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Sunderland 0-1 Manchester United: Rating the United Players in Win

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MARCH 30:  Sunderland player Phil Bardsley (floor) is challenged by Nemanja Vidic (r) and Jonny Evans during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester United at Stadium of Light on March 30, 2013 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Max TowleAnalyst IMarch 30, 2013

It may seem slightly odd to say, but a Titus Bramble goal was enough to settle matters in the favour of Manchester United in their clash with Sunderland Saturday.

With the three points, the Red Devils move a step closer to claiming Premier League glory, having had it ripped so horribly from their grasp at the Stadium of Light last May.

Here are the full player ratings for Sir Alex Ferguson's side on a day where nothing less than three points would have sufficed.

 

David de Gea: 6

The Spanish keeper had very little to do over the course of the game, as Sunderland struggled to put together one meaningful attack.

He did have one worrying moment in the second half, as a clash of heads with Nemanja Vidic left him temporarily dazed and confused.

 

Rafael: 6

The Brazilian full-back lasted little more than 30 minutes, as a groin injury saw him replaced by Jonny Evans.

 

Nemanja Vidic: 8

Another game, another immense performance at the back for the Serbian beast Nemanja Vidic.

He didn't have much to do in terms of stopping the ground threat that Sunderland provided, but aerially, he was completely dominant. He'll deserve to lift the Premier League trophy come April/May.

 

Chris Smalling: 7

Having looked impressive for England in the side's recent international fixtures, Chris Smalling's return to domestic football proved no less fruitful.

Like Vidic, he was tough and uncompromising and didn't allow the Black Cats a sniff of goal in his own penalty area.

 

Alex Buttner: 7

After a stunning debut against Wigan Athletic last year, Alex Buttner had perhaps dropped off the radar a bit for fans of the Red Devils.

But against Sunderland, he was tenacious and, ironically, the side's most threatening attacking option down either flank.

 

Michael Carrick: 8

On a day when the Red Devils absolutely dominated possession, Michael Carrick was once again the team's linchpin.

He was calm and composed on the ball, providing an excellent anchor for United in the heart of midfield.

 

Anderson: 7

With some suggesting Anderson's time at Old Trafford may be coming to an end, the Brazilian gave a promising display alongside Carrick in midfield.

For much of the game, he was full of energy and drive but did tail off a bit toward the end, when a lack of fitness reared its ugly head.

 

Ashley Young: 6

Another decidedly average performance on the left wing for Ashley Young, who did little to trouble Phil Bardsley.

We seem to ask the same question every week—does the Englishman have enough quality to be a regular first-team player for United?

 

Shinji Kagawa: 6

Given a perfect opportunity to play the role for which he was bought, Shinji Kagawa was a little underwhelming Saturday.

Too often he was out-muscled by a physical team intent on restricting him the space in which he likes to operate.

 

Antonio Valencia: 5

The Ecuadorian winger was easily the Red Devils' worst player, as his season continues along its disappointing downward trajectory.

He lacked acceleration, looked uncomfortable on the ball and failed to deliver any meaningful balls into the opposition's box.

 

Robin van Persie: 7

An improved performance from the Dutchman, who seemed to capitalise on his fine showing for the Netherlands over the long weekend.

Though he failed to etch his name on the scoresheet, he was by far United's biggest threat going forward. Missed a sitter late on, though.

 

Substitutes

Jonny Evans: 7

Replacing Rafael, Jonny Evans did his best to limit the threat posed by James McClean down the right flank.

 

Danny Welbeck: N/A

Was a vibrant influence in attack but didn't have enough time to really make a mark on the game.

 

Tom Cleverley: N/A

Same as Welbeck—looked bright, but how can you rate a player based on little over 10 minutes of game time?

 

Who impressed you the most for United against Sunderland? Who was particularly disappointing?

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