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Manchester United 1-0 Reading: Player Ratings for the Red Devils in Crucial Win

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 16:  Rio Ferdinand and Danny Welbeck (l) of Manchester United celebrate the first goal scored by team-mate Wayne Rooney during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Reading at Old Trafford on March 16, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Max TowleAnalyst IMarch 16, 2013

It may not have been pretty, but Manchester United defeated Reading 1-0 on Saturday to move 15 points clear of Manchester City at the summit of the Premier League table.

A deflected Wayne Rooney strike proved enough for Sir Alex Ferguson's side who are surely champions-elect.

Here are the player ratings for the Red Devils from a rainy afternoon at Old Trafford.


David de Gea: 6

The Spanish shot-stopper had absolutely nothing to do as Reading struggled to break down their opponents' back line.

The only threatening shots the Royals were able to muster during the game flew wide of the reliable de Gea's goal.


Chris Smalling: 6

A decent, if unspectacular game at right-back for young Chris Smalling.

Playing in the place of Rafael, the defender was able to control the threat of Jobi McAnuff—a player who has caused the Red Devils problems in the past.


Rio Ferdinand: 8

A great game by the veteran who once again showed why his recall to the England national team set-up has been long overdue.

His marauding run forward created an assist for Rooney's winner. Retirement talk earlier this season was premature.


Nemanja Vidic: 7

This wasn't the Serbian captain's best game of the season by any stretch, but he didn't really need to play at his best to prevent the Reading attack from breaking down the United back line. Tough and uncompromising, basically.

Vidic was a little lucky not to have given away a penalty for a shove on Adrian Mariappa in the second half, though.


Alex Buttner: 6

Like Smalling, Buttner's inclusion in the team was a welcome bit of rotation from manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

In only his second Premier League start of the season, the Dutchman looked rusty, but never afraid to throw himself into a challenge or get forward.


Anderson: 5

Saturday's game was a good opportunity for Anderson to shine, but unfortunately his performance against Reading was a little lacklustre.

He provided reasonable cover for the defence, but going forward his passing and attacking movement lacked a real purpose.


Ryan Giggs: 8

Along with Rio Ferdinand, the age-defying Welshman was a genuine contender for man of the match.

His touch was flawless, his movement across the breadth of the pitch exemplary—Giggs has now put in his best two performances of the season in a row.


Danny Welbeck: 6

A lively performance from Danny Welbeck, but as we always seem to say about the forward, his final product was lacking.

Javier Hernandez was a little unlucky not to get in the team following his goal-scoring exploits last weekend against Chelsea.


Wayne Rooney: 7

Better from Rooney, who ultimately scored the winner in a game lacking many clear-cut chances.

He looked quick on the ball and keen to get forward and score. Outshone his strike partner Robin van Persie.


Ashley Young: 5

Yet another underwhelming Ashley Young performance for the Red Devils.

There was one glimpse of genuine skill late in the second half, but this was offset by 70-odd minutes of mediocrity. Is really good enough to be a regular starter for United?


Robin van Persie: 5

United fans have reason to ask themselves "what has happened to Robin van Persie?"

The Dutchman failed to put on his shooting boots again for Saturday's clash, and often looked off the pace when played into good positions by his teammates.



Michael Carrick: 6

A brief cameo from the holding midfielder, helping to pass the game to death late on.


Shinji Kagawa: N/A

The Japan international played less than 10 minutes, but almost set Van Persie up for a late goal with a delicious cross.


Who did you think was United's best player versus Reading? Who didn't impress?

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