The unconvincing story of Louis van Gaal continues as Manchester United labored to a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light against a Sunderland side which looked the more fluid going forward and more assured defensively. Juan Mata’s tap-in was canceled out by Jack Rodwell’s header as United lacked that cutting edge in the final third.
Here are the Player Ratings of the Manchester United players who took the field at the Stadium of Light.
David de Gea – 6/10
Although Sunderland looked the more dangerous of the two sides in attack, David de Gea was rarely tested, and looked assured as ever when forced into action. Could do little to prevent Rodwell’s bullet header from crashing into the net.
Phil Jones – 5/10
Jones looks far too excitable in possession for someone who has played top-level football for Manchester United for three years now. Far too many last-ditch clearances and interceptions for Louis van Gaal’s liking. Needs to look much more assured to fit into van Gaal’s system.
Chris Smalling – 5/10
Looked shaky at times, but does look more comfortable as the pivot in the back three. Needs to work on his distribution.
Tyler Blackett – 5.5
Shaky start, but grew into the game and started looking much more comfortable. Has to cut down on his aimless hoof-balls, but looks promising. No-nonsense defender.
Antonio Valencia – 6.5/10
Not every day we would say this, but Valencia was United’s best defender of the afternoon. Tracked back responsibly, setup Mata’s goal but still looks one-dimensional in an attacking sense.
Ashley Young – 4.5/10
Poor crossing, far too wasteful in possession and a liability at wing-back. United are missing Luke Shaw and how! Could have had a penalty in the second half, but his reputation went against him.
Tom Cleverley – 5/10
Had a lot of the ball, but lacks vision and invention in possession. Cleverley lacks guile and it seems that his days in an United shirt are numbered, with United in the market for a central midfielder.
Darren Fletcher – 5/10
Sloppy in possession, with some dreadful touches to give Sunderland possession in advanced areas could have hurt United dearly. Fletcher is surely not the answer to United’s problems in midfield.
Juan Mata – 7/10
Mata looked to get involved, and looked like the only United player who could make something out of anything. Made a Lampard-ish run into the box for the goal, but needs to do more in his favorite position.
Wayne Rooney – 6/10
Frustrating afternoon for the United captain. He must be itching to start playing with Di Maria.
Robin van Persie – 5.5/10
Too many touches when he was afforded possession. Lacked match sharpness. His supporting cast let him down though.
Michael Keane – 5.5
Kept things quiet in the second half. Snuffed out a couple of Sunderland breaks.
Adnan Januzaj – 6
Looked promising, but was played far too deep to make an impact. Should start regularly in this United side.
Danny Welbeck – 5
Had nothing to do in the half an hour he played. Failed to impress the manager and could be shipped out.