Football

Manchester United vs Stoke City: Player Ratings

The 3-2 win over Stoke City may just prove to be a turning point (©GettyImages)
The 3-2 win over Stoke City may just prove to be a turning point (©GettyImages).

Manchester United:

David De Gea: 7

The United goalkeeper may have wished he could've pushed the initial effort out wider by Peter Crouch for the first goal. Except for that blemish, the Spaniard made a great point-blank save from Jonathan Walters. He didn't have much to do with only five shots on target, but he was as reliable as ever.

Chris Smalling: 5

Smalling's worst performance by far this season. He was partly at fault for conceding United's first goal as Pieters cruised passed him. He seemed uncomfortable on the ball and didn't offer much going forward.

Phil Jones: 5

Most of United's defensive work was average - including the centre-backs in particular. Phil Jones gave away a needless free-kick at the end of the first half which lead to Arnautovic brilliantly putting home. Jones will be hoping to find his feet at the centre of defence in the coming weeks.

Johnny Evans: 4

The reason Evans has the lowest score of the defence is due to the expectancy level he must take upon himself now. In the back four, he will be expected to dictate and be the leader in which the rest listen. His poor decision making, long passing and defending in general was very uninspiring and left United on the back foot for much of the game.

Patrice Evra - 6 

The left back was for some reason exposed to defending Peter Crouch for the first goal in which he had no chance. Going forward, Evra posed a constant threat and his accurate cross set up Chicharito's winning header.

Nani - 4

One of the worst performances by a United player in a long time. His overall play was far, far below average. The winger did made one good cross which contributed to the first goal but if you need justification for his rating, listen to the United fans' reaction when he was substituted.

Tom Cleverley - 5

His return from injury was a match to be forgotten. Unfortunately, Cleverley failed to make any impression on this game. Seemingly due to a lack of confidence, he constantly passed sideways or backwards and failed to find any penetration in his game. 

Michael Carrick - 6

Uncharacteristically, the midfield precision passer failed to work his magic today. Although he made some great long range passes at times, he didn't do it enough. He did keep United rolling throughout the game though and tried to maintain a quicker tempo.

Shinji Kagawa - 5

After his impressive performance in Europe against Real Sociedad, many were waiting to see if Kagawa would finally perform for United. He didn't. There were many times where he could've taken opponents on or showed some flair but he chose to play backwards very often. Disappointing. 

Wayne Rooney - 8

Throughout the whole game, Rooney was the one player for the Red Devils who showed some heart. Although it wasn't his best game, he was instrumental in United's comeback. When United were behind it always seemed like he would be involved in a comeback and he was when his header was saved which lead to the ball falling to van Persie for the first goal. His glancing header to score the second goal was sublime. 

Robin van Persie - 6

Not the Dutchman's best performance in a red shirt.  He cooly finished for United's first goal and he looked a constant threat. His corner lead to United's second goal too. But, his passing was below average for his standards. He would've wished he had a bigger impact on the game.

Adnan Januzaj (Substitute) - 7

Although he came on after 58 minutes, Januzaj was United's best winger on the day. Already looking like a mature player, he upped the tempo which United desperately needed. He wasn't afraid to take players on and he had a part to play in United's comeback, especially for the third goal where he spread the ball out to Evra before he crossed for the winner.

Chicharito (Substitute) - 7

The 'Little Pea,' will be remembered in United history for a long time, no matter if he leaves this season or not. After notching the winner of another historic United comeback, Hernandez proved any doubters yet again.

Antonio Valencia (Substitute) - N/A

Valencia really added another dimension to United's attack when he came on as he kept bombarding down the right to help Januzaj take on Wilson and Pieters. Would not be surprised if he reverts to a right back position later on in his career.

Stoke City:

Asmir Begovic - 6

The Stoke goalkeeper will wonder what exactly happened during the match. Bizarrely, the keeper didn't actually have much work to do. He, just as De Gea, had only five shots on target to deal with, yet three of them went in. He will wish his defence could've done more, especially for the third goal. He debatably could have done better for the first goal as he pushed it in the middle to van Persie. 

Geoff Cameron - 5

The American was pretty much average. He should have done more to prevent the cross for the third goal against Evra, but his centre-backs should have marked better as well. 

Ryan Shawcross - 5

Much like Cameron, he wasn't overly impressive or very bad. He definitely wasn't as bad as Jones and Evans. Needed to mark a lot better once Hernandez was on the field but he, and his defence, didn't which had severe consequences. He got into a bit of drama with van Persie at the end of the first half.

Robert Huth - 5

Once again, was at fault for the third goal for not marking Hernandez. Had a relatively comfortable afternoon with United failing to penetrate the defence very often.

Erik Pieters - 6

He was great going forward, the few times Stoke did get forward. Somehow skipped through 3 United players and crossed a delightful ball for Crouch to eventually knock in. Still somewhat questionable defensively but will no doubt improve as his Premier League experience increases. 

Jonathan Walters - 5

The Irishman was as industrious as always but he will be wishing he finished his chance in the first half when De Gea made a point-blank save. Further to either side of De Gea and it was in. Was rather busy tracking back most of the game but found it difficult to contain Kagawa, Evra and Rooney at times.

Steven N'Zonzi - 4

The defensive midfielder showed good composure when had the ball but failed to make any impression on the game. 

Wilson Palacios - 5 

Palacios made some key interceptions during the game and his defensive work was quite effective. He silenced Tom Cleverley with ease, constantly putting him under pressure.

Marko Arnautovic - 7

Arnautovic was easily Stoke's best player on the day. After scoring a beautiful free-kick, he was a constant out ball for Stoke when they could get it to him. He was fearless in taking the opposition on and Mark Hughes will feel he's snagged a real gem who will only get better as he adapts to the Premier League.

Stephen Ireland - 4

Ireland was quite shaky at the beginning of the game when he seemed to lack any composure. Slowly grew into the game when Stoke had the ball but most of the game he spent defending. Lacked any impact.

Peter Crouch - 7 

The former Liverpool striker had a good game for the Potters. Showing persistence to score Stoke's first, he practically bullied Evans and Jones at points during the game. He won most, if not all, aerial duels against the United duo. 

Marc Wilson (Substitute) - 5

Coming on after 49 minutes for Arnautovic, Hughes would've hoped Wilson could have helped add more defensive reinforcement to the right flank. It worked until Valencia came on. 

Glenn Whelan (Substitute) - 4

Came on with 20 minutes to go to sure up the lead. Unfortunately, he couldn't help his team see it out and he failed to handle the pace of the game when he came on.

Charlie Adam (Substitute) - N/A

Came on without much time left to have a real impact on the game. Might've helped keep the ball in attacking areas if he came on earlier instead of Hughes making more negative substitutions such as Whelan. 

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Topics:
Football
Manchester United
Stoke City

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