The sight of Fulham coming to Old Trafford hardly fills the Red Devils with dread, our annual 3 points expected via a game that is put to bed after 70 minutes so the bit part players can have a run out and the stars can wave to their adoring fans as they head for an early shower. I've seen it numerous times before.
However today we decided to give them a start, and leave them in the game until the final kick.
Echoes of Everton at OT last season and at Goodison Park on Monday echoed eerily around a mainly silent home crowd as the lack of effort, class and atmosphere threatened to ruin the party.
Starting Wayne Rooney on the bench was a sure sign that Sir Alex saw enough in his most paid possession to give him a lesson in what matters. One can only hope his dietician spent time near the Rooney fridge this week so that the sausages are replaced with fruit, and also that the month with his leg up that follows an accidental gash will not be spent with a beer in one hand and a fag in the other watching TV, as his waistline suggests was the case following his holiday in the Ukraine.
Robin van Persie scored his first goal, Shinji Kagawa looks like a skillful Park Ji-Sung on speed, and Antonio Valencia proved he owns the right wing. There is lots of hope in those three for the season.
By contrast David De Gea, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Anderson, Ashley Young and Nemanja Vidic proved form and positional play is a problem for this squad, in which Sir Alex Ferugosn doesn't yet know his best XI.
The absence of Nani and the return of Rafael were both benefits to the team. However the guile and power of Moussa Dembele exposed Tom Cleverley and Anderson repeatedly and surely proves my longstanding point that this is indeed a star who has matured into a top player. If he goes to Real Madrid for £15m we will regret spending our small pot of transfer fee on players who are far less effective than him.
A win is a win but hanging on against Fulham, with De Gea punching easily catchable crosses back into the penalty area, and with United conceding possession at home to a team that will not even get a Europa League place is not what we want to see.
The transition at OT is now in full swing, but transition to what?
Watching Manchester City dominate their home game, seeing Chelsea win 3 times already and then seeing United struggle again, it seems to me that this top 3 will likely finish in that order. We are not as solid a side as the other 2 but surely the return of a centre-back or 2, plus the challenge to Rafael and Evra from Alexander Buttner, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling will solidify the back 4.
If Anders Lindegard returned soon I wouldn't be surprised as De Gea was either stupidly cocky with his foot skills or shockingly fearing crosses like his Dracula nickname suggests.
Danny Welbeck looks devoid of confidence, Rooney devoid of form and United devoid of midfield creativity.
This season has started with a nervy 3 points from 2 games and the International break cannot come soon enough for Sir Alex to take stock, have a good long think and hopefully open the wallet and get Dembele who could be exactly what we need in the attacking midfield role alongside Kagawa, behind van Persie.
A 4-5-1 is currently our best formation and with Carrick in defensive midfield, and Young gaining some sort of form, we might just start to control the games we play.
Meanwhile the salaries paid to Dimitar Berbatov, Anderson and Nani might need to be shed to pave the way. I see no future at OT for any of these bit part players this season.
Balancing the books while improving the team is a skill David Moyes, Arsene Wenger and a new Liverpool manager every season has to deal with, and that's where we are now.
Can Sir Alex adapt to the new normal, because Fulham will tell you that it has now arrived.
By Steve Burrows CBE @ifollowsteve