United almost equalised when a spot of pinball in the Everton penalty area ended with Tom Cleverley’s shot being cleared off the line by Phil Jagielka. The England defender was solid all evening and made a number of timely interceptions and blocks, much to the chagrin of United's travelling support.
Van Persie’s introduction midway through the second period boosted spirits among those supporters and almost led to a goal on 79 minutes when he crossed low for Kagawa at the near post. Tim Howard shot bravely off his line, however, and his clearance cannoned off the Japanese for a goal kick.
There was to be no dream debut for either summer signing. Instead, this was a chastening experience for Sir Alex’s men and a reminder that life in the Barclays Premier League – even at Manchester United and especially when Everton are the opposition – is never easy.