Manchester United returned to their winning ways this Wednesday. On a rainy night at Old Trafford, The Red Devils secured a huge 1-0 win that kept alive the 11-point distance with Manchester City, thanks to a first-half goal from Romelu Lukaku. Here is our one-on-one analysis from that game:
David De Gea – 8
Can anyone debate against the fact that David De Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world right now? The Spanish goalkeeper once again played a key role in the win, and registered seven saves throughout the game. He was inmense during the second half, denying Bournemouth’s attacking line time and time again during the second half.
Antonio Valencia – 6
The Ecuadorian defender has settled himself nicely as a starter on the right-back role and while he is not a flashy player, he gets the job done on both ends of the pitch. It was no different here, as he looked composed defensively while pushing forward in every chance he had. He could have done a better job crossing the ball, though, as his two crosses into the box failed to meet a teammate.
Chris Smalling – 6
The England international has been starting in place of Eric Bailly, and Smalling has been playing quite well of late. He delivered another solid effort against Bournemouth, as he finished with four clearances, two interceptions and two tackles, while winning four of the six duels he engaged in.
Phil Jones – 7
Jones has looked quite well in his return from injury, and the talented centre-back looked as the leader of United’s defensive line in another clean sheet. The former Blackburn defender and current England defender registered five clearances, while adding one blocked shot, one interception, and one tackle.
Luke Shaw – 7
Could Luke Shaw be turning his fortunes around at Old Trafford? He has been linked with an Old Trafford exit, but he has been playing regularly in recent weeks and once again looked composed on the left-back role. He finished with three tackles, but also looked like a threat on the attacking end since he added four crosses, three long passes, and one dribble.
Nemanja Matic – 7
The Serbian international played on a more defensive role in this game. He looked composed on the ball, delivered some good passes, and worked hard in front of the defensive line. He registered three interceptions, two tackles, one clearance, one blocked shot, and won three of his four individual duels in midfield.
Scott McTominay – 7
The youngster received a rare start due to the absences of Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba, and thrived. The 21-year-old looked accurate on his touches, won most of his duels in midfield, and collaborated on both ends of the pitch. But most importantly, he formed a great partnership with Matic in midfield, and could have emerged as a viable alternative for the starting XI going forward.
Juan Mata – 6
The Spanish playmaker had an…interesting game, to put it in a way. He looked threatening in the first half and set up Romelu Lukaku’s goal with a perfect cross into the six-yard box, but disappeared off the game for prolonged stretches afterwards. He had some good moments in the second half and moved all over the attacking third when Bournemouth adopted a more positive stance. But he should have been a bit more accurate on his final touch.
Jesse Lingard – 5
Lingard was once looked largely ineffectual as an attacking midfielder. The explosive winger did not look comfortable on a central role, and failed to make much of an impact since the opposing midfielders did not give him any room to work with. We have seen far better games from him in recent weeks, and he needs to return to his form if he wants to remain in the starting XI for the foreseeable future.
Anthony Martial – 5
The French apparently has settled as a starter on the left wing, but he didn’t represent much of a threat on the attacking third. His final touch was often inaccurate, and that forced him to miss a decent scoring chance in the first half that could have ended differently had he had a better first touch. He also failed to score only a few yards away from the goal line in the second half, and eventually left the pitch after an uninspiring effort.
Romelu Lukaku – 7
Sometimes it’s hard to rate Lukaku considering he doesn’t get involve much in the game when he doesn’t receive enough balls. But he played a key role in this game, scoring the game-winner with a perfect header following a cross from Mata midway into the first half. Lukaku also ended his scoring drought, so perhaps this game was a sign of things to come for the Belgian striker.
Marcus Rashford replaced Anthony Martial in the 66th minute, but he didn’t represent much of an upgrade over Martial. The same applied for Ander Herrera, who added fresh legs in midfield to hold on to the result, and Ashley Young, who replaced a tired Luke Shaw on the left-back role for the final minutes.