Premier League, Old Trafford
Saturday, January 11, 2014
MANCHESTER UNITED 2-0 SWANSEA CITY
David Moyes got his first win of 2014 in hard-fought fashion, as Swansea enjoyed the majority of the possession over the 90 minutes but failed to break down a solid United defence. United started poorly in attack but increased in fluidity as the game went on, with poacher's efforts from Valencia and Welbeck ultimately securing the three points.
Here's how the starting XI fared over the 90 minutes:
|Player||HT Rating||FT Rating|
|David De Gea||6||6|
|Rafael da Silva||6||8|
First half comments
David De Gea: Dealt comfortably when (infrequently) called into action.
Rafael: Was a valuable link man in some of United’s better attacking moves, although his defensive positioning was not always perfect.
Nemanja Vidic: Won a number of aerial challenges against the imposing Wilfried Bony.
Chris Smalling: Dragged out of position occasionally by the likes of Shelvey and Routledge, but a few minor positional mistakes were not punished.
Patrice Evra: Dangerous in attacking areas, a cross from the Frenchman might prove United’s best route to an opener.
Darren Fletcher: Looked off the pace at times—perhaps understandably—but was generally composed when on the ball.
Michael Carrick: Tried to lift the tempo and efforts of his side, to mixed results. Seemed slightly affected by being asked to be the more attacking of the two central midfielders.
Antonio Valencia: Set up a great chance that was spurned by Fletcher, but most of his good work was done on the defensive end.
Adnan Januzaj: Clattered a free-kick against the crossbar in one good moment, and impressed with some other set-piece deliveries.
Shinji Kagawa: Started tentatively but slowly grew into the contest, although his decision-making was far from perfect.
Danny Welbeck: Will perhaps feel he could have done better with one glorious opening midway through the half, while Moyes will want to see greater movement from him in the second 45.
Second half comments
David De Gea: Again, coped comfortably with what little he was required to do.
Rafael: A mirror of Evra on the right, providing constant support for Valencia. Would have had an assist had Kagawa finished off an incisive counter-attack properly.
Nemanja Vidic: Threw his body at some threatening shots, even with the scoreline at 2-0 and the game almost over.
Chris Smalling: Sat alongside Vidic and supported his centre-back partner as the three points were secured.
Patrice Evra: It always looked likely he would be involved in a goal, and it came with an off-balance shot that was turned home by Welbeck. Was withdrawn early as an injury precaution.
Darren Fletcher: Grew into the contest and kept United ticking over at a number of key moments. Moyes will be very pleased with the display.
Michael Carrick: Instrumental in many of Manchester United’s attacks, Carrick’s return for United was obviously a clear factor in the improved nature of this display.
Antonio Valencia: Opened the scoring after cleaning up a rebound, and was generally a constant threat to Swansea with his pace and movement around the pitch.
Adnan Januzaj: Arguably the game’s star player, whose cross was instrumental in Valencia’s opener and created many more chances besides. Will he start against Chelsea next week?
Shinji Kagawa: Should have sealed the three points by finishing off a quick counter-attack that he somehow contrived to miss, but looked better in the second 45. Still a bit too tentative at times.
Danny Welbeck: The goal—a true striker’s finish—again helped United to a hard-fought win, although perhaps he only really grew in influence once the game was broken open and Swansea started committing more men in attack.