You can imagine how hard I’m going to find it to be even slightly critical of anyone following that result, but having now watched the match again (best thing I’ve ever Sky+’d) without the tension and nerves at the times, I’ve come up with the following. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Casper Ankergren – 8*
This is a tough one because he was beaten. Aside from the moment where Jason Crowe came to his rescue he made some good saves. Was a few nervy moments from corners where he came to clear and missed, but clean sheet so no complaints.
*Decided I agree with the consensus that I was a little hard on Casper and he deserves more than the original 7, so edited to 8. He did slow the shot down from Rooney enabling Crowe to clear and the shots he did save make his efforts worthy of a higher score.

Jason Crowe – 8
From now on, this is how he should play every week. Was beaten once or twice. but hardly surprising giving who he had to compete with and always chased them down. Saved us from an equaliser with a goal-line clearence and worked tirelessly throughout. Best display he’s had in a Leeds shirt for me.

Richard Naylor – 9
As a lifelong Leeds fan, Nayl’s will have needed no motivational talk for this game from Grayson. He put everything on the line, throwing whatever he had in front of whatever Manchester United could muster. Clean sheet at Old Trafford, not many teams get to say that and the partnership of him and Kis is key to that success. Absolutely hounded Rooney throughout.

Patrick Kisnorbo – 9
Fearless, absolutely fearless. Solid as a rock and never sees anything as a lost cause. His work rate is incredible, his desire admirable and the difference he’s made to Leeds United in defence, unbelievable. Haven’t been able to fault him on much all season.

Andrew Hughes – 7
Had the unenviable task of Welbeck followed by Valencia. Dealt pretty well with Welbeck, but when the youngster did break he was simply impossible to catch such is his terrifying pace. Valencia ran him ragged, but Hughes gave everything and played his part in the result.

Jonny Howson – 10
I said in my match report that I felt Jonny had grown from the experience and I simply can’t praise him enough. Like Naylor, he’s homegrown and would have needed no motivation whatsoever. His pass for Beckford’s goal was simply sublime, his closing down was tireless and he never showed any fear or respect to the Premier League champions throughout. Hero in the making.

Neil Kilkenny – 8.5
Got disposessed a few times, but then who didn’t? (and I mean on both teams) Always looked to move forward and create chances, never took his foot off the gas and was there with the tackles when needed. Another solid performance from Killa, making the competition for places in midfield a real battle.

Michael Doyle – 8
What I like about Doyle is that he holds back giving Kilkenny, Johnson and even Howson at times room to push forward. Not afraid of the tackle and certainly showed no fear against any of the Man United players. Battled throughout and had a solid game.

Bradley Johnson – 8
Made Gary Neville look like a pub team player – which, let’s face it, he should be. Probably quite frustrated with the end product at times, but he played a big part in why we were so strong going forward. Good game from Bradley and great to have him back.

Jermaine Beckford – 10
The enigma that is Jermaine Beckford. What can you say about him, he’s answered all his critics in the last few weeks. Weak in the air – scores with a header. Underperforming – scores five in three games. Disappears in big games – runs Manchester United ragged. Could quite easily have been MOTM as he just made a mockery of Wes Brown all day. If that was his last game for Leeds United, it’s not a bad way to end an impressive run at the club and he’ll leave a hero in my eyes.

Luciano Becchio – 8.5
Strong, hard-working, tough tackling and troublesome for Manchester United throughout. Seemed to play closer to midfield than he did striker, but his contribution was nonetheless vital and helped us win the battle in the centre of the park. Never going to be an out and out striker, but his contribution is invaluable to the team.

The subs
Simon Grayson left two of his subs ’til the very end (probably to time waste) so no point rating Michalik or White, but Snoddy came in and made an immediate impact hitting the bar with a beautifully struck free-kick. From there on in, he got stuck in and helped us to secure victory.

  • Namo

    Casper was better than that. He was one of our best players, making save after save. I know he’s not a popular player, but you’re way off with that. Give him credit where it’s due. He made 4 or 5 great saves.

