United v Everton - Player Ratings!
Sorry folks, but as it's Christmas I have now very little time. So only a brief report: a scrappy opening 20 minutes were put aside due to a brilliant goal from Ronaldo. Sloppy defending allowed Cahill to head home Pienaar's cross and though United applied some pressure, Everton's performance was admirable: not content to sit back and defend deep they tried to attack us and looked threatening.
We should have been in the lead at half-time but Ronaldo blazed the ball over the bar after brilliant play by himself and Ryan Giggs. The second half was quite one-sided: Everton defended well, United often looked out of ideas despite passing the ball around well and trying to create opportunities. However, Pienaar came to help: with two minutes left on the clock, he clumsily tripped Giggs who was going nowhere in the penalty box. The penalty was coolly dispatched by Ronaldo who is now alone on the top of the scoring charts.
Tomasz Kuszczak: Deputising for Edwin, the Pole was faultless at the goal but his goalkicks were terribly frustrating as at least six landed at the stands. 5
Danny Simpson: Overcome with nerves, the Salford lad failed to handle Pienaar and show the same resilience and skill he displayed against Wigan and Roma. 5
Wes Brown: Did well in defence in the absence of the injured (or punished, who knows) Rio. 6
Nemanja Vidic: Another committed, solid performance. 7
Patrice Evra: Did not offer real penetration on the left flank and failed to beat Cahill for the header at the goal. However, he was assured on the ball again and sometimes looked our only player who could carry out the ball from defence intelligently. 6
Cristiano Ronaldo: Brilliant goal, calm penalty and a missed sitter. I will give him a high mark because he won the match but he was off-colour yesterday. 8
Anderson: This boy is unbelievable. If he learns how to time his runs and when to end his solos by passing the ball he will be even better. His bite and ball skills were invaluable again. 7
Michael Carrick: Not one of his better displays. Mediocre passing, did not tackle enough, failed to assert himself. 5
Ryan Giggs: Played well for an hour or so then faded but won the penalty at the end. 7
Carlos Tevez: Missed his chances and found life difficult, often shunted to the right wing. 6
Wayne Rooney: Dangerous shots, good passes and a brilliant chip that would have been a goal but for Lescott. But his temper sometimes threatened to get the better of him and should have offered a greater goal threat. 6
John O'Shea:His introduction did a lot to stifle Everton's attacks as he managed to subdue the lively Pienaar. 7
Louis Saha: Kept the ball and passed it well but little impact. 6
Darren Fletcher: Came on too late to make any significant contribution. 5