The Juan we’ve waited for


1174006-23223937-640-360By the time Juan Mata fully settles into this United side, orchestrating the play and dictating passes mere mortals can’t see, we will, hopefully, all look back to tonight and break a polite, almost embarrassed smile, at how low-key the Spaniard’s debut in a Manchester United shirt was.

That is not to say that United’s record signing disappointed in his first outing for his new club, but to classify tonight as a “dream debut” would be to get carried away too soon and too quickly.

Throughout his first 83 minutes as Manchester United player, the £37.1m-man showed glimpses of the class we’re all hoping to get accustomed to in the next few months and while his flame only seldom burnt, the former Chelsea man delivered a solid performance nevertheless, one good enough to granting him a standing ovation as he was replaced by Adnan Januzaj with only seven minutes left.

Greeted upon his arrival onto the pitch by the sort of raucous reception only football fans desperate for a bit of good news can deliver – and one which only just surpassed the hero’s welcome dedicated to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on his return to Old Trafford – Mata’s arrival inspired United to a bright start.

The tactical conundrum over the Spaniard’s position had filled newspaper inches since rumours began filtering of a possible move to Old Trafford, and David Moyes’ first tactical instructions to Mata saw the former Chelsea player deployed in the number 10 position, just behind the returning Robin Van Persie.

Having missed 11 games, the Dutchman was eager to reclaim his reign and took barely six minutes to do so, his header finding the back of the net, after Antonio Valencia’s header had crashed against the bar and David Marshall had parried Van Persie’s follow up.

The move had begun with a brilliant cross-field pass from Mata, who looked intent to impress on his debut but soon found that being surrounded by Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones and Ashley Young isn’t quite the same thing as exchanging passes with Oscar, Eden Hazard and Frank Lampard.

United’s familiar midfield problems emerged yet again in all their terrifying glory, with Ryan Giggs the only member of the midfield four eager to drive forward but sharing Mata’s problem of not having anybody to pass the ball to, given Jones, Valencia and Young took turns to determine who was the most static among themselves.

United’s promising start – Van Persie’s was United’s first goal in the opening 25 minutes of a Premier League match at home this season – soon petered out, while Cardiff tried to create a few problems to Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans with a series of crosses that piled pressure on United’s rearguard, but failed to generate any clear-cut chances.

The second half began in similar fashion, with the Stretford End serenading Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and reminding everybody that he was much better value for money than Alan Shearer, while Cardiff fans, bizarrely, thought appropriate to forget about being bottom of the league to remind us that we’re “going to win fuck all”.

To each their own, but at least United have Ashley Young.

Every Red’s favourite pantomime villain decided that Mata had been awarded enough time in the spotlight and grabbed the second half headlines all for himself, cutting inside from the left before unleashing a thunderous strike that flew past Marshall and into the bottom corner of his near post.

With United 2-0 up just before the hour mark, Wayne Rooney and Tom Cleverley replaced Van Persie and Giggs, before Valencia squandered an excellent counter attack by wasting time in the box, though he forced Marshall into a rather excellent save and Rooney and Januzaj both went close to get on the scoresheet.

It wasn’t spectacular by any stretch of imagination, but after enduring a dismal end to 2013 and an even worse start to 2014, Moyes and his men will hope to ride the feel good factor generated by Mata’s arrival and Rooney and Van Persie’s return for a little longer.

Now, if only United could go into Saturday’s game with a new central midfielder in their ranks…




  1. I’m sick of saying this but I’m going to again. We were useless again tonight…and it was again Moyes’ fault. Mata looked like he was searching out for a pass everytime he got the ball…and there was nothing there. Mata, much like Kagawa, will shine when there are players around him to play quick one or two touch passess. Valencia, Jones, Young are not those people. Two CM sitting in around the centre circle and two wingers hugging the touchline yet again meant that anytime anybody picked the ball up centrally, they had no option but to go out wide and then we got (or didn’t most of the time in Valencia’s case) a hopeful ball into the box. We took 2 chances tonight, but we were extremely poor at keeping the ball, falling behind Cardiff in the possession stats…..AT HOME. We should be dominating these kinds of teams. I really hope Moyes doesn’t ruin Mata – one of the best in Europe in my opinion. I’m willing to bet that if by pure accident, having been forced through injury, Moyes has to play Carrick holding, Kagawa, Mata and Januzaj floating in front of him with Rooney and RVP up top we’ll see completely different stats, style of play and much better results. However, I don’t believe that will come and while he continues to put Cleverley, Young or Valencia in that team, we will continue to struggle and will not get 5th, nevermind 4th. We are NOT in desperate need of new signings, Moyes just need to start picking the right players and setting them up in a manner that tries to win games.

