Normally, there wouldn’t be anything better to escape the January blues than United games coming thick and fast, even more so when three of them are at home and the only away is the first leg of a cup semifinal.
Unfortunately, this season, more games simply mean more chances to get back on the horse or, as it’s been the case in 2014 so far, more opportunities for United to inflict misery on us all, a task which, it has to be said, they’ve mastered in spectacularly brilliant fashion since the turn of the year.
Having lost three games in a row for the first time in almost 13 years and threatening to make 2014 the “year of the 2-1 defeat”, United welcome Swansea at Old Trafford tomorrow, hoping that the change of fortunes David Moyes spoke of yesterday will finally materialise.
Hope is just about all that fans and players have got left at this stage, for even the most-optimistic of Reds (a dying breed, it would seem) would struggle to find many positives ahead of Swansea’s second visit at Old Trafford in less than a week, giving the appalling performances United have treated us over the last 10 days.
Having picked up their first ever win at Old Trafford last Sunday, Michael Laudrup’s men will hope to double their tally immediately and pick up their first Premier League win in the last six games, while a win could see United consolidate seventh place, given that eight-placed Newcastle host City on Sunday.
That’s enough to get dizzy, but things are going to be quite as straightforward for the only thing longer than United’s series of dismal performances this season is their injury list. Still without Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Nani, Marouane Fellaini, Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jones, David Moyes could also be without Jonny Evans, who limped off the pitch against Sunderland.
Should Evans be unavailable, Chris Smalling is expected to partner Nemanja Vidic at centre-back, with Rafael and Patrice Evra at full-backs while Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez will more than likely pair up-front as they did – to very little avail, it must be said – last Sunday against Swansea.
Adnan Januzaj and Michael Carrick are expected to feature in midfield as is Antonio Valencia, who might be terrifyingly mono-dimensional but has also the advantage of being United’s only fit winger at the moment – apart from Wilfried Zaha, obviously, but let’s not venture down that route – while we can only hope to see Darren Fletcher rather than Tom Cleverley in the middle of the park.
Regardless of the personnel, it’s about time United started to a) win matches and b) show a set of bollocks, for being poor and technically limited can be tolerated, looking utterly uninterested and not bothered it’s not and nor it should be. As news emerged yesterday that some of the players are prepared to question Moyes’ credentials, some members of the squad should instead take a long, hard, look at themselves for they’ve been nowhere near good enough this season.
Swansea have got nothing to lose while United have a lot on the line. It could be a turning point, but it’d be probably be just another dreadful afternoon.
Or, perhaps, it’d be the day when the club unveil their new signing just before kick off. Hope springs eternal, lads.
The following graphic was supplied by LiveFootball.co.uk