    And you think that Howson and Beckford had perfect games? You must be kidding. Don’t just give them 10 because they created and scored the goal. It’s the easy option and neglects the rest of the game. Barr his pass Howson played no better than the rest of our midfielders, and Beckford wouldn’t be Beckford without going missing for periods of the game.

    • TSS

      I watched the game at Old Trafford and have watched it twice since courtesy of Sky+ and still think Howson was the best player on the pitch. He fought for everything and was integral to the win.

  • hedgehoguk

    i would like to add a rating to this – Simon Grayson 10, his tactics, selection and everything were superb!

    • proudleedsfan

      I’m only young and only really started to understand what Leeds was all about when we came down from the Prem. In all this time, no victory has given me greater pleasure than yesterday’s, and never have I been so proud to be Leeds.

      Simon Grayson – you are my hero and there is no manager in the world I would rather have at the helm right now than you.

      I was at the game yesterday and the atmosphere was incredible!

      And one more thing…

      Jermaine Beckfoooorrrrddd
      scored a f******* great gooooaaaaall
      in the scum s***hooooole
      in the scum s***hooooole

      To the true beginning of a new era in a new decade.

      MOT

  • Henry V

    Wonderful!!
    It was like a dream!!
    Everyone played superbly!! (On our side!!)
    Never seen Fergie so angry, and I have often seen him angry!!
    My nephew was in among the ManU fans and had to bite his lip!
    He said the pies were very poor and not a patch on ours at Elland Road!!
    What a day to be a Leeds fan!!
    A long time coming!!
    I hope we keep Jermaine. We have another big payday at Spurs so come on Ken!!

    Henry.

  • Andy Staddon

    Johnny Howson 10 ?????? Had a good game but come on, it was never a 10/10 performance (bit of bias for a Leeds lad i think)
    Jermaine Beckford 10 ?????? Again, played well and scored the all important goal but never a 10/10 performance
    Andrew Hughes 7 ????? Deserved an 8.5 at least Ran his socks off, got in several crucial tackles and did 2 very cool, very important headers back to Casper

    • TSS

      Haha, I did say I was finding it hard to be objective. Jermaine Beckford scored the winning goal at Old Trafford, couldn’t give him less than 10 for that and Jonny really did impress me that much.

  • Leeds4eva

    I thought Casper was worthy of 9, great saves and distribution, he even handled a couple of crosses ok.

  • Yorkshrman

    Tough on Casper – who showed what a good shot-stopper he is – and on Hughes as well ….. Yes Crowe kicked the ball off the line, but only because Casper got a hand to it first. And he’d been left wide open by the defence on that one …..

    But I don’t think any of the team deserved less than an 8 yesterday ……

    • TSS

      I was tough? ITV gave him a 6. Said I’d found that one hard because he was beaten and Crowe saved us, but agree he played his part in that and did make some excellent saves.

      Hughes had the toughest job on the pitch and was run ragged by Valencia. 7’s a good rating though, it just looks a little weak in comparison to others. I agree he gave everything.

  • Alphie Izzet

    For a wonderful 97 minutes (after all this was a game against the Rags) we were all ‘Leeds’.
    They can all have 10 as far as I am concerned.

    Alphie Izzet (Life long City Season Card Holder :-)

  • LUFC

    Casper deserves more than 7 though, I’m pretty sure that from memory he did get some contact with the Rooney shot, slowing it down enough for Crowe to get back. He made some great saves, one from Wellbeck where he spread himself superbly, and did very well to divert the Rooney volley away.

    Hughes should probably be an 8 as well – first half was slightly patchy, but he had Valencia in his pocket for most of the 2nd half, and the number of times he cut out the crossfield ball was amazing.

    Still, who cares? :)

  • TSS

    Ok, I caved into pressure and changed Casper to 8.

    • LUFC

      Good man. :D

      He deserves it after all the boo-boys complaining every time one of his kicks is slightly dodgy. He’s a natural on the big stage, kept us in it vs Donny for a while.

