Manchester United v Bayer Leverkusen analysis: Robin van Persie is top dog, but Shinji Kagawa unsure of best role...

Five things we learnt from United's 4-2 Champions League victory

Old Trafford

1. While there's Van Persie, there's hope

The oustanding striker in the Premier League last season, Robin van Persie has scored six of United's 10 goals so far in the new campaign (including the Community Shield), should have made it seven and is clearly going to be a key figure again. Old Trafford would have been a nervous place had he not quickly restored United's lead tonight with a typically accomplished volley that required precise timing and a perfect first touch. Whether he should take as many set-pieces is a matter for debate but goalkeepers cannot relish seeing both him and Rooney hovering over a free-kick within shooting range.

2. Rooney is back in favour and full of himself

After all the fuss about Wayne Rooney wanting to leave this summer, United are already reaping the reward for quite rightly standing firm. To his credit Rooney has also knuckled down, a fact appreciated by the United supporters, who have been right behind him. Goals like tonight's can only help, even if the first one should have been disallowed. Both were well taken and he was close to another Champions League hat-trick but had to be satisfied with an asssist and reaching the rare landmark of 200 goals for the club.

3. Shinji Kagawa needs to find his best position

With Nani suspended, the Japanese midfielder was brought in on the left flank, where Ashley Young had played against Crystal Palace on Saturday. But he is not a natural winger. When he came inside, partly to make sure Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini were not outnumbered three against two, it became incumbent on Patrice Evra to supply the width. Fortunately Evra seems keen to prove that United do not need Leighton Baines.

4. United still don't have a midfield destroyer

Marouane Fellaini had an acceptable full debut as one of the holding midfielders with Carrick but he is not – by any wildest stretch of the imagination – Nobby Stiles. Neither is Carrick, for all his quality on the ball, so Leverkusen, when they pushed forward, had possibilities. Their first goal came when neither of the holding men closed down Simon Rolfes quickly enough and for a brief period it looked as if United's evening might turn sour. Fortunately the second goal did not matter either.

5. David Moyes will use his squad to good effect

Unlike Manchester City's Manuel Pellegrini, who put too many eggs in the Champions League basket in order to secure victory tonight, picking the wrong team at Stoke on Saturday, Moyes got the balance just right. He did not underestimate an easier fixture than City's at the weekend, fielding a strong side at home to Palace, and limited changes to three tonight, with Chris Smalling and Fellaini joining Kagawa in the starting XI. He will need to continue getting that right for a successful first Champions League campaign.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own