Last season this would have been a tough one, with so many players under par.
And this season it would have been easy for us to roll out one of the Manchester United players who we have persistently criticised in the last year.
But, such has been the effect of Louis van Gaal’s introduction as Manchester United manager that previously poor players have been doing brilliantly. Ashley Young is a great example. He’s been shocking for Manchester United over the last three years but has had a new lease of life as a wingback under the Dutchman.
Young has never really had the quality to be a Manchester United winger and is far better deployed further back in the formation where his athleticism and tenacity can be best used to good effect in the absence of Luke Shaw.
Marouane Fellaini too is like a new man. Still painfully clumsy at times but his influence and confidence has grown under Louis. Fellaini has been important for Manchester United in the last 20 minutes of games, where he seems to thrive – or at least he seems to start winning the ball instead of giving it away.
But, for our money, the worst offender by far this season has been Jonny Evans. So much was expected from him after the departures of Rio and Nemanja. He was supposed to be the experienced pillar of strength around which United could build a new defensive unit.
Evans has been unlucky with injurious of course. But he’s been awful virtually every time he’s been on the pitch since precession began – almost as if he’s been blindfolded and spun around repeatedly before entering the pitch.
When he began his career at Manchester United we liked him. Then he had a couple of bad seasons – we are thinking about the period of the 6-1 home defeat to City – but recovered and looked as if he could be the natural successor to the peerless Rio.
He still has that chance at just 26. But LvG is not known for his patience and it must be wearing thin with Evans. The unforced errors, the lack of composure and the general grogginess of his play has been very worrying.
Evans has everything to prove at this point. He doesn’t fall into the Young and Fellaini category of ‘simply not good enough’. Evans has real quality and talent but needs to show it now that he’s fit. Or else he could soon find himself in exile at Sunderland. And if that’s not a good motivator then we don’t know what is.
Manchester United fans: who is your choice for worst performer so far?
Note: Anderson doesn’t count!