Could do nothing to stop Nani's driven shot but was highly fortunate when a spot of Grobbelaar-esque dribbling in the box went awry and fell to the Portuguese, who could only chip over the bar from the edge of the area.
Selected ahead of Huth, who has been shifted out to the right after the club invested in centre-halves over the summer, and fought fire with fire up against Young by bombing down the flank to support Pennant. Put in an almost suicidal backpass to Begovic when Owen was loitering in the area but then came close to equalising after powering his way into the box and forcing De Gea into a full-stretch stop. Subbed off to a standing ovation after cramping up.
The former Portsmouth man has grown into the left-back slot over time, but still does not entirely convince when up against the best right-sided players in the business and showed Nani and Valencia a little too much respect. Drilled a second-half free-kick through the wall to force an instinctive stop from De Gea.
Put in a last-ditch tackle that had a hint of a foul on Chicharito when the Mexican was through one-on-one, leaving the livewire striker stricken in the area. At fault for Nani's goal, allowing the attacker far too much space to get a shot off, and could have given away a penalty for a trip on Berbatov in the second half.
The former Manchester United prospect looked uncomfortable against pace and trickery, and was caught badly out of position when Nani jinked through the defence to open the scoring. Put on his backside by a spot of Berbatov magic and fortunate that Wilkinson was on hand to clear away. Much improved in the second half, however, making several vital interceptions.
The former West Ham winger showed glimpses of his quality in the first half, and helped his side to play a spot of keep ball to drop the tempo a touch after a frantic start. Wasted a couple of chances to stand up a ball for Crouch and Walters but made amends by putting a corner right on the record signing's head for the equaliser.
Had an early chance to strike when a corner found its way to the former Liverpool man, but he could only shoot into a sea of blue and black shirts. Swapped flanks throughout with Etherington to confuse the out of position Valencia, but frequently misused the ball in the final third and frustrated with his tardiness in getting back into position on a couple of occasions. His pace, however, at least stretched United's defence. Taken off for Jerome.
Went into the book early with a late challenge on Evra that left the Frenchman sprawling. Always looking up to play the ball and tried to support the strikers with the odd burst forward, but perhaps left Delap a little too exposed on the break as Fletcher and Anderson were allowed to bring the ball forward more than once.
The indefatigable 35-year-old again started for Stoke, keeping out summer signing Palacios, and showed his worth by acrobatically clearing a cross before it could reach the open man at the far post. Replaced by Whitehead in the second half.
The club record signing got a few important touches around the area but looked ill at ease with balls flung towards him to attack in the first half. He made up for it, however, by getting his first goal for his new team with a cracking header, only to then be stopped by De Gea one-on-one minutes later. Also failed with a header at the back stick from another inviting corner, and after chesting the ball and brushing off Valencia for a volley.
The striker looked to have levelled the score prior to the break with a turn and shot that appeared for all the world as if it was flying into the far corner before De Gea got a hand to it. Then delivered what looked like a perfect cross for Crouch, but his partner could not plant his feet in time to get a touch on it with the goal at his mercy. Typically tireless running from the Scouser, but he and Crouch allowed Jones to carry the ball forward a little too easily.
The champions' hero. Flapped at his first Delap throw but grew in stature throughout, producing a fine fingertip save from a close-range Wilkinson drive and then a superb stop at full stretch from Walters. Showed his bravery with an instinctive block to stop Crouch from adding a second after he equalised from close range with a header the Spaniard had no hope of catching.
The left-back, and captain on the day, took a nasty hit from Whelan early on and fought back with a bit of nastiness of his own by clattering into Pennant. Tidy and effective stuff in the main from the Frenchman.
United's most experienced defender returned to marshal the backline, and used his nous to frustrate Crouch in open play.
The summer signing continues to impress on the front foot for United, with an early run seeing him beat three defenders before winning a corner, and looked secure at the back alongside Ferdinand.
Not the most explosive in the first 45 minutes, where the former Aston Villa man failed to expose Wilkinson, and failed to get beyond his man too often in the second. Taken off for Giggs.
Played at right-back after Evans pulled up in the warm-up, but the tireless touchline-hugging winger looked comfortable for the most part, even when isolated by Crouch.
A reasonably quiet but effective performance from the Brazilian.
Showed no lingering signs of the stomach affliction that ruled him out for almost half a year, and showed real skill in flicking to Nani for the Portuguese to burst into the box and give United the lead. Looked back to his no-nonsense best.
Turned nothing into something with a sharp run and finish to expose some slack defending. Always looked a threat on the ball, and often produced a moment of magic to find himself an extra yard of space.
Brought down by Woodgate with his first touch of the game in the area, forcing the Mexican off for Owen.
Making his first league start of the season, the Bulgarian showed his class with a silky bit of skill in the box that had Shawcross on his backside, but failed to get a shot away and was quiet thereafter before being replaced by Welbeck.
- 34 A. Lindegaard
- 20 Fábio
- 13 Ji-Sung Park
Introduced for Young and added a bit more guile than the Englishman down the left, but spurned a chance to win it at the death.
- F. Macheda
Thrown on early after Chicharito was forced off injured, the ex-Liverpool striker never quite clicked with Berbatov and never got beyond Shawcross or Woodgate. Frustration summed up when a late offside shot was blocked by the legs of Begovic.
Came on for Berbatov but was given little service.