The big Belgian, charged with playing alongside Michael Carrick in midfield, was a force in all of Man United’s attacking moves, providing the only positive moment of the evening with his equalising goal.
A look at the stats show how central he was to United’s moves forward: 86% pass accuracy, 5 shots, 2 take-ons, 1 goal.
This is even more impressive when viewed in the context of the game, in which clear cut chances were rare for the visitors.
The 28-year-old could have scored moments after Bournemouth’s bizarre early goal, forcing a good save out of Artur Boruc, before eventually bundling home the equaliser after some good work from Memphis Depay.
More broadly, he acted as a strong springboard for launching attacking moves in a game where far too many United players were brushed off the ball with ease on a regular basis.
His substitution in the second half with Louis van Gaal‘s side chasing the game was bemusing and, in my opinion, completely wrong, since United failed to muscle their way forward at a critical time in the Belgian’s absence.
With United’s injury list still ludicrously high, he can be confident of getting plenty of game time in the Christmas period.