Vincent Ralph rates the Manchester United display player by player…
David de Gea 6
The Spanish goalkeeper conceded three and yet could do little about any of them. Aside from those goals, he had little to do, with a few long-range efforts dealt with comfortably. He was let down by poor defending ahead of him and it will be interesting to see how many of today’s back four are regulars for United next season.
In the first half the Brazilian bombed on with his usual gusto and looked a real threat, combining excellently with Antonio Valencia and causing problems for Chelsea’s left-side. However he was dragged out of position for Samuel Eto’o's second goal and should have been sent off late on for a two-footed tackle that only resulted in a booking.
Jonny Evans 5
Jonny Evans has the potential to be a fantastic centre-back, but his partnership with Nemanja Vidic fell short against the Blues. While the pairing were not troubled a great deal aside from Chelsea’s three strikes, they were the vital moments and on all three occasions Eto’o was allowed the space to score.
Nemanja Vidic 5
Much like Evans, Vidic just wasn’t up to it when required. He handled plenty of aerial balls well and cleared his lines regularly. However, he will surely be frustrated at how much space United’s defence gave to Eto’o on three separate occasions. He may feel hard done by to have received a straight red card but by then the damage was done; although the bigger blow is that he will miss the next three matches through suspension.
Patrice Evra 6
The Frenchman continues to get a lot of stick from some fans, but against Chelsea he was at fault the least – which is hollow praise for a player who left the field injured in the second half. He had a long-range shot into the side-netting and when United were on top in the first half, he and Adnan Januzaj continued their impressive interchanging.
Phil Jones 4
Phil Jones has had some good games in midfield, but this was not one of them. He did little in the attacking third, instead relying on square balls and back-passes when his side were crying out for creativity. He also backed off and shirked the challenge in the build-up to the Cameroon international's first goal. It is time Jones was played regularly at centre-back, but for that to happen, David Moyes needs some new central midfielders.
Michael Carrick 5
It was Carrick who the ball deflected off to give Chelsea the lead, but he was not at fault for that. He simply made a challenge and the ball looped off him; but as with Jones, there was not enough forward-drive. He did attempt to play some quick passes into the box for Javier Hernandez, but they were easily intercepted by Chelsea’s defenders.
Antonio Valencia 7
Valencia continues to play his way back into form and was one of the shining lights in United’s early momentum. Even when the visitors fell behind, the winger continued to try to impose himself on the game and he produced some excellent crosses that a more prolific front-line may have thrived on.
Ashley Young 4
Young was another who really took the game to Chelsea in the opening minutes. However his impact quickly dwindled and by the time he left the field, to be replaced by Javier Hernandez, he was hardly being noticed.
Adnan Januzaj 8
It is becoming something of a habit to say so, but Adnan Januzaj was yet again United’s brightest spark. In fact for much of the first half he was arguably the best player on the pitch. He continually bamboozled Chelsea's players, who backed off him because of his unpredictability. He also produced some fine balls across the box that Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie would have snaffled up. A couple of his final balls do need work, as he failed to pick out Danny Welbeck a few times when both were in the box. That said, he is going to be a superstar.
Danny Welbeck 6
The England international scuffed a shot from close-range when it came to him quickly, and he will know he should have done better. He also headed a good chance wide in the second half when his side was crying out for a goal. He did however produce an excellent run and cross for Hernandez’s consolation strike.
Chris Smalling (replaced Patrice Evra) 5
Smalling did reasonably well when he came on for Evra. His performance went by unnoticed in a second half that fizzled out until United’s late rally.
Javier Hernandez (replaced Young) 6
The Mexican did what he was brought on to do. It was only a shame for Moyes that he only did it once. His goal was an opportunistic strike, but it suggested what might have been had Januzaj been supplying him when United were on top in the first half.
image: © joncandy