In saying that, said taster was against Barton's new club, Queens Park Rangers, away at Loftus Road.
United were fairly lucky to escape with a well-worked 0-0 draw to move ahead of Liverpool on the table and extend their unbeaten streak to seven games.
As predicted elsewhere, the result was earned by a tight defensive display and characterized by little urgency going forwards and goal-scoring opportunities coming few and far between.
But what observations can we make for the club's first game since the transfer window closed? Read on...