United feel the Blues

1168412-20766644-640-360The last time Samuel Eto’o thwarted our hearts, Manchester United were playing their second Champions League finalin 12 months and things looked rather different.

Back then, United boasted a superb squad capable of taking on Europe’s finest, while today they crumbled against aChelsea side which, while looking solid, never got out of second gear.

It was hardly surprising to see United falling victims of their own shortcomings in South West London, but it was crushing to see them have the wind knocked out of their sails after a promising start.

Having never beaten Jose Mourinho in the league, David Moyes decided to go all out and picked his best available XI, with Danny Welbeck leading the line and Adnan Januzaj behind him, while Phil Jones returned in midfield alongside Michael Carrick, as Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young patrolled the wings.

Despite the lack of confidence that had accompanied to South West London, United started brightly and almost took the lead within 120 seconds, when Welbeck and Young exchanged passes, only for the former Villa man to fire straight at Peter Cech.

Having controlled the opening 15 minutes of the game, United thought well of sitting back and allowing Chelsea onto them, the hosts’ pressure soon proving decisive as Eto’o took on Phil Jones, who lost his footing and allowed the former Inter man to skip past him, before unleashing a shot that, having been diverted by Michael Carrick’s shin, flew past David De Gea.

Conceding the goal had tragic effects on United, their confidence evaporating in a blink of an eye and not helped by Phil Dowd opting to deny Danny Welbeck a clear penalty after he was brought down by Cesar Azpilicueta and could only fire a tame shot at Cech.

United’s performance turned even worse when, 60 seconds from halftime, Eto’o doubled his team lead after some incredibly poor defending from David Moyes’men, who allowed the cross to get into the area, before leaving Eto’o all the time he needed to steer his finish past De Gea.

What Michael Carrick and Ashley Young were playing at is hard to fathom, but neither was trying to defend to the standard a Premiership footballer is required to match and United went back to the dressing room with a scoreline that didn’t do any justice to their efforts in the first half.

Having conceded twice in the first 45 minutes, United allowed Chelsea in within three minutes in the second half as Willian’s corner was headed towards De Gea, before Valencia stood and observed as Eto’o completed his personal ha-trick with the simplest of finishes.

Quite what United’s back four were looking at, will remain a mystery, for neither Vidic, nor Valencia, Evra or Young were anywhere to be seen as Chelsea tripled their lead, nor did they offer a concrete contribution as Chelsea doubled their advantage.

Smalling and Hernandez replaced Evra and Young, with the Mexican netting United’ s consolation goal, after Jones’ effort had looked to drift wide of the target.

It wasn’t enough to lift United’s spirits, nor was it enough to alleviate the away fans’ torture but, at least, it made the scoreline a little bit more bearable, before Nemanja Vidic was ridiculously sent off for a challenge that was only worth of a yellow card, while Rafael should have suffered the opposite fate but, somehow, escaped punishment.

As they say, when it rains, it pours.





  1. I wonder how you feel when you write post-game articles when United lose. I doubt it’s the best feeling in the world huh Dan?

  2. This is the scenario.Moyes kept Everton up for a few years on a skinflint budget.The Muppet owners thought that this was a great idea.
    But Everton replaced Moyes with a better manager.The cunning plan has backfired.Moyes will be signing no big names, unless we sell Rooney and Van Persie.Fellaine is hilarious, Young is an arse. Moyes has put more on the injury list than any opposition player, by his training program.He is totally blind to his own inadequacy in this job.”Give him time” and other cliches,by the so-called TV Experts have no merit.The Glasers time is coming to an end and soon the sponsors will run.But first the pain.Please stop supporting these carpetbaggers.I will be buying no more merchandise or tickets ,until these muppets are gone.So, please keep Moyes on and don’t sell Young,Fellaine,Nani,Smalling,and please do not replace Evra,Vidic,Ferdinand,Carrick and Jones.What will they serve up……Free transfers,loanees,and they won’t have SAF with his blether about Good value in the market…..No one takes Moyes seiously….’Today he said….”We are not out of the title race”….Mr Moyes we have not been in it.

