A promising debut for an 18-year-old, an exquisite freekick from a player who had looked poised to join one of United’s direct rivals throughout the summer and the first glimpse of the only significant signing to arrive in the transfer window would, normally, be enough reason to be cheerful.
Except that the 2-0 win matured against a newly-promoted side who spent the entire second half playing with 10 men after conceding a rather dubious penalty and that United barely looked to be playing with the handbrake on for large spells of the game.
Manchester United host Crystal Palace in today’s early kick-off looking to get their Premier League campaign back on track, after picking up only a point from the last two games and having failed to score in back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since August 2007.
Having failed to significantly bolster their squad this summer, with the exception of Marouane Fellaini, and with the Manchester derby looming large on the horizon, David Moyes knows United can’t afford to slip up at home against newly promoted Palace, who boasted a rather unimpressive away record in the Championship last season, as they picked up 25 points from 23 games on the road.
50 years ago today, George Best made his debut for Manchester United and even those who don’t have United rushing through their veins respectfully acknowledge the brilliance of the late Northern Irishman and the impact he had not just on United, but on football as a whole throughout a career cut short by excesses.
Old Trafford is set to witness a different kind of debut tomorrow, one whose potential impact on the club has been considerably understated so far.
Nemanja Vidic has admitted that despite a somewhat lacklustre start to the campaign which has seen United drop five points in three games, David Moyes is still to unleash his own version of the “hairdryer” onto his players.
After a promising opening day at Swansea where United trounced Michael Laudrup’s side 4-1, David Moyes’ men were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Chelsea before slumping to a 1-0 defeat against Liverpool as the former Everton manager returned to Merseyside for the first time since joining United.
Sir Alex Ferguson has explained his managerial blueprint, highlighting the factors that are crucial to succeed in football but has admitted that the conditions he found during his 26 years are extremely difficult to replicate and, in all likelihood, they never will.
In a series of interviews with the Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse, the former United manager stressed the importance of setting high standards within the club, from its personnel, to the players’ behaviour on and off the pitch, to ensure the club remains competitive.
Despite still not having returned to full training, Wayne Rooney has a 50/50 chance of being fit for this season’s first Manchester derby as United take on City at the Etihad a week on Sunday.
The United striker has been working with the club’s physios as he aims to recover from the severe cut to his head he suffered after accidentally colliding with Phil Jones in training over 10 days ago.
Shinji Kagawa has expressed his frustration at the lack of playing time he has had to endure in the first month of the season as the Japanese playmaker has played only seven minutes of David Moyes’ first four official games in charge of Manchester United.
Having come off the bench in the closing stages of United’s Community Shield game against Wigan, the former Dortmund is still to make his league debut this season and was left out of the squad that traveled to Anfield 10 days ago, as United stumbled to a 1-0 defeat after a rather unimpressive and insipid performance.
The transfer window might have shut over a week ago in rather farcical fashion as far as those of a red allegiance are concerned and the international break has managed to bore the majority of us out of our minds, but United seem to be rather active beyond the scenes as David Moyes has begun the process of identifying some of his targets for the January transfer window.
Having managed to secure only Marouane Fellaini during his first summer in charge, Moyes is fully aware of the importance of avoiding another failure this winter and has moved quickly so far, to earmark a couple of players he believes could improve the squad.