Manchester United started their latest FA Cup campaign with a hard-fought victory against Yeovil Town on Sunday and here are five things we learned about the club as a result.
Van Gaal is taking this seriously
A quick look at United’s starting XI for the match told us manager Louis van Gaal is taking this competition far more seriously than the League Cup.
Rather than playing a number of young players and fringe stars, United opted for a very strong line-up that included David de Gea, Radamel Falcao and Wayne Rooney.
In short, it looks like United want to win the FA Cup.
Carrick is vital to this side
Darren Fletcher is an experienced player but he is not Michael Carrick, and the England international’s importance to this United side was laid bare by his absence.
The visitors struggled in the first half and there was little composure in the midfield, something that is rarely said when Carrick is included.
Wilson needs time and confidence
James Wilson may have scored twice on his senior debut but that brace against Hull City now seems a distant memory, with the teenager yet to score in 11 appearances this season.
In time he should prove to be an outstanding option for United but he has a long way to go. He needs to start showing more confidence in the box, with one occasion – when he did not do enough to demand a pass that would have led to a certain goal – showing he is still very much a fledgling.
Herrera deserves more starts
Ander Herrera scored a goal out of nothing that changed the complexion of the match and ultimately led to a victory.
The Spanish midfielder has looked very impressive since he arrived in the summer and while a series of injuries have meant a stop-start campaign up to now, 2015 could be a very big year for the 25-year-old.
The defence remains a worry
United continue to look shaky in defence, with van Gaal’s perseverance with three centre-backs raising eyebrows even now.
When his side reverted to four at the back they looked far more stable and started to boss the game, but before that the likes of Paddy McNair and Chris Smalling looked unsure and better sides will punish them.