    • TSS

      I do like Casper. When he first came to Leeds he was a legend with his shot-stopping, but has received critisim for his dodgy kicks and set-plays, which does create some nervy moments.

      As I said to start with, it was a tough one because of Crowe saving him, but he did well otherwise. Made some fantastic saves. MOT

  • Always tricky to allot marks to players and I’m of the opinion that a 10 score should be so rare for ANY player that it’s practicaly unattainable – otherwise you’re saying there is no room for improvement.
    In that case most of our players should be rated in the 7-8 category. Admittedly I only saw the game on Tv (well online on the internet as I’m in the US now) so would not have seen movement and effort off the ball but apart from the goal and a few good moments, I didn’t see anything from Becks to rate a 10 either. Maybe 7.5.
    Anyway, it’s all subjective and maybe I’m cynical because I’ve been spoiled by seeing the Revie team at its height and even O’Leary’s lads too, but this crop of players, although good enough to get us out of this division, are well short of 9’s and 10’s.
    IMHO.

    • Dje

      I think it depends on whether you are giving scores out of ten for skill or for effort. Skill, by and large, is a consistent feature for a player, but effort is far more marginal. I think Andy Hughes is the case here, outclassed in skill (and pace) by Wellbeck and Valencia but utterly faultless in his efforts when pitted against superior players. I don’t think Hughes could have had a better game, even though he struggled more than any other player in our team yesterday.

      I agree that some of our lads yesterday weren’t as skillful as the ones we had under O’Leary (I’m too young to have ever seen anything of the Revie Era), but they were faultless in their effort. If, a decade or so ago, Kewell, Viduka and Co. had redistributed their marks for high skills to those for higher effort, then I don’t think we’d be making such an exception of the lads’ unbelievable result against the scum in the first place. Skillful players not putting in the effort is the capital offense for most fans.

  • Old Billy White

    Everyone contributed to the win, I don’t think I could give anyone a 10 but I think the team as a whole (including the Manager) deserve and rate a 10. Lots of really good performances, but for me the big difference was we were a team who ran and fought for each other. Rooney apart they couldn’t match our effort and desire, and I also think we out played them.

  • Colin

    Even now there are still some Beckford bashers – “not sure he’s worth a 10 etc etc.”
    There were 5 strikers on that pitch – Rooney, Berbatov, Owen, Becchio and Beckford. Rooney and Berbatov = £60m and the international caps gained by Owen, Rooney & Berbatov is massive. Yet only one striker stood out and only one striker did their job, ie. score a goal. That was Beckford.

    So what are the Beckford bashers saying?? Are you saying that internationals like Wes Brown and Kuszczak are useless? Brown has 21 caps for England and Beckford turned him inside out all game long.

    Beckford deserved his 10.

    Sorry to have to bring stats into it but Beckford has scored 35% of Leeds’ league goals and 31% across all competitions.
    Now let’s say Leeds need 40 points from 23 games to win the league, and we let Beckford go (which would please Namo no end as Beckford “goes missing in games”), we’re going to need to get a seriously good striker because there’s absolutely no way Becchio, Grella, Kandol, Enoch etc. can step up to match the goals record we have with Beckford in the side.

    Everyone knows Newcastle are in for him – top of the CCC, and Newcastle unlike some Leeds fans know that if he joins them, they’ve got the CCC title and that if he can score against Man Utd at Old Trafford against a defence full of internationals, then he’ll score for them in the Prem next season also.

    It amazes me that there are still some idiotholes who still want to have a pop at Beckford. If he does leave it will be a sad day for Leeds but I’ll laugh my socks off when those same Beckford bashers start moaning instead about Becchio and Grella etc. not scoring enough and how Leeds are not working hard enough, when the results start to dry up.

    If Grayson is a magician, then he’s got one more trick he still needs to pull off and that’s keeping Beckford on the Leeds roster when the transfer window shuts.

    • Colin

      TSS – just to say, good articles as always. I don’t always agree with your views, but you manage a great forum for discussion on all things LUFC. Keep up the good work.

      Casper was definitely an 8 though : )