Oct 16

Nowhere to hide for United

Tag: Opinion Piece @ 4:00 pm

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailThe last international break of the year marks the moment when the gloves well and truly come off and clubs knuckle down and get down to business knowing that, as winter approaches and days get shorter and colder, the World Cup draw will be the only distraction to disrupt club football for the next six months.

Under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United used to relish the months following the international break which would invariably see the Reds motor up the table like a steam train gaining pace after leaving a station. Sir Alex often pointed at the winter months as a crucial time of the campaign.

“Be up there by Christmas, and you have a very good chance,” was one of Fergie’s favourite mantras.

David Moyes must make that philosophy his if he’s to turn his team’s shaky start to the season into the ruthless cavalcade United fans have become accustomed to witness over the last two decades.

Moyes’ early steps as manager of Manchester United have been rather tentative, with the well publicised failure in the transfer window becoming even more regrettable as United suffered three defeats in their first seven Premier League games, failing to score in open play five matches until Adnan Januzaj’s double against Sunderland ten days ago.

Marouane Fellaini’s wrist injury has dealt another setback to the Belgian who is yet to show a glimpse of the player he was at Everton, let alone to establish himself as an integral cog of the United machine, while Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have looked a shadow of their former selves.

There are, however, some positives too for Moyes. The Scotsman has handled the Wayne Rooney saga superbly, with the 27-year-old looking sharper and hungrier than he had done over the last 18 months and the England striker has been undoubtedly United’s player of the season so far, while his striking partner Robin Van Persie should have received a much-needed morale boost after becoming Holland’s all-time top scorer on Friday.

Moyes’ decision to give Januzaj a chance has paid off handsomely so far and while it’d be foolish to expect the youngster to deliver match-winning performances on a regular basis, the 18-year-old might have already leapfrogged Ashley Young in the pecking order, while Nani seem to be trusted more than Antonio Valencia on the other flank.

Having spent the first months of the campaign trying to figure his best XI, the feeling is that David Moyes might be edging closer to completing the jigsaw and back-to-back home games against Southampton and Stoke, followed by a trip to Fulham offer the perfect platform to steady the ship ahead of Arsenal’s visit next month.

For all their shortcomings, of which there are aplenty, United are only six points off the top of the table with another 31 games to play. Time for Moyes to show what he’s worth.


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Tags: Opinion Piece

4 Responses to “Nowhere to hide for United”

  • Start by not sending Zaha out on loan. What on earth does he mean he`s not ready to be United player?

    • @Dred: I agree. Moyes doesn’t know what a United player is. If he can’t see “United” in Zaha then he’s an idiot.
      That boy is special and any manager worth his salt would relish the chance to develop a talent like that. The fact Moyes is refusing to be that brave is deeply worrying but totally in keeping with his other selections/decisions. Zaha is definitely good enough.

    • The_Philosopher

      @Dred: Did Moyes say that he is not ready to be a United player?

      If he did then I have no doubt that Januzaj is only playing because of the contract issue. The little I have seen of Zaha proved to me that he has a lot more creative ability than Valencia.

      Everything else that might be missing from his game can be learned on the job. The raw potential is there and now is the time to cultivate it.

      I wonder what Moyes knows about being United quality when he himself has yet to prove he is a United quality manager.

      Sounds a bit hypocritical to me.

  • The_Philosopher

    The next run of games will reveal even more about David Moyes.

    The United calendar shows the we have 2 champion’s league games against Real Sociedad and 1 capital one cup game against Norwich City interspersed with the the 3 premier league games leading up to the Arsenal encounter. So there is plenty of room for rotation.

    I hope to see Wilfred Zaha playing in at least one of these games. To keep such a talent on the bench seems a travesty of our culture of youth development.

    The games are going to come thick and fast now. This next passage of fixtures will give us even more insight into the managerial mettle of David Moyes.

    Issues he has yet to handle satisfactorily for me are as follows:

    1) Where does he see Shinji Kagawa fitting into this squad?

    The Scotsman has so far been unimpressed by Kagawa and has limited his involvement to a few appearances on the wings. Wing play is not Shinji’s forte but our all knowing manager seems content to play him there and expect him to produce results because that’s where he has played for Japan.

    What David Moyes conveniently overlooks is Shinji’s history at Dortmund where has a solid track record as their playmaker.

    Not only has Moyes played Kagawa out of position but he has also substituted the diminutive Japanese prematurely just as he is about to find his rhythm in a game.

    To play someone out of position, limit their playing time and then tell them that they haven’t done much to impress you and that you expect better says to me that David Moyes has little to no appreciation for the caliber player Shinji Kagawa is.

    So this next run of games will be the next chapter in the Freenji saga and Moyes has not shown any promising signs on this score.

    2) The mysterious benching of Wilfred Zaha.

    Zaha showed lots of potential on pre-season tour and looked a comfortable fit for the right flank after some impressive performances considering the context of Valencia’s below par season last year.

    So when he was dropped to make way for the more experienced but substandard Antonio Valencia there were one or two eyebrows raised but Moyes was given the benefit of the doubt because he was coming into a tough run of games and was trying to steady the ship.

    But after it became clear as the games were being scratched off the calendar that Valencia was not producing the goods Zaha was still not played. Not even for a ten minute cameo at the end of a game.

    Given our struggle to create goal scoring opportunities the shut out that’s seen Wilfred Zaha on the bench for the whole season thus far is baffling.

    Inexperience is not a valid excuse for me because even Alex Buttner has gotten a full 90min in the premier league. How could playing Wilfred Zaha be riskier than that?

    3) And finally will we play adventurous and attacking football or will David Moyes continue in his conservative vein?

    So far this season Moyes has had us playing like sheep instead of the lions we are.

    Moyes showed no ambition against City and Chelsea and chose rather to play not to lose instead of going for the jugular.

    When you’re managing a team like Everton I can understand how having a limited squad can force you to take a more pragmatic approach in encounters against the game’s elite clubs.

    But when you are at the helm of one of those elite clubs what excuse do you have not to attack? What further encouragement do you need to take the initiative?

    It’s disappointing. It is stomach churning to watch a manager of a world class club like Manchester United acquiesce to defeat even before a ball has been kicked.

    And it’s even worse to see the confused and frustrated looks on the players faces, who are the champions of England, when they lose because they were forced to execute a set of instructions that didn’t read “kill kill kill!”

    Transfer bungles and foot-in-mouth PR blunders aside, David Moyes has been poor.

    I expect more from a Manchester United manager.

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