When Marouane Fellaini made his first appearance since before Christmas against Crystal Palace, Manchester United fans got the faintest glimmer of the reasons why the club parted with over £27 million to secure his services.
Playing in his preferred deeper role, he broke up the play nicely and allowed the more creative trio of Adnan Januzaj, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata freedom to express their ability.
He was dominant in the air and used the ball well, rarely giving away possession, and in fact his absence was visible in the shameful defeat to Olympiakos in midweek. Few would have thought that several months ago.
The 26-year old endured a torrid start to his United career and was widely criticised for a string of lacklustre performances but it seems now he has started to turn the corner.
Having surgery on his wrist allowed him to play injury-free for the first time in his short spell with the club and it appears that is paying dividends already.
He is surely going to be picked more often than not as manager David Moyes attempts to save a season littered with disappointment and abject failure, and he could become a key player for the Red Devils as they look to ensure they earn a place in European competition next season.
Admitedly, the Champions League is unlikely, but that in turn may provide a paradoxical benefit to Fellaini's personal career as he won't be forced to play Saturdays and Tuesdays/Wednesdays each week next season. It seems fair to say that Moyes will probably opt to field his squad players should United's European adventure come in the form of the Europa League.
This will allow him to cement his place in the side and start to blend in with his team-mates at Old Trafford without having the rigour of an assault on several fronts. He will be able to focus all of his efforts into regaining the Premier League title and he could prove to be the player the United faithful are so desperately craving.
The midfield department is crying out for a player of Fellaini's stature, composure and aerial ability that will allow the Red Devils to dominate the engine room once more. They have failed to do that all too often so far this season.
If Fellaini is given the chance to play week in, week out as the campaign veers towards a dramatic climax, he should be able to have a dramatic impact bigger than his own large hairstyle.
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