Watch out Premier League – Wayne Rooney is back to his best…
David De Gea – 6
Virtually a spectator for the first half – De Gea did everything expected of him without causing his defence any reasons for concern. Not at fault for the first goal, and held on brilliantly to a shot from Lars Bender. Failed to deal with Leverkusen’s second from a corner though, and won’t get away with that kind of mistake against tougher opposition.
Chris Smalling – 6
The England man did pretty well up the right flank, and supported Antonio Valencia whenever needed. Smalling does not provide the attacking outlet Rafael does, but is arguably more suitable for Champions League nights where United don’t need to take any risks.
Rio Ferdinand – 6
Relatively untroubled on a smooth night for United, although will be disappointed to see his side concede twice. Ferdinand did everything asked of him alongside his traditional defensive partner, and had goal-hungry striker Stefan Kiebling in his pocket all night.
Nemanja Vidic – 7
Dealt with everything the Germans delivered into the box (which wasn’t very much) with consummate ease. The partnership with Ferdinand, despite their age, is still one of the very best in Europe – although United shouldn’t be conceding twice in a match they dominated so much.
Patrice Evra – 7
The ultra-experienced left-back was his combative self at left-back, regularly overlapping Kagawa, and snapping away at German midfielders and wingers from start to finish.
Michael Carrick – 7
As always, Carrick performed his duties as United’s midfield metronome well. He seems to enjoy playing alongside Fellaini, who does more of the running while the Englishman picks up the ball from deep and spreads play. Job done.
Marouane Fellaini – 8
Playing in a completely different role for Manchester United, in a deep-lying midfielder position alongside Carrick. He did brilliantly, using his brute force and physicality to intercept and disrupt play, but also dictate play with telling passes. Already looking like a top signing.
Antonio Valencia – 9
As ever, was a dynamic threat from the right, and is quickly establishing himself as one of David Moyes favourites. Runs dynamically at fullbacks, but always tracks back and helps out his defenders, too. Made two quality runs in the first half, before helping United slow down the tempo of the game late on. Fouled the keeper for United’s first goal, but he can’t be blamed if they missed it. Scored a beautiful goal on the counter-attack to cap off a great night for United.
Shinji Kagawa – 7
Finally given an opportunity by David Moyes, and he didn’t do his chances of starting the Manchester derby at the weekend any harm. Showed some fantastic pieces of skill out on the left – although he experienced quiet patches out there, where he was unable to influence the game. Was a creative force whenever he drifted infield, though.
Wayne Rooney – 10 – Man of the match
The Englishman should carry on playing with that ridiculous headband. In the first-half, the 27-year-old looked back to his very best – dropping deep to spread the play brilliantly, but also driving at fullbacks with penetration. His touch was absolutely perfect – and he took his goal very well (although it should definitely have been disallowed). Had a nightmare early in the second when he didn’t square to Van Persie who would have had an open goal, but added a second with a typically cool finish. Assisted Valencia’s last fantastically, too.
Robin Van Persie – 7
Was actually lucky not to be sent off for squaring up the referee in the first half, and was outshone by his strike partner in the first-half. But less tan five minutes after Leverkusen equalised, the Dutchman volleyed home beautifully from a Valencia cross – although the keeper should have saved it. Missed an open goal at the end, too!