All eyes were on Manchester United on Tuesday evening as they welcomed back Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney after lengthy and pretty much season destroying absences, but even more exciting was the prospect of seeing Juan Mata in a red United shirt!
After a much talked about lack of playing time in Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, Mata was eagerly snapped up by the Red Devils for a staggering £37.1 million making him, by far, their most expensive signing ever.
United supporters were thrilled by this bold statement and were convinced that he could recreate the magic that had seen him crowned Chelsea’s best player twice but there were still sceptics criticising the acquisition mostly relating to where manager David Moyes would slot the playmaker in once Rooney returned.
On the night, Moyes started Rooney on the bench while Mata played just behind Van Persie.
Captain Nemanja Vidic was still serving his three match ban but United stalwart Ryan Giggs made another start in midfield for the club at the grand old age of 40.
To the pleasure of the home support Mata hit the ground running and was involved in setting up their first goal by way of a long ball that eventually found Van Persie who was able to put United in front after six minutes of play.
United didn’t dominate the match as had been hoped but Ashley Young gave them their second goal minutes before the hour mark and the Red Devils clung on to end the game 2-0.
This result gives them their seventh clean sheet in the Premier League this season and puts them on 40 points from 23 games. Still very much outside of that all important top four but the march does seem to be upwards.
As mentioned Cardiff were by no means outplayed and manager and United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be proud of his teams performance on his return to a stadium he had so much success, but undoubtedly with the Bluebirds rock bottom of the table there is a lot of work to be done if they want to avoid Championship football next season.
United’s next challenge comes at the Britannia Stadium in the form of Stoke City. Their first meeting this season ended 3-2 to United and with only five wins they are in 16th place and for points away from the drop zone. Stoke played also relegation threatened Sunderland Wednesday evening losing 1-0 from a Adam Johnson goal.
To make matters worse the the Potters had midfielder Steven N’Zonzi sent off for a second yellow card and he will now miss their match against the Champions.
With the window about to close and their top scorer Charlie Adam only finding the net 5 times this season new signing Peter Odemwingie will need to help get those points up and hope that this new look United doesn’t push them closer to the drop.
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