Manchester United 4 (Scholes, Hernandez, Buttner, Powell) Wigan Athletic 0
1. A game of two halves. We’ve seen it before and we saw it again on Saturday. Manchester United were far from vintage in the first half. Lacking imagination, we created few opportunities and when we did make our chances, we didn’t look like taking any.
Epitomised from the early penalty miss from Hernandez (why didn’t Giggs take it?), we were poor in the final third. Only Danny Welbeck and Alexander Buttner looked like they turned up in the first half but a few words from Sir Alex Ferguson at half time and we emerged a different team.
Incisive, aggressive and organised, we dictated the tempo for the whole half and Paul Scholes’ intelligent run into the box allowed the floodgates to open. Man of the match and the hugely impressive Alexander Buttner bagged himself an assist and a superb goal in a debut to remember and Nick Powell finished off the rout with a confident strike to make it debut goals galore.
We might have come out the 4-0 victors but we have plenty of work to do. Although, we were playing without Cleverley, Kagawa and Robin van Persie who have all been integral to our good football so far this season, so the signs are there that the squad is looking strong.
2. Goodbye complacency, hello competition. Take a bow, Alexander Buttner. Nobody could of guessed the 23-year-old would have put in such a fantastic performance on his debut. Sir Alex rightly called him rough round the edges but a diamond is also rough round the edges, and that’s what I hope we have unearthed.
Patrice Evra was right to have a concerned look on his face after Buttner’s solo goal. The Frenchman can kiss goodbye to his guaranteed starting berth and wave hello to hard work and determination. His complacent attitude has been one of Manchester United’s weakest points in the past two years and has caused its fair share of problems.
While I think that Paddy will be playing against Galatasaray and Liverpool, Buttner has done himself the world of good with such an assured debut. Hopefully it brings the world class player back out of Evra that we all grew to know and love.
3. Danny Welbeck. Could he have done anything else apart from score a goal? From overhead kicks to outrageous flicks, Danny exuded the sort of confidence you would expect from someone on a goalscoring streak, not a striker who is yet to net for his club this term.
I love watching him play in the same sense that Dimitar Berbatov just made me nod slowly in appreciation sometimes. His off the ball work ethic is just superb and uncharacteristic of strikers these days and it brings a complete package to his game.
Mancunian born and bred, you can feel his desire to play for Manchester United and it really comes across in his attitude. After netting nine goals in his debut season last year, I’m sure this season we will see the rise and rise of Manchester United and England’s future number nine.
4. More Manchester United milestones. Rio Ferdinand’s 400th Manchester United game. Paul Scholes’ 700th game. Ryan Giggs’ 600th league game. No club comes across milestones as often as Manchester United do and we really are privileged to have such loyal players.
We seem to have struck a fine balance between experience and youth that is hard to find and execute. Rio Ferdinand knows that Jonny Evans’ is going to be challenging him for his starting spot all season and Giggs and Scholes know their cameo roles will bring so much to the team when they are used.
Sir Alex Ferguson is soon to be immortalised in bronze outside the stadium but with Scholes and Giggs surely to be remembered in a similar fashion, we might start running out of space!
5. Rotation, rotation, rotation. The season gets under way properly this week with the return of the Champions League and Sir Alex Ferguson will have to implement his famous rotational policy to try and cope with the demands of the fixture list.
Although, it should be noted I disagree entirely with his decision to keep chopping and changing Anders Lindegaard and David de Gea. The Spaniard is our number one, let’s not get confused about that, but teaching him to learn from his mistakes by instantly dropping him is surely not going to do his confidence any favours.
With Phil Jones and Chris Smalling now our only long term absentees, our squad is looking mightily strong. Wayne Rooney will soon return to action and hopefully Darren Fletcher’s inclusion in Saturday’s squad hopefully means he will make his faster than expected re-appearance with the first team.
Last season, we were dogged by injuries and the way this season started, it seemed like we might befell the same fate. However, a brand new medical facility opening at Carrington by the end of the season could prove a turning point for us. Fingers crossed the squad can maintain fitness and push forward on all fronts this season.