United's Season: Player Ratings - The Defence
We continue our season reviews. This time we analyse the contribution of every single player who wore the Red shirt in a competitive game during this campaign. The first part of the series is about the defence. The goalkeepers are in this category, of course.
Edwin van der Sar: United's number one enjoyed a solid season. He committed very few mistakes and though the rock solid defence made his job a lot more easier, he made some great saves - his performance at Middlesbrough and against Arsenal was key to our title win and of course his penalty save from Nicolas Anelka sealed Champions League glory for the Reds. 8
Tomasz Kuszczak: He is an understudy, no more, no less. As such he did well. Played in 8 Premiership games and he was involved in the Champions League, too. His best game was against Roma at Old Trafford (in the group stages) where he kept out a lively side with good saves. 7
Ben Foster: He won't get a rating but his single appearance, at Derby, was highly encouraging.
Wes Brown: Played more games than anyone in United's squad. On occasions he was poor - most notably against Liverpool at Anfield and against Arsenal at Old Trafford - but he was outstanding against Barcelona and Chelsea in the Champions League. Pacy wingers often troubled him but his crossing was improving steadily as the season went on and was rarely beaten in the air. 7
Rio Ferdinand: As close to perfection as you can get. Masterful throughout the campaign, he had the likes of Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto'o in his pocket for entire games. His best display was probably against Barcelona at Old Trafford where he produced an absolutely commanding masterpiece alongside Wes Brown. Problems with concentration and attitude are forgotten. 9
Nemanja Vidic: Outstanding all season, his partnership with Rio is flourishing. Missed some important games through injury but returned for the crucial matches against Wigan and Chelsea. Named as the weak link in the United defence by Salomon Kalou, he went on to have a blinder of a game. A bit disappointing was that he scored only one goal all season, back in September at Goodison Park. 8
Patrice Evra: Best left-back in the world right now. He had trouble with those wingers who like to dribble to the outside of the defender but in the end coped reasonably well with all, with the one notable exception of Aaron Lennon. But he dealt very well with Lionel Messi, supported the attacks brilliantly all season - though looked a bit tired at times during the spring. 8
John O'Shea: The big Irishman did not have a defining moment like last season's goal at Liverpool but provided good cover when called upon. Uncomfortable in the middle against Middlesbrough, he was usually reliable on the flanks. 6
Gerard Pique: Committed a crucial mistake at Bolton by misjudging his header but scored two goals in the Champions League and had very good games when Vidic was absent - he was very confident against Arsenal though that was a very important and very difficult game. 6
Mikael Silvestre: Played two games (and two minutes against Barcelona) after suffering cruciate ligament injury at Everton in September. Neither Roma nor Chelsea could find a way past him, he was brilliant in both games. Still, he didn't play enough to be rated.
Gary Neville: Got a hero's welcome against Roma but ten minutes in midfield isn't enough for a rating.
Jonny Evans: Had all the trouble in the world containing Michael Mifsud in the Carling Cup against Coventry. Played as a substitute against Dynamo Kiev and as a starter at AS Roma in the Champions League group stages.
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