United lost the opening game of the season 1-0. Everton were good value for their win, mainly thanks to a superhuman performance from Marouane Fellaini. The Moroccan won every header and physical battle and made the decisive contribution heading home from a corner. There were some promising performances from United players, but others that were simply not up to the expected standard.
De Gea – 9
Big Dave has started the season splendidly. Unusually confident in the air and flawless with his shot stopping, he was utterly helpless for Everton’s goal. Really beginning to justify his price tag and show how stupid his doubters have been.
Valencia – 4
I’m not really sure why we chose to play Tony at right-back with Rafael fit. His attacking threat is nullified when he has defensive duties to perform, and he should never be deployed as anything other than emergency cover. Poor rating, but it’s not his fault he was played out of position.
Vidic – 6
The more solid of the two centre-backs. Handled Jelavic well but, in tandem with Carrick, shied away from Marouane Fellaini. This contributed to Everton getting a lot of free ball from long punts, which in turn helped them dominate for spells.
Carrick – 3
Absolutely destroyed by Marouane Fellaini. I said before the game that, if I were Moyes, I would stick Fellaini on Carrick and hit the big man over and over again. That’s exactly what Everton did, and it was hugely effective. Again, doing a job out of position, and it showed.
Evra – 4
I’m really not sure how Patrice Evra gets in this team week in, week out. Another poor showing going forward and vulnerable at the back as ever. A shadow of the player he was two or three years ago. Buttner is welcome competition.
Cleverley – 7
Busy and tidy in midfield, and unlucky not to score with our best chance after Jagielka got it off the line. Linked well with Kagawa and Scholes. Perhaps could do with being a bit more penetrating with his passing as he’s a bit of a crab sometimes. Like the rest of them, got bossed by Fellaini.
Scholes – 6
Ticked it over in midfield, and shows promising signs of an understanding developing with Kagawa. Wasn’t his usual self in the final third, and didn’t really find any balls in behind th Everton back line. His experience will be valuable this season, but it wasn’t enough last night.
Kagawa – 9
How refreshing it is to have a player in the side who wants the ball in central positions and isn’t scared to receive it whilst marked. Clever and intelligent on the ball, he created our three best chances whilst operating between the lines. The more we can get the ball to Kagawa, the better.
Welbeck – 6
Another player stuck out on a limb on the left. Stuck manfully to his task in the first half without any joy and came into the game a little more after starting to come inside late in the first half. Was denied a goal by three great Jagielka tackles, although one could have been a foul.
Rooney – 3
Played without passion, invention, verve or energy. Repeatedly caught in possession. No eye for a pass. Weak on the ball. It’s all the more galling because Welbeck was shunted out left and Van Persie benched to accommodate him. The occasion gets to Rooney far, far too often, and tonight was just another example of how he just keeps on letting us down.
Nani – 2
Another player who benefitted from their rival being shunted into a different position, and another player who repaid the manager with an awful performance. Nani was even worse than Rooney. Nothing is more fucking frustrating to me than when Nani stops, and stands still for 10 seconds pretending to cross. The defence sets itself, all our players run themselves offside and then static, and the attack is over before he even moves the ball on. Expertly picked out the fat bald bloke sitting in row K with a succession of crosses. He’s capable of so, so much more than this.
Subs – 4
Our substitutions didn’t change the game at all. Van Persie got a 25 minute cameo and struggled to get into a game that Everton were already shutting down. There’s far more to come from him. Anderson tried to be positive but, as ever, didn’t change anything. Ashley Young sent a number of pointless crosses towards our short strikers. A poorly used bench.