With this international break presenting the last chance to breathe and gain some perspective over the season so far, now is as opportune a moment as any to rate Manchester United’s players on their performance so far this season. Ratings are on a scale of 10, and only those players to have made at least five appearances have been given a rating. With that in mind, here’s how the United squad has fared so far this season –
David De Gea (Appearances: 37| Rating: 9/10)
The Spaniard has once again been on the top of his game this season, with his 15 clean sheets in the league so far making him the frontrunner for the Golden Glove. De Gea has made crucial saves in big games, most notably against Liverpool, and the record-breaking 14 save performance against Arsenal, and his form is again crucial to how United finish the season.
Sergio Romero (Appearances: 9| Rating 8/10)
Romero has been an able deputy, playing well enough whenever called upon. He has kept clean sheets in all four rounds of the FA Cup so far this season, and with that competition now the only chance of a trophy for United in this campaign, he must maintain those performance levels if the Red Devils are to win.
Antonio Valencia (Appearances: 31| Rating: 8/10)
United’s de-facto captain in the absence of Michael Carrick this season, Valencia has had a solid, but unspectacular campaign so far. He has scored a couple of superb goals, but has generally failed to contribute to United’s attacking play. Defensively, however, he has been rock-solid.
Matteo Darmian (Appearances: 13| Rating: 6/10)
Valencia’s dependability and Ashley Young’s resurgence have meant that the Italian is not even second-choice right-back anymore. Darmian has failed to impress in his limited opportunities, and looks to be on his way out this summer.
Chris Smalling (Appearances: 37| Rating: 7/10)
Has been almost ever-present at the back, owing to a combination of Bailly and Jones’ injury problems and Lindelof’s inability to settle. Smalling has had a truly average campaign, mixing dominant performances with sub-standard ones, and has worryingly been unable to put a consistent run of form together.
Victor Lindelof (Appearances: 21| Rating: 6/10)
Admittedly, this is the Swede’s first season in England; however, United fans will take long to forget his horror show on his league debut against Huddersfield, and while he has shown glimpses of his ball-playing ability, along with a growing sense of composure, Lindelof will need to significantly improve his performances in order to claim a starting spot next season.
Daley Blind (Appearances: 15| Rating: 6/10)
Blind seemed to have Mourinho’s trust early on in the season, as he started all of United’s group stage games in the Champions League, as well as the first couple of league games. However, an inability to impose himself defensively, along with an unfortunate run of injuries, means the Dutchman is another who is now likely to leave in the summer.
Eric Bailly (Appearances: 15| Rating: 8/10)
The best defender at the club, Bailly has been the victim of a horrendous series of injuries, which has limited his appearances this season. The Ivorian has been superb when he has featured, though, and United fans will be hoping he manages to complete the season unscathed.
Luke Shaw (Appearances: 15| Rating: 6/10)
The enduring enigma at the club; Shaw possesses the talent to be United and England’s left-back for the next decade, but a lack of application on his part, and a lack of trust on Mourinho’s part, have led to a stalled career. Shaw has had a few good games when he has featured, but has looked a tad tentative, and while fans will be sad to see him go, it seems unlikely he will be at the club next season.
Phil Jones (Appearances: 21| Rating: 8/10)
This looked like finally being Phil Jones’ season; he started as first-choice centre-back, and put in a series of superb defensive displays. Crucially, he went through a long period without injury too, but was struck down towards the end of 2017. Jones has yet to feature for United in this calendar year, but the hope remains that he regains his performance levels as he does his fitness.
Ashley Young (Appearances: 29| Rating: 8/10)
The story of the season for United, Young has gone from backup winger to first-choice left-back in a matter of months. Has been generally superb defensively, while providing a decent attacking option, and his shackling of Mohamed Salah was a performance for the ages. In with a shout to start for England at the World Cup this summer.
