Player Ratings: Manchester United 1-1 Middlesbrough (7-8 Penalties)

Manchester United crashed out of the FA Cup in the 4th round at home to Middlesbrough 7-8 on penalties. Despite taking a 25th minute lead through Jadon Sancho, United missed some important chances, including a first-half penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo. Chris Wilder’s Middlesbrough side scored a controversial equaliser in the second half, after the ball struck Duncan Watmore’s hand in the build-up to the goal.

Ultimately, Ralf Rangnick’s United side lost on penalties, to make it seven losses out of the last eight shootouts in all knockout competitions.

Goalkeeper

Dean Henderson – 5/10

Dean Henderson made only his third appearance of the season tonight at Old Trafford. He didn’t have much to do in the first half but was called into action in the second after he was forced into a good save up to his left. There wasn’t a great deal he could’ve done for Middlesbrough’s goal.

Defenders

Diogo Dalot – 6/10

Portuguese right-back Diogo Dalot kept his place in the starting line-up, despite Aaron Wan-Bissaka returning to full fitness. It was a solid showing from Dalot, who once again looked good defensively, although he couldn’t chalk up an assist this evening.  

Raphael Varane – 7/10

United’s centre back pairing both had a really good game again, and Raphael Varane made it look easy at times tonight. Varane won all his headers, and made three interceptions, particularly an important one in the second half. The Frenchman was subbed off for Phil Jones ahead of extra time.

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Harry Maguire – 7/10

United captain Harry Maguire backed up his impressive performance against West Ham United a couple of weeks ago with another solid outing. Like Varane, he was also dominant in the air, winning 80% of his headers. He also scored a good penalty in the shootout. Maguire is a player who seems to be rediscovering his best form.

Luke Shaw – 6/10

Luke Shaw was back in the side for the first time since round three and, like Dalot, put in a decent performance at full-back. He made some important tackles, and put some decent crosses into the box, although nothing came of them. Shaw will no doubt be looking to claim the left-back spot once again as the fixtures come thick and fast.

Midfielders

Scott McTominay – 6/10

Scott McTominay was given the role of the lone number six today, and did a decent job, at times having the license to attack, especially in the first half. McTominay’s performances before the winter break were excellent, and whilst he didn’t necessarily hit the same vein of form tonight, he still put in a solid shift for United in midfield.

Paul Pogba – 6.5/10

After several months out with an injury, Paul Pogba finally made his return to action at Old Trafford. The Frenchman put on an impressive showing in the first half, winning the penalty which Ronaldo missed. He also played some excellent passes. Pogba was subbed off after 82 minutes for Fred, which was unsurprising considering he hasn’t played for several months.

Bruno Fernandes – 6/10

Bruno Fernandes was great in the first half, creating some important chances, before eventually assisting Sancho in the 25th minute. Fernandes, however, missed some big opportunities, including one in the second half where he hit the post, after having an open goal to aim at. He scored his penalty in the shootout, but he was one player who could have killed the game off before it got to that stage.

Forwards

Jadon Sancho – 7.5/10

Jadon Sancho scored his first Old Trafford goal to give United a first half lead. Whilst a deflection took it past the Middlesbrough goalkeeper and into the back of the net, it was still a good bit of work from Sancho to get into a goal-scoring position. He looked dangerous throughout the rest of the evening but had to be taken off for Juan Mata in extra time, after suffering an apparent injury.

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Cristiano Ronaldo – 4.5/10

Tonight’s game was not the most memorable in Cristiano Ronaldo’s career. So often the man for the big occasion, he dragged his first half penalty wide of the post, as well as missing some other chances you would expect him to score. Although he scored in the shootout, Ronaldo, like Fernandes, could’ve won United the game long before penalties were necessary.

Marcus Rashford – 5.5/10

After his last-gasp winner against West Ham almost two weeks ago, Marcus Rashford returned to the starting 11, on what turned out to be a frustrating evening for the England international. Whilst he had some good moments in the first half, nothing seemed to go his way in the second, and he was eventually substituted for Anthony Elanga.

Substitutes

Fred – 5/10

After returning to England following international duty with Brazil during the break, Fred was only named as a substitute at Old Trafford. He came on for Pogba late in the second half but struggled to make much of an impact.

Anthony Elanga – 5/10

Anthony Elanga replaced Rashford in the 82nd minute, and whilst he showed flashes of what he can do, there was not much opportunity to run at Middlesbrough’s defence or get a clear shot off. Although he missed the penalty which sent United out, Elanga cannot at all be blamed for United’s fourth round exit, because the game should have been wrapped up way before it reached a shootout.

Phil Jones – 5/10

Brought on for Varane after full-time, Phil Jones did not have the opportunity to contribute much, although, on the whole, he looked defensively solid.

Juan Mata – 5/10

Juan Mata was Sancho’s replacement in extra time, although there was not a great deal that he could contribute in what was a largely uninspiring extra time. Mata did, however, score his penalty in the shootout.  

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