|1||Van der Sar|
Edwin van der Sar – Fully deserved his seventh clean sheet in eight games. Made a great diving save from Ricardo Fuller in the second half but equally important was the way he swept up at the back and repelled set-pieces, Delap throw-ins included.
Gary Neville – One of United’s best players, not only when doing his ‘day job’ at the back but also when joining the attack. He created the best chance in the first half – Rooney’s header – and helped tee up Tevez’s winner, both with balls from the right.
Jonny Evans – Called into the starting line-up as a late replacement for Rio Ferdinand. After an early lapse gave Fuller a chance, he settled in for an assured display. Not even a yellow card for clattering Richard Cresswell could put him off his game.
Nemanja Vidic – With Rio out, Vida shouldered the lion’s share of responsibility and dealt admirably with the physical threats of Cresswell and Fuller. A great tackle on the latter, at the edge of United’s box late on, summed up a solid performance.
John O’Shea - Filling in for the suspended Patrice Evra at left-back, United’s Mr Versatile played his part in another miserly display by the defence. He made way for Dimitar Berbatov when Sir Alex made his match-winning substitution.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Ugly games like this don’t favour the flair players but Ronny still rolled up his sleeves to aid United’s cause. He also contributed to Stoke’s downfall by drawing the red-card foul from Andy Wilkinson.
Paul Scholes – If anyone can orchestrate play when space and time are at a premium, then Paul’s the man to do it. He almost marked his first