04/04/2018 09:00, Report by Adam Marshall

Former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo appears to have perfected it, but peaking at the right time is a useful attribute to have and, in an era when athletic prowess has never been more relevant in the game, coming on strong at this stage of the season appears crucial.

Some were willing to write Ronaldo off but the 33-year-old saves his very best for the business end of the campaign and has been in sensational form since the turn of the year.

Much has been made of the fact the Premier League he left to go to Real Madrid is a test of endurance, with so many games played over the winter and challenges faced in every single game. With that being the case, two of Jose Mourinho’s summer signings are showing just why the manager brought them to Old Trafford. 

In horse-racing parlance, they have form over course and distance. Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku were proven Premier League performers who know the division inside out and are capable of making a sustained impact from August through to May.

It may be hard to maintain consistency in the freezing temperatures in the winter but to move up another level in spring, when the decisive fixtures come around, must also be a real challenge. Sir Alex Ferguson used to, tongue in cheek, complain all of his squad would be as fresh as daisies at this point, thus making his selection headache even more…

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