Marouane Fellaini was finally the answer to Manchester United’s issues against West Bromwich Albion on Monday night as he scored a great goal whilst Louis van Gaal‘s side were 1-0 just minutes after coming on at half-time.
The Belgian chested the ball down, spun his defender and lashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner of Boaz Mhyhill’s net to draw United level. It was his first goal in a United shirt.
But, can the much-maligned midfielder make a fresh start under Louis van Gaal?
Van Gaal was seen giving instructions to Fellaini on the substitutes bench less than half an hour into a match where United’s passing was crisp and smooth but they rarely penetrated the West Brom defence to force stand-in goalkeeper Myhill into action.
United lacked some physicality and when it became obvious Van Gaal’s men were relying heavily on long balls into the box, given the deep defensive line held by West Brom, Fellaini’s introduction for a struggling Herrera made perfect sense.
Fellaini had offered signs of being more use further up the pitch in pre-season when he scored a last minute winner against Valencia at Old Trafford and it didn’t take him long to prove his worth when played in a similar role to the one he held for so many years at Goodison Park under David Moyes.
Not only was the way he took his goal impressive, his overall play was much improved and a higher confidence level was evident after the goal.
Van Gaal seems to hold an appreciation for what Fellaini can bring to a team but Moyes was reluctant to use him in his favoured role last season.
He certainly offers something different, something no other United player can bring to the table and despite the view among most fans that Fellaini isn’t good enough, he’s most certainly a useful, if unorthodox, option of things aren’t going Van Gaal’s way.