Written by David Robinson
Jose Mourinho made the perfect start in his first game in charge at Old Trafford with what turned out to be a comfortable 2-0 victory over Southampton. A Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal in both halves was enough to secure the three points with a performance that I’m sure would have pleased the Portuguese boss. The Saints put up a good fight but the Red Devils who of course spent fortunes investing in their side saw a return with key recruits making a difference. I assess the Manchester United players individually following their win.
David De Gea – 6/10
Had next to nothing to do so, virtually anonymous even though Southampton had a few chances.
Antonio Valencia – 8/10
I thought the Ecuadorian excelled down the right hand side at right back. He showed his more natural wing play to great effect driving past the Southampton left side and was able to put in some testing crosses. He stuck to his task defensively very well and played with an intensity where he passed the ball very neatly.
Eric Bailly – 7/10
He never really got beaten although he wasn’t always convincing following a very impressive game vs Bournemouth last week. He showed his physical capabilities on a few occasions and seems to be in the right positions but not hugely tested.
Daley Blind – 7/10
Very secure from the Dutchmen, didn’t really put a foot wrong but again wasn’t tested fully. Isn’t blessed with the same physical attributes as his partner but he seems to read the ball well and compete so it doesn’t make a difference.
Luke Shaw – 8/10
Another great contribution from the full back area. Shaw provided important velocity to the team. This was summed up when he ‘won’ a penalty in the second half which showed his attacking intentions even though he clipped his own heels. The former Saints man wasn’t troubled defensively but this was a game that showed off his quality going forwards making incisive runs with pace and precision.
Marouane Fellaini – 8/10
Will get no headlines of course but I thought the Belgium midfielder executed his role to perfection. He effectively just got in the way of several attacks and very rarely lost possession. He hassled and made it difficult for the opposition with real discipline meaning it was a very successful night for the defensive midfielder.
Paul Pogba – 8.5/10
The much awaited debut and it went very well for the most expensive player. He didn’t start particularly well being loose in possession but after that brief spell he showed his real class and dominated the midfield. He importantly contributed defensively very well, breaking up the play and then showing some lovely touches going forwards. He was very unselfish in his play which was a reason why Man Utd worked so well as a team.
Juan Mata – 7/10
A decent performance again from the Spaniard who went about his business in a typically tidy fashion. He linked up nicely in general and allowed plenty of space for Valencia to bomb down the right hand side. Not everything came off for him but still a good outing.
Anthony Martial – 6/10
A quiet night for Martial but he still played a part. He made some good runs and used the ball well but his final product again was lacking missing a good opportunity following a lovely burst into the box. Helped Luke Shaw out when he could so he did help the team but with so much ability he didn’t have a big input.
Wayne Rooney – 7/10
The Captain didn’t do much wrong again, he got a great assist for the opener and got into some troubling positions over the pitch which helped keep the play ticking. He sometimes dropped deep into central midfield to collect the ball which allowed Pogba to go further up the pitch which worked well as the English skipper quietly went about moving the ball on generally with accuracy.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 8.5/10
The main man up front hit a brace which won Sky Sports man of the match award. I thought Zlatan struggled at times to hold the ball up losing possession on quite a few occasions particularly in the first half. However he also showed some deft touches to create attacks and more importantly fired in the all important goals. When his big moments came, he took them which of course for a striker earns a high rating.
Manchester United fans, do you agree with these ratings? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by apasciuto