Manchester United player ratings: Januzaj the only shining light

Manchester United slipped to their third defeat in a row this evening, losing 2-1 away to Sunderland in the Capital One Cup.

Vincent Ralph rates the Manchester United display player by player…

David de Gea 7

The Spanish ‘keeper could do little about either Sunderland strike (an own-goal and a well-taken penalty). He pulled off an outstanding save to deny Seb Larsson moments before United gave away the spot-kick.

Rafael 5

The Brazilian right-back was lucky to remain on the pitch after a booking for dissent was followed almost instantly by a foolish late tackle that went unpunished. Made poor decisions at times and was not as effective in the attacking half as he is capable of being.

Nemanja Vidic 7

An outstanding leap saw Vidic score the equalising goal, and how important that strike is will not be seen until the end of the second-leg. Marshalled the defence well in the second half but will be frustrated that both goals were avoidable

Jonny Evans 6

Evans was replaced early in the second half with what is believed to be a back injury. Was not the most composed in the early minutes of the game when Sunderland started well and put pressure on United’s back-line.

Patrice Evra 6

The Frenchman was more subdued than United fans are used to, rarely marauding down the flank until the game approached its end. Had a shot off target in the final minutes but will be disappointed with his all-round performance.

Michael Carrick 7

The first half was tough for United’s midfield, as the Black Cats fought for every ball and made it a far from pretty affair. However, he took more of a hold on the game in the second period, when Sunderland sat back and allowed United to have the ball in certain areas. One excellent through-ball to Ryan Giggs was slightly over-hit, but aside from that he created little.

Ryan Giggs 5

The Welshman will be hugely disappointed by with the own-goal he scored and his overall performance. While he has starred in Europe this season, tonight Giggs was rarely seen. He is not the creative spark his club are crying out for. He has his moments, but this evening at least, they were few and far between.

Tom Cleverley 5

Cleverley brought down Adam Johnson for the penalty and while he has grounds for complaint, he should not have been in that position in the first place. While the initial contact was outside the box, Cleverley challenged the former Manchester City man with the wrong foot, getting himself into unnecessary trouble.

Antonio Valencia 6

The Ecuadorian has rediscovered his form somewhat this season, but tonight he obviously left it in Manchester. A few ineffective crosses aside, Valencia did little to aid United’s pursuit of a goal. In fact he was completely outshone by the man on the opposite flank.

Adnan Januzaj 8

Or should that be everywhere, because in truth Januzaj did not play in one position, he influenced the game right across the front-line. The Belgian was United’s one bright spark and on the ground where he scored a brace in the league, he could have more but for bad luck and an inch or two.

Danny Welbeck 6

The England striker has impressed in recent weeks, but tonight was not his night. He failed to create chances either for himself or for others and could not benefit from the creativity of Januzaj. He will have better nights than this, but for such occasions, Moyes needs Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie back as soon as possible.


Chris Smalling (replaced Jonny Evans) 5

The defender did little of note apart from a deliberate hand-ball that led to a booking.

Darren Fletcher (replaced Tom Cleverley) 6

Fletcher looked composed when he replaced Cleverley and along with Carrick he stroked the ball around nicely. But he is not a creative force and reinforcements are required as a matter of urgency.

Javier Hernandez (replaced Antonio Valencia) 4

He arrived late and had no chances. He must be wondering where his future lies when he can only get a few minutes even with United’s two main strikers absent.

image: © joncandy

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