Here are the official Busby Babe player ratings for last night's 3-1 win over Club Brugge. You can disagree if you like, but just know that you are disagreeing with science.
Sergio Romero: [system error]
He's had a funny few games, Romero. He hasn't actually done much specifically — even last night, when he fell over and left the goal unguarded, he had been trodden upon sufficiently for any referee — and yet he still looks fundamentally unsound. If he's going to be Manchester United's first choice keeper for any length of time, it's going to be a long, comical season.
Matteo Darmian: 7
It's early days, and we've been hurt before. Some of the wounds are still fresh. But ...
Chris Smalling: 6
A proper defender. Generally doing proper defending. Occasionally pretending to be an actual footballer.
Daley Blind: 6
Better at the back than he has any right to be, and capable of passing the ball intelligently. Almost certainly going to get destroyed by somebody big and tall at some point. But Brugge weren't bringing that, so he was fine.
Luke Shaw: 7
Any left back that finds himself staring into space down the right flank and just decides to go for it, is a left back we can like. Not that great when trying to defend against two players at the same time, mind.
Morgan Schneiderlin: 6(?)
We'll level with you here. We didn't really notice he was playing until right at the end, when he accidentally found himself in the Brugge penalty area. But we're going to invoke the universal get-out clause for assessing central midfielders, and claim that since we didn't notice him, he was doing a good job.
Michael Carrick: Lint
Noticed you, Michael. Noticed you.
Juan Mata: A lingering sense of wistfulness
If there was a shop window between central midfield and the wide positions, then Juan Mata would be out there in the snow, nose pressed up against the glass, gazing wide-eyed at all the wonderful green space in there.
There isn't, though. Health and safety gone mad.
Adnan Januzaj: Simultaneously a 5 and a 7, but definitely not a 6
Still gets bumped off the ball too easily, still makes the wrong decision too often, and still looks terrifyingly childlike. Is starting to look quite pleasant when given space to run into.
A note. Brugge's decision to attack with wild abandon ensured that there was plenty of space for all of United's attacking players. At this point we must reflect that football, like life, is a series of interconnected factors, all of which combine to influence one one another, and to isolate an individual's performance from that context is to risk losing sight of the factors which in fact served to define that performance. Or, to put it another way, let's see how they do against a team that can be arsed to mark them.
Memphis Depay: 8
Would have been a 10, but he missed his hat-trick chance after a sweeping United break. Had that gone in, it would have been the most exciting thing United have managed since Patrice Evra scored against Bayern Munich. And then it would have been a 9, but he kept leaving Shaw overloaded on the left. Which is obviously a churlish and miserable thing to complain about, after two goals like that. But there you go. We are churlish and miserable, and we demand perfection.
Wayne Rooney: The corpse of a dead pigeon slowly putrefying in the sun
So, better than the Villa game.
Bastian Schweinsteiger (on for Carrick, 45'): 6
Javier Hernandez (on for Januzaj, 72'): Probably didn't play long enough for a mark
There is a theory that Hernandez improved while he was in Spain. Could be worth investigating.
Fellaini (on for Rooney, 84'): Tall
Professional tall man succeeds in being professionally tall. Well done everybody.