Manchester United vs. West Brom: Ranking the United Players

Ryan RodgersContributor IAugust 15, 2011

Manchester United vs. West Brom: Ranking the United Players

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    Manchester United took on West Brom in their opening game of the 2011-2012 EPL season.

    Goals from Wayne Rooney, and an Ashley Young forced own goal assured United all three points in a free-flowing, open and attacking match.

    United were on a high after last week's Community Shield showing against noisy neighbors Manchester City, but this week was a real reality check for United.

    Under the guidance of Roy Hodgson, West Brom looked very solid, and a top-10 finish is not out of the question.

    How did the United players perform?

    Read here and find out.

Danny Welbeck

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    This kid has got all the makings to be a real world-class talent.

    His touch, vision, skill and strength make Danny Welbeck a real pleasure to watch, and United are very lucky to have him.

    If Welbeck capitalizes on his chances, and continues to shine, Fergie is going to have a real headache trying to pick a partner for Wayne Rooney.

    Match Rating: 7.0

Wayne Rooney

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    Continuing his fantastic preseason form, Wayne Rooney looks like a man on a mission.

    He seems revitalized, and hungrier than ever—which spells disaster for United's opponents.

    He looks ready to the lead United to their 20th title, and if his form only gets better, a 20th title seems all the more likely.

    There is a sense of maturity to Rooney's game, and he appears to be reaching his peak.

    Match Rating: 8.5


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    Anderson anchored the midfield well, and his partnership he is developing with Tom Cleverly has loads of potential.

    Although I would have liked to seen Anderson bombing forward more often, it was positive to see his ability as a playmaker a deeper position.  He was a huge factor in United retaining possession.

    Anderson's confidence is likely brimming, and playing more often will likely see Anderson turn into the talent Fergie was anticipating.

    Match Rating: 7.0

Tom Cleverly

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    I was going to write an article on why United need Wesley Sneijder, regardless of the outcome.

    However, after this match and based on Cleverly's preseason form, that would have been an insult to the Englishman.

    Cleverly, he has everything he needs to be the next great midfielder.  If Sneijder is bought, Cleverly will find chances hard to come by, and will likely never reach his full potential with United.

    He looked confident and full of class out on the field, and he supported the strikers perfectly.

    His partnership with Anderson brought out the best in both players, and the two of them have a real understanding with each other that should be allowed to develop.

    Match Rating: 7.5

Ashley Young

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    Often times, players move to a big club and struggle to produce.  In the case of Ashley Young, he has met the challenge head on.

    He looks comfortable wearing the United shirt and is developing a real understanding with Wayne Rooney.

    Young's incisive passing, cutting in and crossing caused problems for West Brom's back four the whole time.

    Young is shaping up to be the real deal, which will not only benefit United, but England as well.

    Match Rating: 9.0

Fabio Da Silva

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    Fabio was a solid defender who was threatening on the attack.

    Playing left back, Fabio often wanted to switch to his stronger right foot.  At times, this slowed down the game and proved to be partly responsible for loosing possession when West Brom scored.

    Fabio is a very promising player, and I suspect he will have a breakout season this year.

    Match Rating: 6.5

Nemanja Vidic

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    It was clear that Vidic was in some pain after sustaining a calf injury early in the first half.  But in true Vidic fashion, our captain soldiered on and got the job done until being subbed seven minutes from time.

    His injury is a sure worry for United, but on the bright side, United do have some real talent and depth in the defense that will be able to add cover.

    How many teams can boast having a player of Vidic's quality as a starter, but than also have players like Chris Smalling, Johnny Evans and Phil Jones to slot in at center back. 

    Not many, that's for sure.

    Match Rating: 7.0

Rio Ferdinand

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    Oh, Rio.

    It's sad to say, but I think Rio's United career is seemingly at the end.

    His latest injury looks like yet another lengthy lay off, which will surely damper the injury-prone defender's spirits.

    When fit, Ferdinand is a monster; unfortunately, it has been some time since we have seen Rio at his best.  He is hardly ever fit but when he is, he performs with the best.  However, he is proving to be a real gamble. 

    Think Ledley King.

    Injuries are really taking a toll on him, and with promising young players healthy and able, Rio might struggle to slot in once he returns.

    Match Rating: 7.0

Chris Smalling

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    After last weekend's Community Shield, Chris Smalling impressed yet again.

    He was solid, reliable and showed off his attacking instinct.

    After impressing at right back for the second week in a row, Smalling might find himself with a new position.  Which begs the question, where does that leave Rafael when he is back from injury?

    Match Rating: 7.0

David De Gea

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    When you are brought in to replace one of the greatest goalies in world football, you are going to be under the scope until you start to perform well.

    I'm still not that convinced by De Gea yet, but I'll allow the common excuse of "He needs time to adjust."

    The lad looked shaky on set plays, and timid in his command.  The boy is going to need to pack on the weight and gain some muscle if he is going to compete with the monsters of the EPL.

    This isn't La Liga. And people will score by any means necessary.

    The fact that De Gea was one of the best goalies in Spain last year, but is seriously struggling in the the EPL, is yet another argument that the EPL is far superior, and far more challenging of a league than La Liga.

    Five games is a reasonable amount of time to pass judgement on De Gea.

    If after five games De Gea has not performed, it might not be a bad idea to see how Anders Lindegaard looks.

    Until then, fans should allow him reasonable time to get his feet on the ground and essentially learn to walk.

    Fergie has botched the goalie position before. Could this be yet another mistake of his?

    Match Rating: 5.0


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    Phil Jones: Looked comfortable in the back four after replacing Ferdinand.  No worries surrounding this player's development.

    Match Rating: 7.0

    Johnny Evans: Evans received some harsh criticism last year, but this year he has been very impressive.  He was capable in dealing with West Brom's aerial and physical approach.

    Match Rating: 7.0

    Dimitar Berbatov: He replaced Danny Welbeck, but struggled to have any impact on the game.  His silk touch is still there, but United are not using the Bulgarian to his full advantage.  I stand firm on saying that for his sake, he must leave.

    Match Rating: 6.0