Date: 16th December 2012 at 2:37am
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Rooney celebrates with Cleverley in the win over Sunderland: Had a relatively quiet afternoon until the game got into it’s later stages, so will be disappointed to have conceded. Shot stopping is as good as ever and made a good save to spare Ferdinand’s blushes as well as saving with his legs to deny Wickham. 7

: Getting forward was as impressive as ever and had the better of Adam Johnson too. Has shown an increased goal threat this season and had a few sniffs of goal today as well. He and Young continue to impress as they link up on the left flank. 7

: Seems like the defender has a mistake in him these days, and today it almost proved costly as he allowed James McClean clean through after being pickpocketed. Whilst his age is working against him, he is still able to operate competently enough. 6.5

: Paired with Ferdinand in Evans’ absence and again showed why he is held in such high regard. Shackled Steven Fletcher refusing to give the striker space but like the rest of the defence was culpable for Campbell’s goal. 7.5

Phil : Stepped in at right back for the injured Rafael and did his best impression of the Brazilian getting forward, although his end productive was slightly off at times. In his first Premier League start of the season Jones did well to neutralise the threat of James McClean and continues to shake off the rust having spent months on the sidelines. 7

Michael Carrick: Was able to show off a bit more of his offensive game as Sunderland offered very little in the middle of the park. His slick interchange with Cleverley for United’s second was the highlight of a game cut short at 45 minutes. 6

: Got his 3rd goal of the season, a cooly struck finish after some good play with Michael Carrick. Whilst Sunderland weren’t the strongest opposition, it is performances like these that show what Cleverley can offer to the team as he proved to be the spark going forward on various¬†occasions. 7.5

Ashley Young: Continues to improve after coming in for some stick (from me as well as others) this season. Gave Cuellar fits today and he embarrassed the defender down the flank for United first. Continually got involved as United exerted their dominance over Sunderland and played his part as Rooney mised an early chance. 8

Antonio Valencia: Started the game well but seemed to fade out as the game went on. Should have done better against a defender of Jack Colback’s quality but is returning from an injury so it is understandable. 7

: Pulled the string for United again today and whilst he was guilty of missing two clear chances, heading and volleying off target, he got his name on the scoresheet after Van Persie found him with a cross. Is United’s most influential player and the longer he floats around in that withdrawn role and controls United’s attacking play, the better. 8

: The striker can sometimes incorrectly be painted as just a goalscorer, but he has so much more to his game and works extremely hard for the team. A sublime finish for United’s opener and laid on a third for Rooney as United went to town. The striker has long proved himself worth the reported ¬£24m Sir Alex spent to bring him to Old Trafford in the summer, and his goals and overall contribution will go some way helping United regain their Premier League crown. 8

Subs

: Came on for Michael Carrick at half time and exercised his usual control over the game. As Sunderland came to life a more physical approach almost threw him out of his stride. 6

Nemanja Vidic: His long awaited return was greeted with a roar and as Sunderland rallied late on to try and get something from the game, he and Smalling combined to keep them at bay. The road back to ‘Super Vidic’ will be a long one, but having regular Vidic is as big a boost as a team could wish for. 6

: Came on with 15 minutes to go and helped United maintain their lead even if he had no real impact on the game’s outcome. 5.5