Manchester United advanced to the last 16 of the Emirates FA Cup after seeing off Championship side Derby County on an entertaining Friday night at the iPro Stadium. Wayne Rooney’s glorious finish in the 16th minute broke the deadlock for the Red Devils, before George Thorne took full advantage of a defensive mistake by Chris Smalling to level matters for the Rams.
Daley Blind’s accurate side-footed finish from a Jesse Lingard ball restored United’s lead. Though Derby rallied late on to force a lucrative Old Trafford replay, it was Juan Mata’s one touch finish from an Anthony Martial pass which wrapped up the tie for Manchester United and eased some of the media pressure ratcheting up on manager Louis van Gaal.
We observe each player’s performance on the pitch on Friday night and assign them a rating on a scale from 1-10:
Scott Carson – 6
Made a couple of routine saves, but could do nothing to keep any of Manchester United’s goals out. Not a night the former Champions League winner would want to take any positives out of.
Cyrus Christie – 6
Was absolutely blown away by the pace and technical brilliance of Anthony Martial on the wing. He did test Cameron Borthwick-Jackson on a few occasions when he advanced upfront, but Martial’s performance was enough for Christie to decide that he had to wipe this game out of his memory as soon as possible. He laid on the floor after being beaten by Martial to set up Juan Mata’s goal, suggesting that he had tolerated enough humbling in a single game of football.
Richard Keogh – 6
A poor performance from the masked defender Richard Keogh, who struggled to read the link-up play between the trio of Martial, Rooney and Juan Mata. One of the few to stand off Wayne Rooney for his superb opener. An average outing for the 29-year-old.
Jason Shackell – 6.5
A slightly better performance from Shackell compared to his centre-back partner. He made a couple of important clearances to stop Wayne Rooney from meeting crosses flying in from the wing. Could have done better to read Jesse Lingard’s ball across the box for Daley Blind to slot home.
Stephen Warnock – 7
An inspiring performance from the veteran full-back Stephen Warnock. Apart from thwarting Jesse Lingard and Guillermo Varela on the wing, he made an amazing clearance to deny Wayne Rooney a certain tap-in from two yards out. He drove his team forward to force the issue once his side went behind, testing Varela’s qualitites as a fullback on a number of occasions. Understandably saw age catching up with him in the late stages of the game, with fatigue affecting his influence on the game.
Jacob Butterfield – 6.5
Playing in right central midfield, Butterfield was instrumental in helping Derby County’s counter charge in the first half once Manchester United were dispossessed. His intensity somewhat faded away in the second half once Michael Carrick came on and brought Manchester United’s midfield together.
George Thorne – 7
A memorable night for George Thorne, who was the engine behind Derby County’s counter-attacking football whenever they were gifted the ball by some sloppy Manchester United passing. Had the presence of mind to run into the void left by Chris Smalling to latch onto an accurate chip pass from Chris Martin to slam home and cancel out Wayne Rooney’s opener.
Bradley Johnson – 6
The former Norwich man could not influence the game as he would have liked, failing to make that decisive pass to cut the United defence open. A pass percentage of 63% reflected his inability to get the better of Morgan Schneiderlin in midfield.
Tom Ince – 6
Partnered up well with Cyrus Christie on the right wing, keeping Cameron Borthwick-Jackson on his toes whenever the ball was in the Manchester United half, but failed to make that key cutting approach to the bye-line to worry the Manchester United defence. A promising but ultimately fruitless performance by the 23-year old.
Chris Martin – 6.5
A wonderful chip through-ball to send George Thorne on his way to scoring Derby’s equaliser does not hide an otherwise ineffective display by the striker. With Derby sitting back, he had no support up front. He should have scored when clean through on goal late in the first half, but a poor touch allowed Chris Smalling to get that last-ditch tackle spot-on.
Nick Blackman – 6
A few pacey runs down the left-wing apart, winger Nick Blackman struggled to exert any meaningful pressure on Guillermo Varela, who was up to the challenge of stopping himself from getting dribbled past. His only opportunity came from a header from a cross from the right, easily saved by David de Gea. Was substituted off early in the second half.
Abdoul Camara – 5.5
Replaced Nick Blackman in the 59th minute to bring the Rams back in the game, but – like Blackman – failed to get the better of Varela on the wing.
Johnny Russell – 5.5
Came on in place of an exhausted George Thorne in the 76th minute, but Derby’s challenge was fading fast by then. Didn’t get the required gametime to stamp any meaningful authority on the game.
Jeffrey Hendrick – 5.5
Thrown on as an advanced midfielder in the 76th minute in an attempt to force a replay, but then there was a certain Michael Carrick in front of him. No chance.