    • @Dragon: Thank you sir. Moyes has always been the weakest link.

      And no matter how many good players we buy he will continue to be the weakest link.

      Is it not a serious indictment in and of itself that only injury could force Moyes to play a sensable line-up.

      Left to his own devices Moyes will never get it together.

      Juan Mata is really in danger of being ruined by Moyes’ dated tactics.

      So I think what we need more than new players is David Moyes gone.

      Moyes Out!!!

      • @The_Philosopher:

        I don’t think Moyes is a weak link. I think much like the players, he needs a confidence boost too. For the moment, he has been way too pragmatic, and it is that pragmatism that has really hurt United. He doesn’t have the required confidence in his players, and it really shows. The team is completely disjointed in both attack and defence.

        But a bit more confidence (in his own abilities – he did pretty well with Everton), and I really hope we will see a better Moyes.

  2. It was a good debut by Mata but definitely nothing special. However it would have been difficult for that to happen. The guy is a little rusty having not played for a while, plus he is coming into a team that is not flowing well. It was positive that we got 83 minuets from him, and also a benefit that we got Van Persie an hour, and Rooney got 30 minuets as well.

    The main thing we need now is luck with injuries and a settled team, or at least a settled group of 15-16 players. We have had to change the team to often this season and we need a more settled side. Hopefully against Stoke we will have Mata, Van Persie and Rooney all starting. If we can get that then we need the three to stay together for a run of games. We also need to get Fellaini back from injury and in the team.

    It was important we won today but we are now going into February, and next month is vital for Manchester United and Moyes. I still believe we need to get a central midfielder in before Friday. Moyes knows this is needed but whether he can sign the right player is the question. We do not keep the ball, or win it back, well enough for a Man Utd team. If we cannot control possession then the likes of Mata, Januzaj, Van Persie, Rooney and Kagawa will continue to suffer.

    • @Tom: Good analysis Tom. Decent performance without scaling the heights. Kind of strange to be playing a team with 4 wingers (I’m including Evra in this category since he didn’t seem to have any defensive remit) and 3 centre backs, but no recognized CM until Cleverley came on – without making us looking any better in this department.

      You’re absolutely right that we’re crying out for a dominant presence in the middle. What a difference it would make to this side. To be honest, I’m disappointed that we did not start with Fletcher instead of Young or Valencia. We just can’t afford to be leaving wide open spaces in the middle of the park while having 2 touchline hugging wingers (+ Rafael & Evra). It’s far too overloaded in wide attacking areas (though not proportionately effective). We should be sacrificing at least one of our wide players to provide a more solid middle. Teams just breeze right through us! A 4-2-3-1 should be our preferred formation to get the best out of our attacking options. I just hope Moyes has the vision and flexibility to adopt this.

    • @Tom: True words, my friend.

      The way forward is to isolate our weaknesses and purge them from the starting eleven. I have very little respect for this current team at all and I find watching Jones, Valencia, Smalling, Young (despite his really good goal) and Evans particularly ugly.
      I want more better players and I think Moyes is on that track too.

      A shutout is a good result for a team that has been leaking goals by the bucketful.
      It wasn’t the greatest of performances, but after the second goal, we did shore up the ramparts.

      • @Redrich: Nonsene, Moyes hasn’t got a clue if he thinks he can just buy a team. Remember, the likes of Newcastle, West Brom, Swansea, Cardiff, Sunderland…who have all beaten us this season, DON’T have players better than those in our squad. SO PLEASE DON’T TELL ME it’s because we lack quality….it’s because Moyes can’t pick the right 11 and play the right tactics. SIMPLE!!

  3. Just for the Moyes haters.

    Ole Gunnar – 1 month in charge – zero PL points – not acceptable!

