United's 2-1 home loss to Spurs ended their recent run of improved form, and led us back to some significant issues.
Here are five things we learned...
They were lacking that killer ball to create chances during a strong opening period
In the opening ten minutes or so United looked as if they would go on and really punish Tottenham in this game. Playing with confidence and forcing Spurs players into making mistakes, United looked impressive and it seemed it would just be a matter of time before that first goal would go to the home side. However, what they were really lacking was a killer ball released by midfield, with a lack of real creativity coming from a central area. Aside from a couple of balls over the top, the Reds didn't make such a strong start pay.
United looked a little devoid of ideas after Tottenham's opening goal
There was a complete lack of either passion or considered play following Tottenham's first goal. Adebayor's strike had been coming after several minutes of good Spurs play, and United really lacked the know-how to get back into the game. Ironically, it wasn't until Spurs scored again that the Reds finally realised they had better sort themselves out - and such a lack of direction and leadership will have worried fans.
Evra is a weak point in this United team
David Moyes is being linked to a new left-back every week, and despite the odd decent performance, games like this show just why. Aaron Lennon gave Patrice Evra the runaround last night, using his pace to hurt the veteran French defender, and consequently, the United defence. That left side of defence was a constant opportunity to attack, and unlike on the other side, there are no decent alternatives to Evra.
Surely David Moyes has to buy big for a centre midfielder now the transfer market is open again
That the Scot removed both his midfielders over the course of the match shows how disappointed he was with them. Michael Carrick is just returning from injury and is the most likely player to be in with a shot of retaining his place in the team, but Tom Cleverley again struggled, and it was telling that United's best midfielder was probably Wayne Rooney, despite playing the entire game up-front.
Januzaj may be the new Bale - in more ways than one
Adnan Januzaj displayed the odd flash of good play throughout the match, and at 18 it is pretty easy to see that he is going to grow into a really outstanding attacking midfielder. However, like the last world class winger to have emerged from England, Januzaj's reputation as a diver is beginning to precede him. Gareth Bale received four yellow cards last year, more than any other player, and Januzaj has already received three this term. Of course, United won't mind if he turns into half the player Bale did, but it is a problem that needs looking at while he is still developing.
image: © nasmac