There was a moment last season, when Robin Van Persie was still in an Arsenal shirt, when Alex Song, also still in an Arsenal shirt unlocked defences with a simple but well-timed lob over the defence to find the Dutch striker.
Van Persie would control the ball delightfully, then, strike a lethal volley.
On Sunday, against Liverpool, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and even Paul Scholes attempted to do the same.
Not for the first time since Van Persie has moved to Manchester United has the unsettled United midfield attempted to do the ‘Song over the top’ routine.
They have yet to get it right, bar one Valencia cross which Van Persie has scored off.
The move is increasingly looking less Arsenal-inspired and more Stoke.
With a midfield that is currently struggling to keep hold off the ball without Scholes, the route one to Van Persie is starting from deeper and deeper in the midfield – no doubt underlining what Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce at West Ham have always known – when in doubt, lob it out.
While in the second game of the day, Arsenal’s midfield delighted and showed the kind of skill and ball retention capabilities that right now seemed alien to United, Van Persie must be scratching his head thinking – Did I leave Arsenal to join Stoke?
Santi Cazorla and Abou Diaby threaded the ball with accuracy till they found Gervinho or Lukas Podolski.
Van Persie on the other hand continues to look like the tip of a spear that has a handle, but no middle.
Isolated up front for long periods, he ends up drifting wide where defences want him to be – away from goal.
After the Southampton comeback, Van Persie in no uncertain terms said, Paul Scholes was the one who changes the game for him.
Right now, without Scholes United’s midfield looks pedestrian… at best.
It’s route one or penalties then for Robin Van Persie.