  3. I reckon that Moyes has tried just about every combination of players he can think of in his short, inglorious tenure as manager. He keeps swapping and shuffling them all about, dropping them to the bench and whatnot, so much so, that I’m convinced that he hasn’t a bloody clue! Today’s team was crying out for someone like Fletcher linking with Carrick in midfield. What today’s team was NOT crying out for was the ridiculous selection of Young, who, in my opinion, is a total nonentity who shouldn’t be anywhere near a football pitch! He’s just crap, and that’s all there is to it, but Moysie still selects him. And to Young’s credit, he doesn’t let us down. We expect him to be crap, and he always is!! Also, Valencia isn’t getting any better. He’s getting worse. He was very impressive in his first season at OT, but now, his ability to beat a man seems to have totally deserted him.
    Seeing as we had our two main strikers out, I expected to see Wellbeck up there, but surely Chicarito would have made for a livelier partnership. I’m not criticizing the front two, because they did their best, but again, surely it would have been better to put Januzaj on the wing in place of Young and bring Kagawa to play the No.10 position?
    Well, we’re now diffy Vidic for the next 3 games, so I guess it’ll be Evans and either Jones or Smalling filling in.
    It’ll be interesting to see how Moysie handles the team selection for Wednesday’s match against Sunderland. One thing’s for sure. He’ll just shuffle the pack and see what comes out.
    With this season just about finished for us, perhaps he could give players like Lingard and Zaha a chance? What’s the point of having players like these, if they never, ever, get a chance of doing their stuff?
    Ah, fuck it. It’s my bedtime.

  4. Positives are (i) that we made ‘something’ of a game of it without ever looking like winning; (ii) Januzaj; (iii) Hernandez who injected some much needed energy when he came on.

    Negatives – all over the place. It’s almost hard to know where to start. For one, Moyes is persisting with too many of Fergie’s favorites without tangible justification other than perhaps hoping for ‘continuity’ or that nebulous quality ‘experience’ – from Young, Valencia, Welbeck, Cleverley (fortunately not today) on the belief that somehow they’ll perform miracles well beyond their talents. However any hope of ‘continuity’ has well and truly been scuppered by so many events & shambolic succession planning, that Moyes might as well just start over – cast off the dead wood for good and bring back Lingard, Powell & Zaha and buy some experienced talent. Please. Rather than strengthening while at the top we’ve sat on our laurels and watched everyone go past us. Inexcusable & amateur.

    Defence – all over the place. Chelsea didn’t even have to carve us open, we just allowed them in through basic errors. Repeatedly. Vidic, Rio and Evra are done. But who is ready to step up?

    Midfield – there is nothing more to say about this than has been said a 1000 times; but still it continues to regress. Even Carrick, as our first choice MF’er, is looking a liability since his ponderous pace & safety first nature just augments the problems we have going forward. What was noticeable today is how few of our MF players were breaking into the box when we did get forward. Often there were just 2 of our players against 5 defenders when the ball came in. What’s the point in having fullbacks committing themselves into the attack if they’re way ahead of the MF?

    Wingers – Valencia and Young are Championship or lower table PL players – e.g. Wigan or Villa. They’re at last starting to look at home.

    Forwards – Clearly missing RvP & Rooney big time. If one or both leaves this summer our headaches (and required transfer budget) will become even more colossal than they already are. Welbeck, while improved this season,is still not the player to dig a victory from the jaws of defeat. This said, with the lack of quality service/support (other than from Januzaj) even RvP would be struggling to score at the moment. It’s also hard to see how Hernandez is going to be maximized in the system we play with the slow build up play and lack of penetrating passing.

    Management – Moyes is in trouble and he’s not getting a response from the experienced players. The opposite in fact. Round & Co. are making Phelan look like a impassioned genius. Nothing that is being said, done or intimated is instilling confidence that there is a plan or a vision for the future. We just have the impression of leaving ourselves to succumb to the slow fate of a declining empire.

