Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AC Milan-Manchester United: Player Ratings

AC Milan dominated the first half but a fortuitous Scholes equalizer set the stage for a United recovery in the second frame. Rooney headed home twice in the second half on United's first two truly serviceable crosses. Ronaldinho later combined brilliantly with substitute Seedorf to peg one back. Milan pressure at the death but United win 3-2.

MANCHESTER UNITED
Van der Sar (7 ) Fairly busy game. Made one top-class save from Pirlo. Showed good distribution and ball control. Charged decisively to meet crosses when necessary. Let two by but was not greatly culpable for either.

Rafael (8 ) The young Brazilian had a tall order in covering Ronaldinho in such a huge European tie. Though Dinho had a quality game, so did Rafael, playing with a maturity that Ferguson will be well chuffed by.

Ferdinand (6 ) Looked a little squirrely at times. He's an odd choice for England captain because of the physical failings and mental instability he's shown this year. He can become rattled when forwards drive at him. Off form.

Evans (8 ) Another youngster expected to really step up in this classic tie. He was reamed by his manager for one instance of naivety but otherwise was stalwart against a star-studded Milan attack. If United's finances are in truly poor order they'll be thankful to have youngsters like this to plug possible transfer departures.

Evra (7.5 ) Arguably United's most consistent player over this season. Rarely puts in a bad shift. Showed good sportsmanship in avoiding a stamp against Ambrosini in the second half, and otherwise was a more than useful outlet when United transitioned from defense to attack.

Park (6 ) Too slow. Like his wingman, Park had a couple decent games in January but is still having a bad year. Didn't do much on offense; he appears off-balance often. His utility for the side has always been to harry on United's side of the field which he did so today only averagely.

Carrick (6 ) Sent off late for time-wasting, so he loses a half-point. Otherwise, he did just enough to spare criticism I'd otherwise be more than willing to spew. He is too content to be a supporting player, never really inspires anyone or thing with his play. However, he was economical enough to warrant a slightly above-average rating for his day.

Scholes (7.5) When he started to make forwards runs and occupy advanced positions in the second half, United played better. There's no point having him lying deep when Carrick and Fletcher are more suited to. Mishit the first goal as it came off his standing leg, but to his credit, he was unmarked. Otherwise marshaled the game wisely. His manager likely would have opted for Giggs if the Welshman was healthy; let's be glad he didn't.

Fletcher (8 ) One of the few United players to show improvement, week-by-week, over the season. Some players dip into and out of form; some players actually grow and get better. At 26, he is entering his prime. His engine is inexhaustible; he tackles willfully, turns and holds the ball, and always tracks back.

Nani (5 ) Tales of his ascension were greatly exaggerated, and not by me. Continues to flatter and deceive. Had two good games in January and people wanted to anoint him reborn. Cooler heads prevail: Nani is still rubbish. His passing is still awful. As soon as he left, Valencia dinked in a cross for Rooney to convert; perhaps the firt cross of the game finding the striker's head. Nani can occasionally bust out a trick that woos casual fans, but certainly all the poor decision-making, bad passings, and ostentatious dribbling he's displayed over the last three seasons are not lost from memory? They shouldn't be on today's evidence.

Rooney (9) Finally playing as well as everyone's been saying all year. Not because he headed in nicely on two occasions, but because of the decisions and touches he's making on the field. Had a great turn-and-shoot in the first half with his left foot. Drove through the middle of the park and fired from distance several times in the second half. After finally getting a decent cross he converted skillfully from Valencia and again from Fletcher. The time he spent in the offseason heading the ball is clearly paying off. Since United's first January match against Man City Rooney has excelled into perhaps the best form of his career. He can and hopefully will still get better. When he dips his shoulder, drives at defenders, makes runs in behind, and shoots from range, he is confident and effective.

Subs:
Valencia (Changed the game with his first cross, should always start instead of Nani)
Brown (Did not touch the ball)

AC MILAN
Dida (5 ) Does not inspire confidence.

Thiago (6.5 ) Getting better as the season goes on. His partnership with Nesta is blooming but the pairing is by no means foolproof. At sea during Rooney's headers.

Nesta (6 ) Let's be honest, I don't pay nearly as much attention to the Milan players. But, intuitively, I think if I say that Nesta didn't look especially good or poor today I won't be far off the park.

Antonini (5 ) Substituted in the first half after injury.

Bonera (6 ) Unremarkable.

Pirlo (7 ) Nifty in the middle as Milan controlled the first half. Forced a good save from Van der Sar from a dead-ball. Legs are looking heavier as the years race by but his creative mind is still sharp.

Ambrosini (6.5 ) Poor man's Fletcher. Good first half. Faded in the second. Clumsy with the ball, but willing.

Beckham (6 ) Beckham is virtually always Beckham. Passes sideways and backwards usually. Occasionally dinks in some nice little through balls or inside passes. Swings in crosses that look nice and are sometimes in an ideal vicinity. Stayed out wide; substituted for Seedorf as Milan trailed 1-3.

Ronaldinho (8 ) If you've read lately that Ronaldinho is finally nearing his world-class Barcelona form, you were not misled. Over the last month or more his confidence has returned. It either results from or contributes to his stylish play. Scored the first goal after getting a helpful deflection. Drove at defenders and was involved throughout. Passionate.

Huntelaar (6.5 ) Strong first half. Underrated striker. Wouldn't have started if Boriello was healthy, rightly so, in truth. But he shares the ability with his national teammate van Nistelrooy to finish decisively in the box. Unfortunately today those efforts were blocked.

Pato (7 ) Quiet first half. Better second half. Some ridiculous turns of skill to get through and around defenders. Always willing to drive at pace against United's backline. He's a handful even if he doesn't have a great game.

Subs:
Favalli (Blah)
Seedorf (Class)
Inzaghi (Provided pressure)

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good Analysis. It was a little surprise that Manchester Managed to beat AC Milan.

Football Match updates

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