Michael Carrick made his first start in a Manchester United shirt since May in the club's 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, showing just how much the side has missed his assurance in the midfield with an impressive display.
It’s been a long four months since he damaged ankle ligaments during Louis van Gaal's very first week in charge, and this win provided the perfect platform for his highly anticipated return to the United starting line-up.
Considering this was Carrick’s first start of the season, the central midfielder produced a fine display in the middle of the park. He did a magnificent job acting as a link between defence and attack, as the statistics suggest.
|Michael Carrick||MF||Man Utd||90|
On his return, the England midfielder's positivity in possession will have been a big plus for Louis van Gaal. Eager to dictate proceedings he accumulated an impressive 119 touches. Meanwhile, his passing was typically crisp and accurate - he completed 89% of his 107 attempts to find a team-mate; a match-day best for the Premier League.
He had a steady game covering the defence - largely due to Crystal Palace's inability to pose a threat - as he gave the Red Devils' inexperienced back four plenty of protection. He weighed in with four tackles, one interceptions and four clearances, while blocking two Palace attempts at goal.
|Tackles Won||Challenges Lost||Interceptions||Clearances||Blocks||Headers Won|
Carrick was told to do what he does best, and he did so with aplomb. Sitting in front of the back-four, he offered maximum protection against counter-attacks, while controlling his side’s play. Louis van Gaal will have been delighted with the veteran's performance.