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David De Gea: 8
A fantastic performance from United's young goalkeeper. David De Gea made a fine save from John Arne Riise's thunderbolt in the early stages and managed to claim the resulting corner.
This pattern continued throughout the match. Bryan Ruiz whipped a wicked shot toward United's bottom corner—but it bounced off the post. After observing a few replays, it turned out the faintest of touch from De Gea kept the score at 0-0.
Perhaps the stopper's improved display is linked with United's committed defending. Two looping headers were destined for the back of the net—but Rafael and Robin van Persie cleared off the line. If these had entered the goal, who would receive the blame?
Four collected crosses and three great saves ensured United left Craven Cottage with the victory.
Patrice Evra: 6
Patrice Evra's decent form has been consistent of late. The Frenchman has hushed many doubters with his improved season. Even so, United's marauding full-back started too casually against Fulham. He struggled to keep up with Ashkan Dejagah in the first half and left his flank open when defending counters.
United's victory could have been far more comfortable if Evra—who has scored four goals this season—adjusted his feet and slotted home from close range in the opening 10 minutes. A terrible miss threatened to cost the league leaders vital points.
Evra's partnership with Nani offered little threat down the left. When Sir Alex Ferguson finally decided to substitute the Portuguese winger, his overall game lifted. Evra improved as the fixture rolled on and eventually made two important tackles in the latter stages.
Jonny Evans: 8
The Northern Irishman looked rusty across the first 20 minutes. He gave the ball away under little pressure and took a while to find his stride.
Jonny Evans soon blew the cobwebs away and performed magnificently in the centre of defence. He tackled with strength and powered through the threat of Hugo Rodallega. The 25-year-old moved forward with the ball—often breaking into Fulham's half with the ambition of making a pass to his supporting colleagues.
Although the arrival of Urby Emanuelson sparked Fulham into life, Evans halted the home side's offensive progress with four tackles on the edge of his box. A fantastic header from under his own bar also removed pressure in the last few minutes.
Wayne Rooney will be thankful for Evans' forward-thinking. The defender's long ball up the pitch bounced beyond Philippe Senderos and provided United's English striker with the match-winning moment.
Rio Ferdinand: 6
A mixed afternoon for United's veteran centre-back. Unlike Evans—who broke forward with ease—Rio Ferdinand's attempts to spray the ball around were misguided. He stepped out of defence and got caught out twice. Alongside this, he failed to make a tackle across the entire game.
Ferdinand's pivotal contribution came in the air. The Englishman dominated 83 percent of his aerial duels and made 18 clearances; the most across both teams. Ferdinand may have looked slow—but once he dropped deep, his influence grew.
Fulham set up to halt United's right wing. Both Rafael and Antonio Valencia were frustrated in tight spaces. The Brazilian full-back managed a couple of decent tackles—but he played like an individual who was wearing the wrong boots (via The Daily Mail).
When the 22-year-olf broke toward Fulham's area in the second half, nobody was surprised to see a left-footed shot slink into the crowd. Despite improving massively this season—and clearing a certain goal off the line—Rafael was the weak link at the back.