Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bayern Munic-Manchester United: Player Ratings

United had a dream start when Demichelis fouled Nani needlessly in the first minute. Bayern's defender slipped on the following free-kick to allow Rooney a simple tap-in. Rooney did nothing furtherand often, nor did Unitedthroughout the first half as Bayern dominated possession and fired in crosses and shots.

This theme continued in the second frame, in part to thoughtless substitutions made by Ferguson, who lacked the audacity to take Rooney out and keep the 4-5-1, instead going to 4-4-2, despite already conceding so much possession. 

Ribery equalized in the 76th minute with a Rooney-deflected free-kick. Bayern continued to control the waning moments of the match and snatched victory from Draw's jaws at the death when United's backline, sans Neville, got in a total muddle, allowing Olic to skip through and finish.

Butt (7): "Didn't have much to do today."

Demichelis (6.5): Started in bad shape, needlessly conceding a free-kick, and slipping as it ensued to allow Rooney's early goal. Made roads to make up for it as United failed to tally again.

Van Buyten (7.5): Enjoyed getting forward, even, on occasion, and shut down Rooney easily with help from his friends.

Badstuber (6.5): Should be thankful he was up against Nani today instead of Valencia. Poor decision from United's manager is this left-back's personal gain today.

Lahm (8): Bayern's best player in the first half. United didn't press enough and Lahm was able to ping in dangerous crosses. The trend continued in the second frame. Didn't have to defend much against Park, or Giggs.

Pranjic (7): Got a couple shots off on goal and, despite being run ragged by Fletcher, enjoyed possession during the Scotsman's absence.

Van Bommel (8): Laid the foundation for Bayern's control. Assured and dominant in the air against a clucking Carrick.

Ribery (8.5): Bayern's most creative player. Outstanding balance similar to Arshavin. Created several dangerous opportunities for forwards who didn't otherwise deserve them. Scored when Rooney deflected his 22-yard free-kick.

Altintop (5): Extremely slow. Failed to release his side on the counter despite several chances to do so easily. Plodding and useless.

Olic (6.5): Laughable for 90 minutes. Deadly for one second. Made a huge difference pouncing late to give Bayern an advantage heading back to Old Trafford.

Muller (5.5): Didn't show much of his game, whatever it may be.


van der Sar (8): Had a lot of work to do today. Zero culpability for the first goal, his chances weren't fair for the second, either. Strong in his box and using both feet to clear the ball. Bayern had 20 shots overall, 10 on target.

Neville (6): Guileful display from United's right-back until he reactively handled outside his penalty box. Ribery's ensuing free-kick crucially levelled. Neville wasn't outclassed today from open field, despite being often against the Frenchman. Nani didn't help track back enough, and considering, Neville put in a good shift.

Ferdinand (5.5): Rio is not fit. Looked at sea at times. Bayern were able to get behind United's backline on several occasions. Somewhat culpable for Bayern's late go-ahead goal when he totally took himself out of the equation, being ridiculously off-balance.

Vidic (7): Also discombobulated for Bayern's second, Vida won headers and tackled well otherwise throughout the match.

Evra (6.5): The French left-back didn't enjoy as much running forward as he is accustomed, but jumped highest throughout to win headers, and handled the ball sufficiently on United's left side, despite Lahm having a good game opposite him.

Park (5.5): Ahead of Evra, Park was assigned to harry Lahm, who beat him on different occasions. As expected, Ji Sung was mediocre on offense, controlling poorly, and generally being aimless going forward.

Fletcher (8) : Pin-balled across the pitch with vigor. Made United's best forward runs and tackled throughout. Never runs out of energy. Put everyone else in white to shame. Not helped by Ferguson's employment of him most forward of the central triangle. But it's to United's detriment, not Fletcher's, because he is outstanding wherever he plays this season.

Carrick (4): Pranced across the pitch unknowingly. Tentative in the tackle and the pass. Weak across every attribute. Carrick will be glad to one day to be completely anonymous.

Scholes (6): Some genuinely brilliant long-balls, but Scholesy was a little careless with his close control at times. It's reckless of Ferguson to employ him at the tip of a backwards triangle. Scholes should be the forward tip of such a shape with Fletcher and ideally Hagreaves anchoring. United conceded 60/40 possession today.

Nani (5.5): Started well for 15 minutes. Nani then decided to dive at every opportunity. His attacking play took on the same sentiment, as he elaborated at nearly every turn. Faded fast. Naive footballer.

Rooney (4.5): Apparently Rooney left his world-class touch on past headlines today. His holding play was poor, full stop. He created virtually nothing and turned the ball over many times. He was unmarked for his five-yard tap-in when Demachalis slipped after two minutes. He missed a sitter when United needed anything to relieve the pressure. One of his worst footballing displays this season which have otherwise been very positive. He limped off at the death and will likely miss several forthcoming matches during United's title run-in.

Ferguson's tactics today were pedestrian and United paid for it. Valencia should have started instead of Nani to further suppress Ribery. Carrick and Fletcher need to play behind Scholes. Ideally Gibson can feature instead of the lanky Englishman next week for the return leg at Old Trafford, but if Robben is fit, on today's evidence, the English champions will be very challenged to advance.

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