Manchester United returned to winning ways against Cardiff City at home as Robin van Persie and Ashley Young scored for the home side.
This match had a lot of backdrop stories to it. The return of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to Old Trafford and another former Manchester United youngster Mats Daehli, but the showstopper of the night was the debut of Juan Mata. There were a lot of speculations ahead of the match about where and how Mata will fit into the line-up and whether we will see a change in tactics from David Moyes. But the former Everton manager didn’t surprise anyone with his formation; instead Mata was started in his favoured role behind the striker Robin van Persie with Wayne Rooney dropping back to the bench.
It took only six minutes for the home side to take the lead in this game as Ashley Young delivered a good cross from the left into the box. Antonio Valencia ghosted in at the far post and his header hit the post, but van Persie was first to the rebound. Although the Dutchman’s initial header was saved by David Marshall, the goalkeeper could do nothing when van Persie received the second bite of the cherry.
After that early goal Manchester United had to wait for long to extend their lead as Cardiff held on. It was only in the second half when a wonderful long range strike from Ashley Young ensured all three points for David Moyes’ side. Juan Mata was also credited with his first Manchester United assist in that goal, although it was the winger’s brilliance which created that goal.
In the end, it was a satisfactory outing for Manchester United and now it will be interesting to see how David Moyes uses the trio of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata once all of them have attained full fitness. Moyes was delighted to have his two forwards back in action after injuries kept them out of the side in recent weeks.
“It’s massive to get them back, it’s so important to us.
“They are still missing a bit of match practice, but we’ll keep building them up – Robin and Wayne, and Juan as well. I’m looking forward to getting them all on the pitch together.” – The Manchester United manager said after the match.
Moyes was also satisfied with the display his big new signing put up on display, although he believes that the Spaniard will only improve as he regains his match fitness.
“I thought he did very well. He helped make the goal, he did some really good moments for us and I think he should be pleased tonight how he played, we were.
“He looked as though he wasn’t too far away. He still needs some match practice, he’s not played as much as he might have liked recently. We tried to keep him on as long as we could, hopefully that will benefit him.” – Moyes added.
The former Everton manager was delighted with the performance of his side, although he did lament the missed opportunities to extend the lead.
“We had to get three points and we did it. We scored two, could have scored more. We didn’t really have a great deal to defend against, so overall I was pleased with the performance.
“It was tense. We had other opportunities which we didn’t really take. While it is only 1-0 there is always a threat that they can maybe get a goal. But we deserved our victory tonight.” – he explained.