Summer signing Marcos Rojo proved his worth for Manchester United, helping the defence stand firm against Southampton.
The Red Devils edged to a 2-1 win, and while they were far from convincing, did enough defensively to allow Robin van Persie's brace to prove decisive.
United up with a back three of Chris Smalling, Paddy McNair and Marcos Rojo, but saw this plan ripped up midway through the first half thanks to an injury to the England international, and McNair being hauled off by manager Louis van Gaal for being a liability.
This saw Jonny Evans come on for Smalling and Carrick move back to replace McNair, while Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia operated at wing backs.
|Match||Won Tackles||Interceptions||Aerial Duels Won||Accurate Crosses||Shots Blocked||Assists||Goals||Total||Mins Played|
|Marcos Rojo||Southampton vs Man Utd||5||7||4||1||1||0||0||18||90|
|Ashley Young||Southampton vs Man Utd||1||4||0||1||0||0||0||6||90|
|Antonio Valencia||Southampton vs Man Utd||3||0||1||0||1||0||0||5||90|
|Jonny Evans||Southampton vs Man Utd||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||72|
|Patrick McNair||Southampton vs Man Utd||0||2||0||0||1||0||0||3||39|
|Michael Carrick||Southampton vs Man Utd||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||90|
|Chris Smalling||Southampton vs Man Utd||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||18|
Rojo's performance was defensively, a cut above his teammates. When looking at key statistics from the contest and adding up the various attributes, he was easily the best performer.
His five tackles won was the best of anybody, as were his seven interceptions, showing his defensive alertness. The Argentine even delivered one more accurate cross than Antonio Valencia.
Jonny Evans' return was another big plus point, and just to see him come through 72 minutes bodes well for the Red Devils, especially if Chris Smalling turns out to be injured for several weeks.