Sunderland vs Man United Player Ratings

An own-goal from Titus Bramble was enough to hand Manchester United all three points with a 1-0 win over Sunderland on Sunday.

O'Shea towers over Valencia...

By FOX Sports staff

In a dour game at the Stadium of Light that saw both sides struggle to create any real openings, the contest was settled in the 27th minute when a Robin van Persie shot deflected off both Phil Bardsley and Bramble before nestling in the back of the net.

However, Sunderland came back strongly in the second half but were largely unable to test opposition goalkeeper David de Gea, as the Red Devils held out to move one step closer to the title.

Sunderland

Simon Mignolet - 7.5

Mignolet was not exactly troubled by United but he did do well on the few occasions he was called into action.

Unfortunately, he could do little to keep out Bramble's own-goal, which ultimately cost his side what might have been a valuable draw.

Phil Bardsley (off 79') - 4

The ex-United man had an awful game against his former club and was run ragged by Young throughout the 90 minutes.

He was regularly caught out of position and seemed determined to score against his former employers, which meant he left plenty of gaps at the back due to his needless forays forward.

Titus Bramble - 6.5

Although he scored the own-goal that proved to be the visitors' winner, Bramble had a decent enough game and didn't make any real errors of note.

John O'Shea - 7

O'Shea had a shaky start but came back strongly as the game wore on and did well to nullify the threat of Van Persie.

The Republic of Ireland international led by example throughout the 90 minutes and will be disappointed too little of his charges followed his lead.

Danny Rose (off 85') - 8

Rose is currently regarded as one of England's brightest prospects and based on Saturday's display, it won't be long before he established himself as the first-choice left-back at his parent club Tottenham.

The 22-year-old matched Antonio Valencia for pace and speed and read the play well, making a number of vital interceptions to block what could have been dangerous crosses.

James McClean - 5

McClean has really struggled to live up to the lofty standards he set last season, and was a disappointment again against United.

He tried to be too clever on far too many occasions and was easily kept quiet by Rafael and Chris Smalling.

Craig Gardner - 7

The Black Cats utility was deployed in the heart of midfield on Saturday and deserves praise for his unwavering spirit.

His tireless running, especially in the second half, meant his team-mates always had an option as they looked to build in the middle of the park.

Alfred N'Diaye - 7.5

The well-built midfielder gave United real problems with his strength and direct running ,and resembled Real Madrid man Michael Essien in his prime.

Although N'Diaye's distribution was untidy at times, Sunderland are going to need more of his energy if they are to avoid relegation.

Adam Johnson (off 76') - 4.5

Like McClean, Johnson was extremely disappointing and was virtually anonymous down the wings.

But unlike his counterpart, the ex-Manchester City man did not even appear to try and was wasteful with the few crosses he sent into the box.

Stephane Sessegnon - 6

Sessegnon started the game brightly but gradually faded and looked indecisive at moments when he could have carved open the opposition defence with a telling pass.

Danny Graham - 6.5

The Englishman failed to get into any real scoring opportunities but he never stopped trying despite coming up against the might of Nemanja Vidic.

Still, with Steven Fletcher out for the rest of the season, the Black Cats are going to need him to deliver the goals.

Subs

Connor Wickham (on 76') - 6

Wickham was brought on late in the game and did well to hold up the ball in the final third, although his touch let him down at times.

Sebastian Larsson (on 79') - N/A

Larsson got straight into the heart of things after coming on but didn't have enough time to make an impact.

Jack Colback (on 85') - N/A

Colback was brought on with five minutes to go and his only notable contribution was a deep cross from the left which was easily gathered by De Gea.

Man United

David de Gea - 7.5

The young Spaniard is really starting to find his feet at Old Trafford and it's been a long time since he's been the culprit of a United defeat.

Once susceptible in the air, De Gea now looks more confident when dealing with crosses, as he showed on a number of occasions on Saturday.

Rafael (off 32') - 7

It was disappointing to see Rafael limp off with an injury after the half-hour mark as he had been United's best performer at that point.

Chris Smalling - 7

Smalling had a nervy start playing in the heart of defence but looked much more composed when shifted to the right following Rafael's departure.

Right-back could yet prove to be his long-term position at United.

Nemanja Vidic - 8

United fans must have been crossing their fingers after just two minutes when Vidic held his back in agony after making a routine clearance.

But thankfully for them, he ran off the potential injury and was his usual immovable presence at the back as he headed clear anything that came his way.

Alexander Buttner - 8.5

Buttner looked extremely raw when he made his United debut against Wigan last year and hasn't had too many chances to impress.

But based on Saturday's display, it looks as though he could be a good prospect for the future as he not only defended well, but bombed forward to good effect.

Antonio Valencia - 4

Like he has been all season long, Valencia was extremely disappointing as he struggled to beat his direct opponent, something he never had any problems with.

Michael Carrick - 6

Carrick has been excellent all season long but he looked a bit untidy on Saturday as he failed to have the usual creative influence he normally has.

In his defence, he has been a key player for the Red Devils all season long and is likely to be suffering from fatigue.

Anderson (off 84') - 8

On the other hand, Anderson was brilliant as he dictated the tempo for the visitors and had the opposition midfielders chasing his shadow all afternoon long.

The Brazilian was also not afraid to show off his full range of passing and dissected the hosts' defence on a number of occasions with some brilliant passes.

Ashley Young - 5

Young saw plenty of the ball on Saturday but his delivery into the box was woeful.

Like Valencia, it just hasn't been his season.

Shinji Kagawa (off 79') - 7

The Japan international showed glimpses of quality as he linked up midfield with attack well, and looked comfortable on the ball in several tight situations.

Robin van Persie - 7

Van Persie's woes in front of goal continued on Saturday and he wasted an excellent chance to make it 2-0 right at the death when he blasted straight at Mignolet in a one-on-one situation.

Still, he tried hard all afternoon and made several good off-the-ball runs that regularly provided space to his team-mates.

Subs

Jonny Evans (on 32') - 6.5

Evans was thrown into the fray after an injury to Rafael but was his usual composed self, although he was rarely troubled by the toothless Sunderland attack.

Danny Welbeck (on 79') - N/A

The England international came on with 11 minutes to go and did exactly what his manager asked of him - run down the clock by holding onto the ball in the attacking third.

Tom Cleverley (on 84') - N/A

Cleverley only came on with six minutes to go but he still impressed with the way he dictated the tempo in the closing stages of the match.



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