Manchester United started the 2012-2013 Premier League season with their first opening-day loss since an away defeat to Chelsea in 2004.
It's hard to argue that the loss was entirely surprising given that United were playing with a makeshift center back (Michael Carrick), a makeshift right back (Antonio Valencia) and a completely new formation that tried to accommodate new signing Shinji Kagawa.
What is surprising, however, was how unconvincing the Red Devils looked for much of the match. Several players—notably, Wayne Rooney and Nani—looked tired or disinterested. While an away fixture at Goodison Park is no slouch of a contest, United should have done better.
Of course, the match was always secondary to the biggest storyline of the evening: the debut of ex-Arsenal striker Robin van Persie.
Here the jury is still out on that one. After all, a 20-minute chasing of a goal deficit on the road against a very good, very compact Everton team... Well, that isn't exactly the best place to determine whether or not the Dutchman will be a success in Manchester.
Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned from the contest, even if much of the larger conclusions are immature at best.