Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lamented post match that his side lacked the oomph to get on the scoresheet last night. He rather pointed out that it was a returning Robin van Persie that had the oomph on the night. Notably, it was not the team performance that caught the eye, but rather a couple of individual performances for the champions.
Manchester United have badly missed their Dutch striker, so much so that his opener after 6 minutes had the little boy screaming inside us. It was finally a relief to see United take the lead inside the first 20 minutes at home. The performances at home have been nervy and agricultural, not least because we've not been putting away chances with the ruthlessness with which we did so last term. Having the Dutchman back after 2 months ouy was always likely to improve that stat and so it proved.
The night however did belong to Juan Mata for the simple reason that it was his debut for the club. With the best pass completion rate and an assist to his name on his debut, one can conlude that it went pretty well for him. It was all a teaser though as Moyes resisted the tempetation to play all his fantastic 4 at the same time by having them replace each other. It will be entertaining to see whether that tempetation holds on Saturday at Stoke.
Ashley Young, to be fair, is consistent in whatever he does. He's good at the fall, pretty consistent with terrible performances, but also consistent with the odd piledriver here and there. To put it into perspective, all his goals for us have a striking resemblance. Now that's consistency, or at least inconsistent consistency. His goal last night though is the kind he would have to notch up more regularly to keep his place at the club.
From a personal point of view, the biggest stat of the night was a win. Liverpool have shown a great deal of consistency lately and that means we shall have to match that as we bid to challenge them for the top 4. I blogged in the preview that for starters, we needed 9 out of our next 9. So far, 3 of those are in the bag. It's got to be the name of the game from now on.