Q. When did Ryan Giggs last have a good game in central midfield for Manchester United?
A. April 26 2011 v Schalke, in the Champions League semi-final first leg.
Giggs was excellent that night, breaking the deadlock against an inspired Manuel Neuer, defying his years to pull the strings in the centre of midfield.
Perhaps now in context, it should be noted that in the second leg, Schalke were torn apart at Old Trafford by none other than Darron Gibson, who scored one and provided two assists.
Since then, almost every time Giggs has featured in the centre for United it has not ended well, particularly in 2012, beginning with their opening game of the calendar year away to Newcastle, which was lost 3-0.
On Saturday evening Giggs partnered Carrick in the middle, and United never got going.
Now Giggs did have his moments, there were a couple of delightful floated balls over the top to Van Persie in the first half, which the Dutchman should have at least mustered a shot on goal from, but overall his contribution could not help United breach Norwich's defence.
It should be remembered this is a Norwich backline which conceded five when Liverpool visited Carrow Road.
Giggs is of course not entirely or even mostly to blame, United as a whole were poor, and this isn't about making a scapegoat.
Our assessment that Giggs should no longer be used from the start in central midfield for United has come from watching him several times this year. He isn't displaying the fine form he was in 2011, and United quite simply should have better options.
Ferguson said Anderson is itching for games, and has looked impressive in recent weeks, so why not throw him in from the start?
Tom Cleverley too may have travelled to Sweden with England in midweek, but he should still be starting in midfield rather than Giggs at this point. And why is Giggs ahead of Scholes in the pecking order?
The blame here lies with Ferguson, not for the first time this year he got his team selection wrong. Giggs is a legend at United, but starting him in central midfield should be becoming a last resort, rather than a preferred choice. It's time to look at the here and now and be critical, and forget sentiment for just a moment.
Of course, had United bought another midfielder in the summer like almost every single fan had pleaded with them to do, perhaps Ferguson wouldn't have been playing Giggs in the middle.
Nothing against the Welshman, but if he is selected to play in central midfield in the upcoming Manchester derby later this month, United's chances of victory do not look good.
Giggs in central midfield? Should it ever happen again?
image: © paolo camera