Vicente Besuijen was the best player on the park. Vibrant, direct, confident. Aberdeen should have been concentrating all powers on feeding him the ball at every opportunity. It said a lot that Dundee United ended up tripling up on him at times with Ian Harkes coming across to help out Ross Graham and Ilmari Niskanen. The winger showed his array of skills. Control and technique, pace and power, as well as a different range of crosses. He was unlucky not to have an assist and really should have scored when set up by Matty Kennedy. It was a performance which has been coming and showed just why Aberdeen had competition to sign him.
A less understated but equally important performance came from Kennedy. He took advantage of absentees to put his case across. He took his time to grow into the game but his goal, which could easily go down as a Ryan Edwards own goal, gave him real confidence. He wanted to run and attack players like he did so well with St Johnstone. He worked excellently off the ball and set up Besuijen for an excellent chance.
Another who could be pleased with his performance is McLennan who started at right-back. He produced a brilliant intervention in the first half to prevent a certain goal and went about his defensive business competently while not crowding Besuijen.
The below par
There was an uneasiness about David Bates throughout the game. He conceded a needless penalty early on. There can be few complaints with the centre-back pulling and tugging Ian Harkes’ jersey. But more than that was the ponderous nature in wide positions and the indecision with the ball at his feet which meant it ended up being shelled long and returned to United. When he simplifies his game he is a better defender.
Christian Ramirez will no doubt be playing the chance which was presented to him midway through the first half over in his head. it was a gilt-edged chance. Overall it just wasn't his day.
Adam Montgomery displayed his versatility, dropping in at left-back, putting in a solid shift. Likewise Connor Barron in midfield. The youngster was tigerish and tried to be progressive with his play even if not everything came off.
Benjamin Siegrist. That is no surprise considering he is one of the best goalkeepers in the league. He made a superb save to stop a Besuijen shot from an angle, albeit the rebound was turned in. He came to the fore after the interval ensuring Dundee United walked away with a point which lifted them to fourth. The Swiss ace produced different saves, down low and using his feet. Anything to keep out the Dons.
Charlie Mulgrew was the best of the United defensive trio, while Tony Watt was a focal point but never really got the service to trouble the Dons defence.
Niskanen deserves praise for a workmanlike role as a wing-back. He left Graham slightly exposed against Besuijen early on but then helped out his centre-back, working both ways.
Graham has been reliable and solid since coming back from Dunfermline and slotting into the backline. But Pittodrie was a tough outing for him. Aberdeen worked on getting Besuijen one v one against him and he struggled to cope in the wide areas with the winger’s pace. There was a moment in the second half where the Dutch spark stood him up on the touchline and zipped past him.
Kevin McDonald was a player who didn’t quite have the impact he’d have hoped for, especially after the injury to Dylan Levitt. He was caught in possession for the Aberdeen goal and the game passed him by slightly.
There was a big moment for Marc McNulty early on as he dispatched a penalty past Joe Lewis to give United the lead. It was his first league goal in over a year for United. While not his most slick performance it will give him a huge boost, especially doing so in front of a big and boisterous away following. Meanwhile, Ian Harkes offered plenty of energy in the middle of the park. But overall United lacked something to connect the midfield with the forward line. Levitt's injury and being replaced by Calum Butcher gave United a different dimension but perhaps the one they didn't want.
Aberdeen: Lewis 6; McLennan 7 (McGeouch 6), Gallagher 6, Bates 4, Montgomery 7 (Ruth N/A?; Ferguson 6, Barron 7, Ojo 6; Besuijen 8, Kennedy 7 (Jenks 6), Ramirez 5.
Dundee United: Siegrist 8; Edwards 6, Graham 5, Mulgrew 7; Smith 6, McDonald 5 (Freeman N/A), Levitt 6 (Butcher 5), Harkes 6, Niskanen 7; McNulty 6, Watt 7 (Clark 6).