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...
Allow me to begin by stating the obvious.
The match played out in a similar way to the games against Arsenal, Sunderland and Fulham. Any forward momentum wasn't capitalized on by the strikers and at times left-back Ryan Taylor looked like the most credible scoring prospect.
Shola Ameobi's running game was, to be frank, terrible. If a ball was drifted into the box he was rarely able to pick it up. On one occasion he passed up the chance to run onto a through-ball by flailing in the box and going to ground.
When he was brought down with the next chance and had a legitimate claim for a penalty, it was waved off without a second thought. And he has no one to blame but himself for that.
Leon Best looked good and almost created a goal out of nothing at one stage. The problem with him was that he was never really able to be brought into the game and spent a lot of time waiting to finish off the killer play that never eventuated. Ditto Demba Ba.
All of this really highlights the need for a higher quality striker to have been brought into the club during the transfer window.
But again, you already knew that.
As I've said elsewhere, I don't have the software or the skills to create highlights packages.
But if I did, the vast majority of Queens Park Rangers' seriously threatening chances came from pushing the ball wide, then dragging it back in front of the goal for Jay Bothroyd or later DJ Campbell.
Shaun Wright-Philips, in particular, was a master at this using his pace to combine well with Adel Taraabt. On too many occasions he got past his marker and used that to create legitimate scoring opportunities for Bothroyd.
Queens Park looked at their most threatening when they fanned outwards and moved the ball quickly. I suspect United will struggle to contain similarly styled teams, particularly Manchester City with David Silva and Samir Nasri able to link with a wide man like Adam Johnson.
Continuing on from the last point, Queens Park Rangers were at their best with Adel Taraabt setting up wider players to cross the ball back to Jay Bothroyd.
The astute among you will have noticed, however, that newcomer Joey Barton was remarkably absent during all of this.
Personally, I think this could prove to be a similar case to Fernando Torres, where a quality player struggles at a new club because their styles of play don't combine as well as perhaps they should.
At Newcastle United, Barton was the main creative figurehead, dictating play and setting up most of United's attacking plays. At Queens Park, that role goes to Taraabt.
This isn't to say that Barton wasn't an excellent purchase. Far from it, his mind games are simply invaluable and he'll add some nice attacking depth to the squad, all for a free transfer.
And who knows? Rangers could well adjust to using dual play-makers, after all.
Face it ladies (and some gentlemen), he isn't the most attractive man in football. He's certainly no Cristiano Ronaldo.
In footballing terms, he wasn't even the most consistent player on the pitch.
But when he got involved in attacking plays, Gabriel Obertan looked good. He was willing to step up and create plays when he was needed and his link-up play with the strikers was excellent, arguably the best of anyone in a black and white jersey.
Provided he can add some consistency to his game and not go missing at times, he should prove a valuable attacking asset this season.
Remember Gareth Bale in the UEFA Champions' League last season?
Here's a short refresher: His pace and width combined to create a headache for wide defenders and send attacking balls into the goal box.
While he obviously won't be of the same caliber as Bale, I can see Shola's younger brother Sammy Ameobi being used off the bench in a similar fashion. Towards the end of the match, he was brought on to get past tiring defenders and get the ball into favorable attacking positions.
I think most of Ameobi's season in the first team will consist of something similar, hopefully also getting a taste of Premier League football and developing as a wide player for future seasons.
Photo credit: NUFC website