EPL 2016/17: Middlesbrough 1-3 Manchester United, Player Ratings
Manchester United finally lifted themselves off 6th place in the table – with a 3-1 win away to Middlesbrough at the Riverside stadium. The game was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests, with United thankful for a late goal by Antonio Valencia in injury time that added gloss to the scoreline.
Marouane Fellaini started things off with a well taken header in the 30th minute, with Jesse Lingard hammering a 2nd in the 60th minute. Rudy Gestede’s 77th minute goal set the cat amongst the pigeons, before a Victor Valdez howler allowed Valencia to round things off.
Here’s how the players rated:
Victor Valdes – 6.5/10
The Spaniard was keen on reminding his former club of his talents, and began the game in great fashion, denying Rashford from a one-on-one. Valdes continued to keep his side in the game, denying Rashford and Valencia in the first half alone, but could do nothing for two of the first goals United scored. As is characteristic of the life of a goalkeeper, Valdes then had an absolute howler in injury time, gifting a goal to Antonio Valencia.
Antonio Barragan – 5/10
The Boro right-back struggled to keep Ashley Young quiet for most of the game, allowing the United fullback to run past him multiple times, and also got his positioning wrong for the opening goal, allowing Young time and space to cross the ball.
Bernardo Espinosa – 4/10
Espinosa was a doubt before the game, and looked woefully off the pace when up against Marcus Rashford, being second-best for much of the game. His frustrations earned him a booking in the second half, while also being at fault for turning his back when Lingard struck from range to score the second goal.
Ben Gibson – 6/10
Middlesbrough had the 4th best defence in the Premier League prior to this game, and a large part of that was Ben Gibson. The English centre-back showed exactly why a large number of clubs are after him, making some crucial interceptions to thwart dangerous situations, only to be let down by his fellow defenders.
Fabio – 5.5/10
The ex-Manchester United fullback looked heavily motivated to perform against his former side – which worked against him. Fabio was full of running through out the game, snuffing out danger well, but made a mess of multiple promising situations with some very poor crossing.
Grant Leadbitter – 5/10
The Boro midfielder looked a bit lost in midfield, often losing track of Fellaini as the Belgian made his forays forward. He picked up a deserved booking and looked a bit of a liability in midfield, resulting in his substitution in the second half.
Marten de Roon – 6/10
De Roon provided plenty of energy in the Boro midfield, as he roamed all over the pitch. He was a bit poor with his crossing in the first half, but looked much more composed in the second half. The Dutchman made a crucial contribution to Boro’s opening goal, winning a header that fell into Gestede’s path.
Adam Clayton – 5/10
Clayton looked neat enough in midfield, but struggled to affect the game as Boro sat deep in the middle of the park.
Stewart Downing – 5/10
The English winger found himself in good positions throughout the game, but was uncharacteristically poor in his crossing. He did deliver the inital ball into the box for Boro’s opening goal, though.
Gaston Ramirez – 7/10
The Uruguayan was Boro’s best player, drawing a great save from David de Gea when the game was goalless. He made a mug of Eric Bailly on the wing multiple times, only to miss out on the final ball to Negredo. Surprisingly, he was hauled off by his manager in the second half.
Alvaro Negredo – 6.5/10
Negredo battled manfully in the first half, but struggled due to the lack of service. Once Gested came on to offer him some support up-front, Negredo was much more threatening, going close with a glancing header, while also troubling Smalling on the edge of the box.
Rudy Gestede (68’) – 7/10
The Benin striker came on to great effect, immediately offering a greater attacking impetus with some physical play. He took advantage of Smalling’s mistake and kept calm to offer Boro some hope with a well taken finish.
Adama Traore (68’) – 6/10
Adama Traore was full of running, but lacked end product – pretty much the story of his career.