Manchester United won 4-0 against Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, so what did the game tell us about Louis van Gaal's side?
Manchester United overcame Queens Park Rangers on Sunday in what was their best performance not just of this season, but for quite some time.
With a host of new faces in the squad, Louis van Gaal’s side looked energetic and attack-minded, and ultimately won courtesy of goals from Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata.
Here we discuss five things we learned about United from the match:
Di Maria worth every penny
When Angel Di Maria arrived for a club-record £59.7million in the summer, many questioned the need for another attacking player when United were so top-heavy. Surely it was in midfield and defence that the club needed strengthening, not with the headline signing of the Argentine international.
Well, the former Real Madrid player is already proving just how important he is going to be to this United side. The club have lacked pace and directness for far too long, and Di Maria possesses both those attributes in abundance. Now the club can counter-attack again, with an effectiveness not seen since the days of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Blind could be the unheralded master-stroke
Daley Blind made his debut for United yesterday, a fact that could be forgotten given the excitement of the score-line and the sight of Radamel Falcao making his first Old Trafford appearance. But the Netherlands international slotted in perfectly and looked like he had been playing at the club for years.
While the likes of Arturo Vidal and Kevin Strootman continue to be linked, Blind’s arrival means United’s midfield no longer looks lightweight.
Herrera is finding his feet…and they are magic
Speaking of the midfield, Ander Herrera was majestic against QPR, scoring one, setting up another and looking confident throughout. The Spaniard had a league debut to forget against Swansea City but on his return to Old Trafford he looked a different player.
With Blind playing just behind him, Herrera has the security to move forward and dictate the play with his fine array of passing.
Van Persie beginning to look like the odd man out
Numerous possible formations were doing the rounds before Sunday’s match, as people attempted to second-guess van Gaal and settle on the side that would take to the field. With so many attacking options, how would the Dutchman do it?
Well against QPR he opted to start with Falcao on the bench, playing Rooney and Robin van Persie up front with Mata in behind. It worked a treat, with two of the three getting on the score-sheet, but van Persie is beginning to look like the player most at risk of losing his place.
Yet to score this season, he will know the presence of Falcao is the biggest threat to a regular starting-spot at United.
There is still work to do at the back
Yes United won 4-0, but they could so easily have conceded an equaliser after some woeful defending from Jonny Evans and David de Gea. Marcos Rojo looked impressive and certainly adds some steel to the back-line, but Tyler Blackett is still learning and against better opposition United will concede.
They may go on to score more than they let in, but van Gaal will want to work on his back-line in the games to come…possibly sticking to the four at the back that saw United keep their first clean-sheet of the campaign.