The clash between the two North West sides saw a more confident performance from David De Gea, recovering from a rocky start to his time in between the posts for United. Javier Hernandez made his first start this season and picked up from where he left off with two goals and an impressive performance as he looked bright throughout. Wayne Rooney was a very close contender for me to make Red Flag’s Man of the Match again with another hat-trick.
However the player who really stood out was new boy Phil Jones. Having already impressed in his natural position of centre back he started out of position at right back. The 19 year old immediately looked at home on the right side of the back four and still looked solid with his defensive capabilities when called upon to protect United’s right flank.
Jones has shown he is a solid defender with almost every moment he has been on the pitch for United since his arrival and this match was no different. His ability to keep track of the opposition’s attackers and close them down breaking attacks up regularly has shone through. His stocky build and strength also typifies him as a defender as he easily pushed players off the ball and challenged in the air. His solid defensive performance at right back proved his versatility, giving Alex Ferguson even more options in rotating his squad.
Jones put on a very impressive display at the back however it was not this alone which made him stand out. Jones made significant contributions to the attack, an essential element to playing within United’s free-flowing, attack minded team.
Jones was the architect for United’s second goal and Rooney’s first. He delivered a cleverly whipped cross in behind the Bolton defence, all Rooney had to do was latch on to the end of the cross to poke the ball past Jaaskelainen.
The next goal of the game was also created by Jones as the defender turned attacking midfielder. This was possibly an even more impressive contribution than his cross. This time Jones’ powerful presence surged forward with the ball at his feet in the kind of run you would expect from Rooney. He charged straight through the Bolton defence before skipping past his last defender, cutting inside him with footwork not expected from a centre back. Jones’ unfortunately could not finish his remarkable run with his shot being saved but parried to Rooney who could slot into an open net.
Phil Jones continued to make himself a popular name at Manchester United as he barely put a foot wrong in defence and proved his attacking abilities, seeming even more effective at the other end of the field.