Almost two years ago to the day, United were humiliated at a snowy Upton Park and dumped out of the League Cup by West Ham.
The 4-0 defeat left a few scars and Jonny Evans bore the brunt of much of the criticism. Most interviews that followed with the Northern Irishman, even recently, alluded to this display and a well-documented loss of form.
To his eternal credit, Evans was always honest with his answers. But it's difficult to imagine many other players having to face such brutal cross-examination. Dimitar Berbatov, for instance, was never quizzed on missing a couple of costly chances in the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City later that term.
Evans must have appeared fair game as a young player coming through the ranks. Winning over the fans, and the press, seems to be a rite of passage for all youngsters. Fast forward a couple of years and the classy centre-back has made 11 starts after returning from injury this term and thoroughly deserves to be called first-choice because of his consistent form.
On Saturday, he looked a real leader on the pitch when United fell behind to QPR. It was his tenacity and determination to get back on level terms that helped make the difference. Some of his work would only be noticeable from the stands – the abrasiveness of his interceptions and cajoling of his colleagues – but, of course, his headed equaliser ensured his contribution was obvious to everybody.
Although Rafael, another player singled out for criticism in that 4-0 cup defeat, was the stand-out performer against West Ham, Evans' display also earned plaudits. Dominant in the air and composed on the deck, he snuffed out any threat posed by £35million loanee Andy Carroll.
The England international hitman was nullified to such an extent that he was withdrawn to jeers from the Stretford End after 62 minutes. However, on came Carlton Cole, very much the chief tormentor and somebody who possibly gave