It felt like a victory before kick-off as Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named an attacking line-up.
Edinson Cavani was named as a starter for United for the very first time, while Donny van de Beek also made his first start in three matches.
With Alex Telles making just his third start too, this felt like a rare occasion to see United’s starters all feature at the same time.
It needs to now become the norm. All three made a big difference, and helped United put on a real show.
A combination of circumstance and cautious team selection has delayed United’s new signings from starting together.
Solskjaer has caused some frustration with his reluctance to throw Van de Beek in, while Telles had a positive Covid test in October, and Cavani was required to improve his fitness, all amid a couple of international breaks too.
Now the trio appear ready to kick on. It feels like United’s season is about to really get started.
3 for 3
All three of United’s top signings this summer look like they will be big hits.
Alex Telles is everything United wanted from a left-back. He offers a new attacking outlet, with both precision and quality, combined with defensive nous.
He cost United just £13 million and should be worth at least three times this figure.
Cavani on a free transfer is an obvious bargain. There are going to be a lot of top European sides kicking themselves they did not sign the Uruguayan.
His off the ball movement helps his teammates out and causes problems for defenders, with his reputation alone enough to put fear into defences. He has one goal so far and will net several over the course of the season.
Donny van de Beek cost a reasonable £39 million and he is a shrewd signing. He can play in multiple midfield positions and is beginning to earn Solskjaer’s trust.
The Dutchman is going to be a valuable United player for a long time, and United have clearly bought well.
We all know the players United didn’t sign this summer. A big gap still exists in the right wing position, and centre-back still looks like it can be upgraded. A true defensive midfielder is also required.
But the three key players United did sign all look spot on. If Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo can prove themselves too, then United’s transfer window will begin to look even better.
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