    OLE OUT !!!! 😈 😈 😈 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • @Redrich: People like you are just mindless morons who must reduce things to there most simple form to try to reason out anything which doesn’t fit into your argument. Moyes not being up to the job HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RESULTS. It has everything to do with his team selection (persistently picking the underperforming Cleverley, Valencia, Young over the likes of Kagawa, Zaha etc), It has everything to do with OUR TACTICS – Look at the stats – we play more long balls than any other team in the top half of the table…we consistently fall behind on the possession stats against teams like West Brom, Cardiff, Swansea, Sunderland. We have a 20% success rate of crosses into the box yet 80% of balls into the box are from crosses out wide. That is terrible. NOTHING THROUGH THE MIDDLE. And that’s because the dickhead Moyes keeps setting us up to defend…just like he did at Everton. Finally, it has everything to do with sitting back on 1-0 leads and inviting teams on to us….taking off any attacking players that have managed to get on the pitch and replacing them with defence first mentality players…and ending up with draws or losses AS A RESULT OF HIS POOR DECISION MAKING. So NO, Ole shouldn’t be sacked, because I can guarantee that regardless of the results (2 out of three have been City and us by the way) he will change that team into one that competes and tries to win games….but you keep backing Moyes, BLINDLY FOLLOWING AND HOPING, until he destroys the harmony that had taken years to build, rips the heart out of the squad and replaces them with his “Vision”. I don’t think he even picked Mata, I think he was told he was available and that they could get him, and he thought “yeah why not”. He hasn’t got a clue how to use him.

      • @Dragon: Settle done, Rover, just having a bit of fun with you Moyes haters. 😆 😆

        So sorry I got your ruff all spikey. Down boy… there’s a good Mutt. 😀 😀

        • @Redrich: Yeah, thanks Redrich, I suppose you could call me a dog, cos you are clearly my b1tch. Now go and lie in front of the fire and try not to think too hard….you know it makes your brain all “hurty”. There’s a good girl

    • @Redrich:

      Very witty but very empty too. “Moyes haters”? So are you a Moyes lover? If so then simply justify why you believe Moyes is the man.

      • @Jay Wire: Moyes is not the issue, the issue is we have players that are not up to the job.
        The manager of any team has the responsibility to bring out the best in their players, Moyes has educed about as much as he can. They have had countless opportunities to prove themselves and so we must assume the way they’ve been playing is the way they are (which by the way, is what I’ve been saying all along).
        When you watch, on countless occasions, defenders being beaten like an egg, midfielders needing too much time to react to, or to make a pass, wingers that can never cross a ball accurately, strikers that go missing in the PA or miss the simplest of chances, and the most glaring factor of all – players all over the pitch unable to control or put “touch” on the ball.
        The best made schemes by any manager, WC or not, is reliant on it being executed by those on the pitch and these hacks are not doing it.
        I believe that’s the case here and you can agree or disagree with me all you want, but I am just believing what my eyes are telling me about these players.

        Because I do not hate Moyes and blame him for our current situation, doesn’t mean I love the man or back him with impunity either. I was not excited with his appointment because it seemed contrived and convenient, rather than aiming for a more ambitious target. Perhaps no one else was available, maybe the Glazers wanted a puppet, maybe Ferguson knew that the job at hand was a rebuilding of the team and he thought Moyes could do that job. This is mostly speculation and perhaps we’ll never quite know.
        The one thing I do know is, is that this team is under-qualified for the task at hand. If you believe differently, I’d like you to share your thought on why you think these players deserve better than 7th place?

        • @Redrich: Because they won the league last year…and the only thing that has changed is the manager. Please don’t try and rationalise with your simpleton thinking that we don’t have better players than Swansea, Cardiff, West Brom, Newcastle, Sunderland….if it was just down to PLAYERS, we would have 12 extra points and still be in the Capital One Cup wouldn’t we now. So like I said above, probably best you leave the thinking to the big boys and go and play with your squeaky toy, there’s a good girl.

  4. Good result, 3 points. We still have lots of work to do. I think going forward lots of United fans want to see the following team.

    De Gea

    Rafael Smalling Evans Evra

    Carrick Fellaini

    Mata Rooney Januzaj


    I’m not sure why Moyes went with two wingers last night, when we could have adopted this system. Surely we have to change our system with all the numbers 10’s we have.