Marcos Rojo (Appearances: 10| Rating: 7/10)
The Argentine has done well to recover from a cruciate ligament injury, and was starting to feature for the team before this international break. Has done well when called upon, and will probably be further involved towards the season’s close.
Ander Herrera (Appearances: 30| Rating: 6/10)
United’s best player from last season, Herrera has failed to come anywhere close to those performance levels this time around. A lack of regular playing time and niggling injuries have not helped in this regard, but nevertheless, the Spaniard needs to regain focus and improve massively if he is to regain his spot in the team.
Nemanja Matic (Appearances: 41| Rating: 8/10)
The Serbian has been ever-present since his arrival from Chelsea, knitting United’s midfield together and shielding the defence. Matic looked to be tiring towards January, with a significant drop in performance levels, but a recent upsurge has rekindled his campaign.
Scott McTominay (Appearances: 18| Rating: 9/10)
McTominay has come from nowhere to establish himself in United’s first-team. The Scot has been tidy, disciplined and has kept things simple, attributes that have kept Paul Pogba out of the team in recent weeks, and catapulted McTominay to international recognition. The academy graduate has been one of the finds of the season for United.
Paul Pogba (Appearances: 27| Rating: 7/10)
Pogba had a blistering start to the season, registering goals and assists almost every game. An untimely knee injury robbed him of crucial momentum, and the Frenchman has struggled since then. He has been benched recently in favour of McTominay, amidst rumours of a falling-out with Mourinho; however, this is justified to an extent, as Pogba’s performances have been far below what he is capable of.
Juan Mata (Appearances: 35| Rating: 7/10)
Juan Mata has been involved substantially this campaign, and has been quietly effective without being spectacular. Still needs the right kind of players around him to truly thrive, but his eye for a pass and knack for crucial goals have been valuable this season.
Marouane Fellaini (Appearances: 19| Rating: 7/10)
The big Belgian will never completely win over the United fanbase; however, he has his uses and Mourinho has used him intelligently this season, while a lack of flailing elbows have also helped his cause. Has just recently returned from injury, but may leave the club in the summer after failing to agree to a new deal.
Jesse Lingard (Appearances: 38| Rating: 8/10)
Lingard has had a superb season, providing energy and intelligent movement off the ball, and a penchant for scoring important goals on it. His versatility has also helped him play a significant number of games, and having scored his first England goal during the break, Lingard should look to end the season on a strong note to cement his place in the World Cup side.
Alexis Sanchez (Appearances: 10| Rating: 6/10)
The January signing has flattered to deceive so far. Sanchez has provided his usual energy and pressing off the ball, but has failed to integrate with the rest of United’s attack. While this is somewhat understandable for a mid-season arrival, his proven pedigree means that the Chilean will not be afforded too much patience if his performances do not start to improve, although Old Trafford may not see him at his best till next season.
Marcus Rashford (Appearances: 42| Rating: 8/10)
Even though Rashford went on a long scoreless run during the middle of the season, Jose Mourinho kept faith in the youngster, and was rewarded with an eviscerating display against Liverpool. Rashford has suffered in terms of regular game time due to the arrivals of Lukaku and Sanchez, but he almost always provides excitement, whether from the start or off the bench, and United would do well to ensure he plays as much as possible for the remainder of the season.
Anthony Martial (Appearances: 40| Rating: 8/10)
An almost identical season to that of Rashford; Martial has done well whenever he has played, but has suffered for game time due to big-name arrivals. The job-share being carried out on the left by him and Rashford was rudely disrupted by Sanchez’s arrival, but he has looked far more threatening than the Arsenal man, and should deservedly start for United.
Romelu Lukaku (Appearances: 44| Rating: 8/10)
Lukaku has had an effective debut season for United; 25 goals in all competitions is not to be sniffed at, and the Belgian has visibly improved in terms of his all-round attacking play. There is still a lot of improvement that can be made, and his finishing can be erratic at times, but Lukaku has certainly managed to take on the goalscoring burden for United.