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At last this combination got the chance to play together, if only for 25 minutes or so.
Not enough time for us to learn much, except that Van Persie will take corners and set-pieces sometimes. His movement on and off the ball was good, but by the time he came on, Everton had no interest in attacking except when Tim Howard had the ball in his hands and Fellaini was 60 yards away.
Anyone who didn't watch the match would naturally form the opinion that United were poor. They weren't. They dominated possession, passed the ball exceptionally well, but simply couldn't break down Everton's well-drilled defence.
Nani was his usual infuriating self, but everyone else played well. The trouble was that the absence of four centre-backs meant Ferguson couldn't play his desired formation. Carrick had to play centre-back and Antonio Valencia right-back.
The only saving grace was that meant United had nine attacking players on the park (including Patrice Evra).
Paul Scholes did well to last 90 minutes, but he isn't the player he was and was filling in for Michael Carrick.
Carrick, as usual, didn't misplace a single pass, but he was 20 yards deeper than normal and having to stay rooted there as long as Fellaini was around. The Belgian's aerial dominance also meant that United were pushed deeper than they wanted to be.
Every time a United attack broke down, everyone had to funnel backwards, because Fellaini didn't just win every ball, he laid it off and started an attack every single time. It's much harder to win when Welbeck and Rooney are in the wrong box defending.
So what were the signs that suggest United will do well?
First, this was in some senses a "scratch" side, with new players and consequently a new, more fluid formation and new tactics, let alone the enforced positional changes.
Cleverley was as excellent as he was for England and Team GB. When the defence is back, I would expect him to play alongside Carrick as the attacking central midfield.
Kagawa was excellent as already noted.
Rooney isn't quite fit yet, but there was plenty of evidence that he can dominate matches this season. Unfortunately, his sidekick Danny Welbeck looked rusty and I expect Van Persie to start against Fulham.
United never quit for one minute and their heads never went down. This was a tough match to start the season and I expect them to be even sharper next week.
The new, more fluid formation is coming together. There is also competition for places with Welbeck, Rooney and Kagawa all able to play from the wide left berth, as well as the usual suspects, Ashley Young and Nani.
With Carrick having to drop into centre-back and Rafael only just back from the Olympics, Sir Alex could not afford to play him at right-back and, with neither Phil Jones nor Chris Smalling fit, he resorted to Valencia. United will be better when the Ecuadorian is restored to the wide right position
Hopefully, United will have Jonny Evans back next week, allowing Ferguson to start his ideal eleven, then we shall see United's true potential. On tonight's showing it seems clear that Van Persie will be first choice ahead of Welbeck this season.
Finally, although Evra gave the ball away a few times, there was enough evidence to suggest that the imminent arrival of Buttner has sharpened him up defensively.
There's nothing like competition for places across the park and, with the current exception of centre-back, everyone now knows they are playing for their place. That alone should ensure a performance every week from United.