  5. The major concern for me is that Mata needs cover in midfield. Defensively he’s less effective than Kagawa and that’s not saying much. Defending is not his job admittedly but it does mean that central midfield needs to be protected even more when he plays.
    Indeed Kagawa fans might be wondering what Mata brings to the team that their man doesn’t. On that score I think Mata will bring an added dimension in that although both players are of similar ability perhaps Mata has the edge in his incisive reading of the game. More importantly, it seems Mata will be more involved generally. Kagawa seemed to be in and out of matches seemingly going somewhat AWOL at times.

    Coming back to the issue of midfield. It is possible that Moyes will need to play two central midfielders in support of Mata. The conundrum is how to do this if both Rooney and RVP play too, which of course they should. One hopes that the solution is not that Mata or Rooney is pushed into a wide position. We saw how badly that affected Kagawa’s game. So that he can impart maximum influence, Mata needs to play in the middle supported by two of Carrick (when fit) Jones, Cleverly, Fletcher or Fellaini. With Mata prompting, I would then suggest a flexible front three of RVP Rooney & Januzaj. The alternative is to have only one central midfielder in support but Mata plays so far forward, which is his strength, that the solitary midfielder could get horribly exposed when the opposition get the ball. This is a major issue for Moyes and despite the fact that he might be reluctant to dispense entirely with the sort of set wing play of say Valencia and Young, I think he has no choice following Mata’s arrival.

  6. Here’s one of our best line ups:

    —————————-De Gea





    Phil Jones plays in mid field going forward but then tracks back to cover in front of the back four or at right back depending on the situation. It will take a bit of organisation but it should be doable.

    If I were Man Utd manager though I would be lining them up like this:

    —————————–De Gea





    RVP leads the line.

    Januzaj and Zaha threaten from the wings with a lot more than just crosses.

    Mata and Kagawa feed them balls.

    Carrick and Jones get the ball upfield.

    Jones lends a hand in defence and shutting down opposition plays.

    Evans covers on the left flank if thats where they come at us.

    Jones or Smalling cover the other flank.

    • @The_Philosopher: Glad you’re not the manager Phil 😉

      I’d go with:

      De Gea

      Rafael Smalling (Evans) Vidic Evra

      Carrick Jones


      Januzaj RVP Rooney

      This assumes no further additions in the next few days. The central defence pairing has looked dodgy so I’d hope Vidic would hold it together until the end of the season. Evra is a liability defensively but still good going forward. He’s still better, overall, than Buttner.
      Rafael is still prone to occasional recklessness so I don’t know what the future holds. We need a good central midfielder to replace Carrick. Moyes probably needs four new signings to strengthen this team
      (DM, CB, LB and maybe RB) In the meantime we can only hope that messrs RVP, Rooney & Mata plus Januzaj can inspire us to an ECL place.

      • @Julian: We do not need 2 defensive midfielders. No other top 4 team in any other country play 2 defensive/holding midfielders. This would be my team:

        Rafa Jones/Smalling Evans Evra


        Januzaj Kagawa Mata



        I’d give Rooney, Kagawa, Mata and Januzaj licence to roam and I’d have an emphasis on keeping the ball. People who keep worrying about defending don’t understand the psychology of the game….which is clearly MOYES’ weakpoint. If you keep the ball, the other team don’t have and so can’t attack you, if you are effective and use the ball well going forward, i.e. create lots of opportunity, the opposing side know they have to defend well, and so focus on that….you won’t see team going full throttle attacking us if they think they’ll be punished the second they lose the ball. Then I’d add in low-pressure defending in the top 3rd but high pressure in the middle and bottom 3rd.

        • @Dragon: The concern is Carrick on his own “holding” the midfield. Its a great attacking side but what happens when the opposition has the ball? They’d overrun our midfield. I feel we must have a ball winner in there to support Carrick.

        • @Julian: Think outside the box…..and try and understand the psychology of an opposition side. If we are dominant and keep the ball, and look like we can punish a team every time they slip up, they will take FAR FAR less risks….or put another way, be FAR FAR less brave at coming forward. If we also have players who keep the ball much better….i.e. we are having possession stats of 65% ish like most top teams do then the opposition only has the ball for 35% of the time, instead of the other way around. Given that, despite our poor style of play under Moyes, we do tend to create more than the opposition due to the likes of Rooney and RVP, additional possession combined with better quality in the likes of Mata, Januzaj and Kagawa over Cleverley, Valencia and Young…I would suggest we would create FAR FAR more and FAR FAR better chances than we do now, and would therefore be FAR FAR more likely to score more than the likes of Cardiff, Swansea, West Brom etc etc. Fear gets you nowhere but the self-fulfilling prophecy that fear proposes i.e. sit back and worry about defending and you invite teams on, when they sense that they can get something, they keep coming until they do….and that’s exactly what has happened under Moyes. Worry about attacking and the defending takes care of itself

