Shinji Kagawa started his first Premier League game since January 11 at the weekend against West Ham but despite his complete lack of game time, he flourished on a day where Manchester United played some of their most exciting football this season.
Alongside Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata, the Japanese playmaker played with a degree of freedom he hasn’t before because tactically, we were more suited to his natural game of short, incisive passing with runs in behind and quick movement.
There has been more than one occasion this season where Kagawa has underwhelmed but his performance against West Ham was very promising. Here’s a video of every touch he made during the game:
Kagawa did enough against West Ham to warrant a starting spot today in the derby, so long as David Moyes chooses to employ the same tactics.
Of course, we shouldn’t be entirely surprised that Kagawa played well at Upton Park because last season, that was where he had one of his best performances.
The future for Kagawa at Manchester United still looks very uncertain due to David Moyes’ reluctance to play him. However, if he is given the opportunity to start against Manchester City and puts in the same level of performance as he did against West Ham, Kagawa will put himself in a strong position to start regularly between now and the end of the season.
Of course, Kagawa’s importance should really come to the fore against Bayern Munich where Mata is ineligible.