Michael Carrick has been hampered by injury issues all season but returned to his superb best against his former club on Sunday.
Carrick came on briefly against Newcastle in the league before coming on at half-time in the defeat to Arsenal but this was the midfielder’s first start since the first game against Cambridge back in January.
And Carrick wasted no time in showing United fans what they’d been missing. His composure on the ball instantly helped the hosts and he played a lovely through ball which allowed Marouane Fellaini to score the opener.
The midfielder then helped himself to a goal, his first under Louis van Gaal as he headed home acutely with plenty of players between himself and the goal.
Carrick is the missing spark that United lacked all season. Didn’t put a foot wrong. Top notch performance, capped with a goal & an assist.
— Lisa MUFC (@girlmanutd) March 15, 2015
Carrick MOTM for me. Ran the show in the first half.
— Alec Hudson (@Alehud42) March 15, 2015
— The MUFC Academy (@mrmujac) March 15, 2015
Carrick MOTM for me
— Nicole (@NickiDupre) March 15, 2015
The difference? Carrick is getting on the ball facing their goal, and we have players actually threatening in behind their defence.
— Preben Walle (@Ohpebbles) March 15, 2015
— Philip Gatt (@philgatt) March 15, 2015
Given Carrick’s return from an injury in November that had kept him out the whole season up to that point coincided with an impressive unbeaten run, supporters will hope he came have the same influence this time around.
With United travelling to Anfield next week plus games against the three teams above them in the table, a player of Carrick’s ability and experience will be crucial in the next two months.