        • @Dragon: Now that is fantasy football. I’m not as bold but i love the idea. I’d play Carrick and some placeholder in midfield like Jones or even Fellaini and then In front of them,Rooney,Mata,Januzaj/ Kagawa with RvP as the spear head. AJ and Kagawa will battle it out for the other spot I guess. With Nani or Zaha benchwise to utilize pace in tough times. No place for hard workers like Valencia I’m sorry. Definitely no place for Ashley Young. That would be fantasy football. I think if you did a survey across the web most line ups will have at least four of these five in the starting line up. RvP,Rooney,Kagawa,Mata and Januzaj. That’s what everyone wants to see. We have tried this whole Young and Valencia corner flag football for this long with zero to show for it. People talking about how playing them all is bad for defensive cover. Guess what,we have been extremely poor defensively regardless playing Valencia and Young. So what’s to lose? Much better to leak goals knowing you have a lethal front line than to just concede knowing very well that you are now relying on Ashley Young or Valencia to produce a moment of brilliance. Ha ha. Maybe against Cardiff but anything on par or better than Southampton will take us apart

        • @Jay Wire: Exactly, we are terrible DESPITE having supposedly better defensive players on the pitch. I guarantee this, we will create and score more if we put out that formation I’ve suggested on the pitch. Might we concede? YES…we undoubtedly will….will it be more than we do now? Possibly. BUT will we be a better team and take far more points across a season…DEFINITELY. You score 1 we’ll score 3 mentality. We HAVE always conceded goals, in fact, we conceeded far more back in the periods where we were most successful….the difference was, we conceeded less, when it counted, than our title contenders i.e. in the big head-to-head games. Nobody remembers conceeding goals when you win 4-1, but they remember every 1-0 loss or 1-1 draw with a team in the bottom half of the table. I want United back to the way we have always been….through the busby era, through the Fergie era…to now. Back trying to go out and win games not going out trying not to lose.

  7. Mata did offer much more than Kagawa-remember that he was involved in the first goal and assisted Young for the second (admittedly, Young did the 99% of the job alone). More important-he’s not afraid to pass the ball forward, try long passes and to pick up players in the penalty box-something that Kagawa (and Cleverley) never do.

    The midfield remains the problem. Still, if we’re able to get an effective box to box midfielder, I’d play Mata alongside him, in a Scholesian role. That’s how we can hold on to our traditional 4-4-2 shape and still be effective. Since Rooney is excellent in defense too, he can complement that sort of midfield in the running and getting the ball back department.

    But first, of course, a midfielder should be bought.

    • @Andrija Djuranovic: If we could buy one world class central midfielder then we’re really in business.

      Most of our attacking players are of highest quality.

      If we can just have a world class man in midfield then we’re back in the top 4 for sure.

      But if we want to play attractive, creative, intelligent football and win titles and cups and occasionally take the champion’s league David Moyes needs to go.

  8. Best atmosphere at OT there’s been for a while. Good start before Cardif realised they were up aginst the combined midfield force of a 40 year old and a centre back and again we were in a game.
    Mata showed enough spark too sugest he’ll be effective and with he, Rooney and RVP we’ll win more than we lose.
    Until that centre mid is sorted though we’ll struggle to control games as we have done for many Seasons.
    Moyes has acknowledged it again so this will be defn be addressed in the Summer.

  9. A direct quote from Moyes last night:

    ‘If you asked me what I needed most, I would have said a central midfielder and a left-back,’ said Moyes. ‘But sometimes you don’t always get the pieces of the jigsaw at the time.’

    Extending Moyes’ metaphor, even if you have all the pieces you still need the intelligence to get the pieces to all fit. And that is my biggest worry.

    Moyes was also talking about his excitement of combining Mata Rooney and Van Persie. But has he given any thought as to how he is going to do that? Rooney certainly won’t play out wide and Van Persie is a striker so where is Mata going to play?

