Rafael had a poor game, but was due one, and Fletcher was a disappointment. For now, Carrick gets my nod for the anchor role, although I believe Jones could prove the better bet: a strong tackler, good in the air, comfortable on the ball and a powerful runner. He could provide the muscular midfield bite we have lacked for too long, and it would be very interesting to see him anchoring behind Cleverley and Anderson. Buttner looks a long way off, but competes well and looks good going forward. If he can improve his defensive play he could make it, although probably only as a back up.
The young players coped admirably with an intimidaing atmosphere and a way too lenient ref, who allowed one particular idiot to commit foul after foul.
Powell was the biggest plus for me, and shows great promise and temperament. He wasn't fazed at this level, showed some nice touches and got stuck in. He should be given plenty of substitue oppotunities this season, and I can see him making a big impression in the next couple of years.
The only downside for me is the likeliness of the geriatrics returning on Saturday!
Paul, Whalley Range