A spell of poor results came to an end for Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, as they comfortably beat Swansea City, the side that knocked them out of the FA Cup last weekend, 2-0.
Below are some observations on the United performance:
Fletcher and Carrick look vastly superior to any other midfield combination United can field
Having dropped Tom Cleverley from central midfield, Moyes was able to pair United stalwarts Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher together for only their second start together under his reign. The pair replied with an effective and much improved midfield performance compared to the recent cup games, and surely resigned Cleverley to the position of back up option. Moyes will be very much hoping he can keep both players fit in what will surely become his first-choice partnership.
Is Januzaj United's best attacking midfielder?
The young Belgian-born player had a fantastic game for the champions, dangerous whenever he got the ball and full of trickery. After missing the FA Cup loss to the Welsh side, Januzaj set up both United goals with some excellent wing play down both the left and right-hand sides. Indeed, the youngster popped up everywhere over the 90 minutes, operating for large stages of the game behind Danny Welbeck who was employed upfront. He also hit the bar with a tremendous free kick and proved that if there is to be success for United after Sir Alex Ferguson, Januzaj will be central to it.
Danny Welbeck looks to have finally come of age
The young Englishman has really hit some form in Van Persie's absence, where he has had the chance to play in a more forward position, and scored his sixth goal in six Premier League games against the Swans. This spell has proved that Welbeck can have much more of an influence in an advanced role than he can playing on the left-wing like he has under Ferguson and for much of the season. For the player to keep up this form, he has to be seen as a centre forward rather than a wide one. Roy Hodgson take note.
This game said a lot about who United can and can't do without
In the first half, when Swansea had their strongest spells in possession and looked dangerous on the break, United would have benefited from a Rooney or Van Persie in the team to hold onto the ball up top and allocate it to teammates with a little more composure. But aside from those two, this match proved that the team selection was as close as Moyes could get to a first choice team. Especially clear is that with Carrick and Fletcher playing, Phil Jones need not be roped into midfield. Ryan Giggs, Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley all showed by their absence that they are not overly missed, and Moyes should now look to adopt a settled team that these other players come into on occasion.
Has Kagawa earned a regular spot in the team?
Shinji Kagawa also impressed in midfield for United. The Japanese star's versatility is both a blessing and a curse, but against Swansea it enabled Moyes to switch him and Januzaj to various different positions without going to the bench. Kagawa played a part in Valencia's goal, heading the ball dangerously across the goal for the Ecuadorian to finish. Kagawa then provided a great cross for Chris Smalling somehow sky over from just a couple of yards out, before then failing to convert after dribbling round Swansea keeper Gerhard Tremmel. All in all it provided real evidence that Kagawa could work especially well alongside Januzaj, though where Wayne Rooney would fit in in that is the key question.
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