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A reassuring sight for United fans
It took six minutes.
We have missed Robin van Persie. Any team would miss a player of his quality, but given United's recent tendency to make hard work of, well, everything, Van Persie's return provided an enormous lift.
However, there were periods of the game where United struggled to get him the support he needed.
The 4-4-1-1 deployed by Moyes—with Mata operating in the "No. 10" role behind Van Persie—saw Mata being drawn deep in order to get the ball, as United's midfield once again struggled to dominate possession. Squawka.com cites United as having only 48 percent of the possession.
After an excellent first ten minutes of play, United eased off, and Van Persie found himself isolated.
Given it was Mata's first game and that Evra has been battling injury, it is not surprising that Moyes opted for the safety-first option of deploying Young on the left, but using wingers on with Mata in the middle meant there was a lot of space between the players.
Many United fans will be excited by the prospect of some combination of Rooney, Mata, Shinji Kagawa and Adnan Januzaj behind Van Persie.