Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle United: Player ratings
A Boxing Day match at Old Trafford never ceases to thrill. Manchester United have a fantastic record in fixtures on this day, winning 15 out of 18 encounters. No easy ride this time as United had to dig themselves out not just once but thrice against a determined Newcastle United and eventually ran out winners with a stoppage time goal from Javier Hernandez.
Here is how Manchester United players rated during the 98-minute roller-coaster ride.
David De Gea – 7: Could’ve done better in parrying away Ba’s shot for the first goal but had no chance with the other two. Distribution was good, while generally in control otherwise.
Chris Smalling – 6: Did well defensively for most of the game but should’ve done better in holding off Obertan from crossing for Newcastle’s third goal. Didn’t offer much going forward as United continue to miss Rafael.
Rio Ferdinand – 6: Given a torrid time by Ba, struggled to keep pace with him. Questionable defending for Newcastle’s first and third goals. Did well in countering the aerial threat, winning most of the headers coming his way.
Jonny Evans – 7: An above par performance only blighted by the unfortunate own goal. Did well to score his fourth goal of the season and continued to provide energy as United fought back.
Patrice Evra – 8: Evra is having his best season in a United shirt offensively with four goals already to his name. Defensively did well, despite being exposed by the ageing Giggs on the wings and nullified Cisse’s threat for most part.
Antonio Valencia – 5: He did alright in the last 30 minutes, but for the past three matches he has played without much creativity and seems to hold the ball up doing nothing when doubled up on his favourite right side. Has no ability on his left foot and needs to improve a ton if he wants to provide any sort of justification to his No. 7 jersey. Becks and Ronnie won’t be too proud.
Michael Carrick – 8 (MoM): Top performance for the second consecutive game with quality passes and assured positioning. Had to run more to cover-up for the ageing Scholes and Giggs and provided a Beckham-esque ball for Chicharito’s winner in the 91st minute. Man of the Match!
Paul Scholes – 5: Time’s up for the ginger legend. Still has the ability to pick out a great cross-field ball but struggles to track back while defending, offering acres of space for opponents to run at.
Ryan Giggs – 7: Looking at his contribution over the season, I never thought Giggs had it in him to offer a 7-rated performance ever again, but proved that his best position is on the wings with a fantastic outing. Did not lose the ball, was more assured in his tackles and ran at the full back confidently. Did well to stretch Newcastle’s tiring legs in the last 30 minutes, delivering quality crosses.
Robin Van Persie – 7: Unsurprisingly got on to the score sheet again to pull United back level for the third time in the game. Missed a few very difficult chances but did well linking up the midfield and Hernandez . Quality touches.
Javier Hernandez – 7: One goal was the difference from turning a disappointing performance into a match winning one. Missed a sitter to pull United clear in the 87th minute, but made amends with a superbly timed run to score from Carrick’s ball in the stoppage time. Still unconvincing while starting and better off as a super-sub.
Tom Cleverly (69′) – 7: Raised the pace of United’s attack as soon as he came on. Lacked any killer balls but did well with quick short passes to push United forward.
Darren Fletcher (93′) – Didn’t have enough time on the pitch to rate.