Premier League - Player Ratings: RVP is Manchester United's star man

Alex Chick rates Manchester United’s Premier League title-winning squad over this season's 34 matches so far.

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Premier League - Player Ratings: RVP is Manchester United's star man
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Robin van Persie, Manchester United (Reuters)

Goalkeepers

David De Gea 8/10 -  Still has his critics, but his exceptional shot-stopping more than outweighs  the odd uncertainty with crosses. Has grown in authority since Ferguson made him his undisputed number one.

Anders Lindegaard 6/10 - Competed for the number one shirt early in the season, but the rotation eroded both his and De Gea’s confidence. A competent keeper, but not in De Gea’s class.

Defenders

Patrice Evra 8/10 - The Frenchman emerged from a two-year slump with arguably his best season for United, punctuated by four goals. In an odd way Evra’s resurgence makes back-up left-back Alex Buttner one of the signings of the season.

Jonny Evans 8/10 - Has kept his place in Ferguson’s plans despite the arrivals of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. Always calm under pressure, he is probably the team’s best natural defender after Vidic.

Rio Ferdinand 8/10 - United have managed the 34-year-old’s ailing body expertly to coax a campaign of sustained quality from Ferdinand - resulting, ironically, in that ill-starred England recall.

Phil Jones 6/10 - Another disjointed and injury-hit campaign for the young Englishman. His potential remains undimmed, but until Jones finds his best position and gets a run of games, he is unlikely to fulfil it.

Rafael 7/10 - Scored a screamer against QPR but the most encouraging progress has come at the other end of the pitch. His growing discipline and defensive assurance have made him a regular at right-back. 

Chris Smalling 6/10 - A fine player, but when you’re the fifth-choice centre-back your options are bound to be limited. Smalling has filled in on the right, but must wait until Vidic and Ferdinand exit the stage.

Nemanja Vidic 7/10 - Ferguson’s captain remains a colossus at the back but has had a horrible run of injures which, at 31, raise concerns over his long-term future. Ferdinand’s revival this season offers hope, though.

Midfielders

Anderson 5/10 - The Brazilian continues to frustrate. Flashes of quality are offset by the off-days, while doubts persist over his fitness. At 25, he no longer even has youth on his side.

Michael Carrick 8/10 - Long United’s best midfielder, Carrick finally got recognition this term in the shape of a surprise nomination for PFA Player of the Year. Has held together a ramshackle engine room for much of the season.

Tom Cleverley 7/10 - ‘Tom Cleverley the brand’ has finally arrived as Tom Cleverley the footballer. Given Ferguson’s lack of appetite to buy in a central midfielder, his future looks bright.

Ryan Giggs 6/10 - Contributes through his presence rather than his performances. Some key contributions aside, Giggs’s decline this season has been precipitate, and the end is close even for this ageless warrior.

Shinji Kagawa 6/10 - Kagawa’s hat-trick against Norwich showcased his huge quality, but the Japanese international - who loves playing centrally - has struggled to fit into a system in which he is usually deployed on the flank.

Nani 5/10 - The winger has had an unhappy time after apparently losing Ferguson’s confidence and looks destined for the exit with one year left on his contract. His red card against Real Madrid in Europe was grimly apt.

Paul Scholes 6/10 - Like Giggs, Scholes is a shadow of his former self but he retains an eye for a pass and can exert a steadying influence when ball retention is required. Still, he’ll be allowed to play as long as he wants.

Antonio Valencia 7/10 - A one-trick pony, it’s true, but there are worse tricks than beating your man and crossing right-footed. Rarely a star, but preferred to Nani thanks to his work rate and delivery.

Ashley Young 5/10 - There can be no less popular player with United fans than Young. A left winger who can only use his right foot, whose perceived lack of appetite for battle has not won him many admirers at Old Trafford.

Forwards

Javier Hernandez 7/10 - An unquestionable victim of Robin van Persie’s arrival, Hernandez has only started seven times but still managed eight goals including a vital winner at Chelsea, Although his influence has waned, United are desperate to keep him.

Wayne Rooney 7/10 - Let’s look on the bright side; Rooney now has five league titles to his name. But Van Persie’s arrival - a product of the ‘ambition’ demanded by Rooney - has made the England forward far from indispensable.

Danny Welbeck 6/10 - Has he really only scored one Premier League goal this season? Nevertheless, the forward’s elusive runs can be a nightmare for defenders and have been a useful part of the mix for United.

Robin van Persie 9/10 - United lost the title last season due to weaknesses in midfield and defence. Who responds by spending £25 million on a striker? Ferguson does, and yet again his judgement has proven bang on. A truly exceptional season from a striker whose goals have dug United out of countless holes. Van Persie provided a memorable exclamation mark against Villa.

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