    Of course if we continue to have regular injuries then chances are only two of the three will be fit at any one time in which case we are well covered in attack.

    But so long as Jones and Cleverley toil in midfield our defence continues to look shaky and Moyes continues to play Valencia and Young as out and out wingers then better teams than Swansea will continue to beat us.

  10. There are lots of issues still to be resolved. Ideally Mata should play in behind the strikers, being RVP and Rooney. Januzaj should also feature. The question is can Moyes fit them all in together and still have an effective central midfield. My view, as expressed above, is whilst they may be brilliant attacking players, none of the above are midfielders. No way is Mata a ball winner. So we need a solid midfield to back up the strikers and the playmaker(s). In wanting to fit in Mata and Rooney there must be a temptation to play both in wide positions but that is unlikely to happen in the same game. I don’t think Moyes will discard Valencia or Young that easily particularly bearing in mind their ability to track back and provide cover for the full backs. Moyes might see this as a question of playing it game by game and also depending on the opposition of course. It could mean quite a bit of rotation. If that is the case we are unlikely to see Mata, Rooney, RVP and Januzaj actually starting that many games together.

    • @Julian: NONSENSE again my friend….Giggs Keane Scholes Beckham Cole Yorke….in a traditional 4-4-2: Where’s your defensive midfielders there? There’s an argument that Keane was far more attacking in terms of physically getting into the box than Carrick and we all know Scholes 1) Would always arrive late in the box and played off the strikers and 2) couldn’t tackle for toffee.

      • @Dragon: Nonsense be damned! Because you have two in midfield doesn’t mean they are both “defensive” and that’s all they do. There’s a clear distinction between when we have the ball and when we don’t. Carrick may sit deep but he still gets forward on occasion with telling passes. Fletcher and Cleverly also get forward. The point is they are a presence in midfield. You cannot have Mata, RVP, Rooney and Januzaj without proper midfield support. They cant keep the ball for 90 minutes – there will be times, believe it or not, when the opposition gets the ball. Sides are tending to dominate us in midfield nowadays. Mata’s arrival wont alleviate that one bit. We may score more goals hopefully but we are going to concede because we cant close down the midfield effectively. In the example you give, Keane was a box to box midfielder – quite capable of defending and attacking. Scholes invariably played deep and could cover, occasionally winning the ball. They complimented each other. In our most successful season 1998/99 we often had Keane and Butt holding the midfield in support of Cole,Yorke, Beckham & Giggs. The main point you are totally missing is Carrick say on his own will not provide sufficient midfield cover when the opposition attack us – particularly if RVP and Rooney are upfront with Mata just behind.

        • @Julian: Seriously, your powers of analysis are shocking. I love Carrick, he is a true holding midfielder who can spray balls all over the park. The point is, he gives us more in terms of defensive cover than we ever had in the fergie’s fledglings era…but that didn’t matter. Please go and watch some other football, maybe take a look at the likes of Barca, Real, Bayern and Dortmund and tell me they have defensive players. Mata doesn’t need cover, nor do any of them…READ MY POST EARLIER RE PSYCHOLOGY….and go and watch how teams try and attack them when they have the ball…..they don’t win it back because they have lots of defensive players, they win it back due to the tactical denfending styles they play.
          Oh, but just to add….do you seriously think that as soon as we lose the ball Mata, Januzaj, Rooney, RVP and Kagawa would all just throw their hands up and sit on the halfway line hoping Carrick can hold out????? Unbelievable! Players, even if they are not the greatest at tackling, can still defend through positioning. Can’t you see that your “old school” beliefs about worrying about defending are best suited to teams with managers like Alladyce, Pulis etc etc….or in fact Moyes!! Who still allows fear to dictate his decisions instead of focusing on the football…like the likes of Klopp, Guardiola etc.
          Here’s some good stats for you though…….for your supposedly attacking Cleverley that gets forward a lot…17 appearances this season, 1 goal 0 assists, 11 shots. Compare that to the two midfielders in the most defensive team in the league…Jedinak 23 appearances 0 goals 0 assists 24 shots and Ward 21 appearances 0 goals 1 assist and 17 shots. So he is less effective at getting forward than the most defensive couple of cm’s in the league and averages less than 1 shot a game. Now compare that to Chelsea’s and City’s 2nd CM’s…..Ramires 21 apps 1 goal 2 assists and 37 shots Toure 21 11 4 36. Please don’t tell me Cleverley gets forward….because he doesn’t….and that for 2 reasons, because he’s not good enough and because of Moyes’ tactics.

