeezed out onto the flanks, you'd expect him to be defensively competent and offensively impotent. In actual fact, Rojo functioned in reverse: his cross for Ander Herrera's goal was as perfect as to be Dani Alves-eqsue, though some of his second half defending was as poor as to be ... Dani Alves-esque. Still, it was a performance good enough to suggest he deserves more football than he's been getting so far this season.
Chris Smalling: 7
Smalling did several defensive things that looked defensively important, and defended well against the frighteningly quick Romelu Lukaku. Defending!
Phil Jones: 6
Phil Jones got a bloody nose and ran around the pitch carrying a tissue. It was another brilliant example of the kind of passion and determination that is sure to see him become the greatest player in the history of Manchester United Football Club. Duncan Edwards would be proud.
Matteo Darmian: 6
An encouraging performance from Darmian, who was solid defensively and ventured forward early on with the kind of gusto that has been lacking over the past few weeks. It's too early to herald his return to form, but hopefully completing the full match without a scare will give him the confidence to push on and reclaim the authority with which he commanded the right flank early in the season.
Morgan Schneiderlin: 8
Another excellent performance from Morgan Schneiderlin, who did just about everything that could be expected of a defensive midfielder. Whether it was breaking down Everton's counters or helping United build out from the back, it was reassuring to have him scampering around the halfway line.
Bastian Schweinsteiger: 6
Bastian did as Bastian does, adding some much-needed drive to what is often a rather unimaginative midfield. It wasn't his most spectacular performance of the season, but his passing was accurate and incisive, and his movement crucial in making things difficult for Everton's midfield.
Anthony Martial: 7
Martial's greatest impact is likely to come when he's played through the middle, though until Louis van Gaal gives up politicking and drops Wayne Rooney, playing the Frenchman out wide is probably the best compromise. He once again showed impressive strength and an exceptional touch, and created one or two good chances. He also diligently negated the offensive threat of Séamus Coleman, which is no mean feat.
Ander Herrera: 8
It was undoubtedly a man of the match performance from Ander Herrera, who showed the advantages of having an attacking midfielder capable of passing and running. His goal was outstandingly taken, and Everton struggled to deal with his movement throughout the entire game. Bravo.
Juan Mata: 6
Very intricate, very neat, very tidy. Very Mata. There was no end product on this occasion, but it certainly wasn't a bad performance.
Wayne Rooney: 5
Rooney is best as a striker for the simple reason that he doesn't touch the ball as often and so can't ruin attacks before they've even got going. If he has to play -- which he doesn't, but Louis van Gaal seems to think he does -- it should be as the No. 9.
Jesse Lingard: 6 (on for Mata, 46')
He didn't do much on the ball, but he was useful defensively, and van Gaal seemed happy with his performance. It was good to see the manager giving time to United's younglings, but it would've been even better had we got to see some of Andreas Pereira too. Preferably instead of Rooney.
Michael Carrick: N/A (on for Schweinsteiger, 74')
Carrick Carricked, with little consequence.
Marouane Fellaini: N/A (on for Herrera, 81')
Something something hair and elbows.
The Busby Babe would like to cordially remind you that taking marks out of ten too seriously can prove deleterious to your health.