  11. @Dragon

    Thank you very much. Finally. This is exactly what I have been saying. Moyes is rubbish. His tactics suck big time. In fact they competitively suck. I have been saying the same thing. Why in this day and age does Moyes believe a system of football tactics that is based majorly on crossing is the best system to use in a team with so many direct attacking midfielders? Forget the fact that it’s a thoroughly obsolete form of football,we also don’t have the right personnel for it. You need straight up old fashioned wingers who can play from the corner flag all day,whipping em in. At United this means Valencia and to a lesser extent Young. Then you will need a very mobile and very active central midfielder with a serious link with the front two. At United the best option and probably only option in that regard is Ryan Giggs,the century old ex wing wizard. More than that you need a very excellent “in the air” striker like Drogba,Falcao,Luca Toni or Fernando Llorente. At United that alternative is RvP. So effectively,there really is no efficient use and need for players like Januzaj,Kagawa or Mata in that kind of system because the creative element of this set up is the winger. Everything goes via the wingers so that’s where creativity has to come from. And since crossing is the main action for wingers in a corner flag system,you need a striker who is excellent in the air and wingers who are excellent crossers. That is how you can hope to get excellent results. That is why right now,the world’s most creative and one of the most technically gifted strikers today,has been reduced to a Grant Holt-Kenwynne Jones type who feeds on speculative scraps produced by Valencia and Young. That is criminal. Because of this system,the Premier League’s most creative player and best goal provider will be forced to play support cast to Young and Valencia,the main stars of Moyes’ system. The signs were clear last night. There was no combination between RvP(who had to go deep and wide a lot) and Mata and nothing between Mata and Rooney or between Rooney and Januzaj. Not because they haven’t clicked yet,but because nothing goes through the middle. Everything went through the flanks and once in a while you get a team that is not prepped enough for wingers or a thoroughly useless one,and you get to win. But 99% of the time,teams will punish you for such stupid tactics There were really no tactical hopes on display last night. Moyes was talking about a lack of creativity being the problem. No kidding. So this is my question. You have at least 3 of the most creative players in the Premier League,yet you don’t play through them and in fact don’t play them together,so whose fault is it that there is no creativity? Mata,RvP and Rooney are the league’s most creative players. As in literally the top three. It clearly shows that everything should be centred around combining these three and depending on these three for creating and scoring goals. Everyone else becomes the supporting cast and not the other way round. Then you have players like Januzaj and Kagawa whom you throw into the mix. Actual creative players. They are not supposed to reorganize their attributes in order to play inferior football. The whole team should be focused on them in their best positions and roles for maximum effectiveness. Then once in a blue moon when the urge to play Ashley Young for no reason is too much to bear,then indulge yourself,in the Reserves. How it is that Valencia and Young are the two players around which our whole football is played is an extraordinary crime. Obviously true fans like the self styled Moyes bodyguard on this forum will say sarcastically “genius” without realising how very treacherous baseless and illogical patriotism is. Some of us call it as we see it and we see Moyes as a useless manager of this great club

    • @Jay Wire: Anyone with at least half a functioning brain should be able to make sense of your post. I’ve been criticised of being stupid and yet even I can see the sense in what you and Dragon stated. I would like to see someone countering your post with facts or a logical explanation of why they disagree…instead of resorting to mere insults or sarcasm.

      Anyone up for the challenge 😕

      • @Redrich: Where exactly did I call you a “Moron”?. Get real.

        What I said is that the post makes sense (even if you have half a brain, it makes sense). Having a different opinion to that which is stated does not change the fact that it makes sense for any logical reasoning human being. Regardless of whether you like him or not, if you are even remotely as intelligent as you believe you are, then even you have to admit that the way he has stated it makes sense.

        Can we forget about insults, sarcasms, fellings, etc. I am sincerely interested to hear your view on the opposite. I am battling to make sense of it.

  12. ———– DeGea———

    Subs: Amos, Evans, Valencia, Nani, Kagawa, Welbeck, Chicharito

    Weakest spot is then Evra and Smalling and maybe backup for Rafael/Evra. Replace 1-2 in summer and we’re in business for next season…

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