    Sadly, it was all avoidable.

  5. It pains my aching heart to say it,but our Glory days are now officially behind us.Thanks Moyes,for turning a proud,winning team into a second-rate circus outfit in a matter of months!The Glazers have to fire this dunce & his band of merry buffoons a.s.a.p!yes,Ferguson should have revamped the midfield ages ago,but then again,he won the League with this same midfield,minus Janujaz.Moyes has no tactical inovation whatsoever.The concept is Dutch to him.When he is confronted with a problem,he enters his ‘Deer in headlights’ mode.Our defence was appalling,our midfield useless & our attack had no cutting edge.Pay this sucker his wieght in Guiness & Hagis & send him on his merry way.Let him go stuff up someone else’s football club!Oh & by the way,would I be pushing it if I asked for the dismissal of Mr.Woodward as well?I can’t wait for this miserable season to be behind us.

  6. I just couldnt help wondering if, in the grand scheme of things, this all is Ferige’s conspiracy to get the club back from Glazers. The valuation has fallen massively since Moyes has taken over if we are out of europe and some of the commercial partners move away (surely there will be some protection for them like that) then we are looking at significant losses for the glazers. Surely the businessmen that they are, they wont like that and might leave.

    or am I being very optimistic here :mrgreen:

    • @jos: Your being optimistic mate.
      When Fergie was coming out with comments like “they are great owners”, “they have never denied me transfer funds” “fans can fuck off and support chelski if they don’t like it” etc then I don’t believe he was saying them for any other reason than he actually believes them.
      I just don’t buy that talk of “oh he was just supporting them because he had no choice, deep down he hates them, he was saying it for the good of the club” stuff, because of the sheer amount of times he would bring them up, and pledge his support to them even when it wasn’t needed, and just the sheer nastiness in his tone when it came to the supporters and their concerns about them.
      He probably knew deep down their arrival at the club was solely his own doing, because of his greed over the bloody race horse scandal which directly led to their takeover, but tbh I think it was much simpler things, such as them leaving him alone to do his thing what with him being a power crazed person, and an improved contract that meant more to him than the clubs long term future.
      Criticise me all you want for that guys, but I don’t think Fergie’s thoughts went much further than padding his legacy and adding a few trophies to his CV, and increasing his bank balance, with the clubs long term future and supporters concerns being secondary (if that).

  7. Moyes continues to look out of his depth. I cannot understand why people, who are supposedly in the know, still think he’s the right man for the job. He simply doesn’t project the right aura, charisma or even basic positivity. His tactics appear to be of the hit or miss variety. More importantly he hasn’t won anything. This is the 12th time in succession he has tried to win a game at Stamford Bridge and failed. He has a similar record away at Arsenal and Liverpool. Surely those stats alone should have disqualified him for the job.

    Having said that the current demise is not entirely Moyes’ fault. United, despite last seasons league triumph thanks to RVP, have been in decline for several seasons now, simply because the growing deficiencies in the team were not addressed timeously. So much so that there is now a frightening gap in class and resource between what United have and that available to the likes of City, Barca, Real, Bayern and Chelsea. Its going to take years to put right and only then if the money becomes available. The immediate future looks terribly bleak.

    • @Julian: Even without RVP we wouldn’t be playing this badly under Ferguson.

      Without RVP last season we would have finished second.

      And if Ferguson had continued serving this season, without RVP, we would be a lot higher than 7th place.

      I’m pretty sure we would be challenging for the title because the race has been very open this season.

      David Moyes and his crew are the glaring inadequacy in this whole equation.

  8. Its no good saying “Moyes Out”. Who the hell is going to replace him? Which top flight manager will be prepared to accept the Glazernomics way of doing things as Fergie did? One of the major reasons Moyes was brought in was that he was relatively cheap – 4.9m a year as opposed to Mourinho on 8.5m and Guardiola – over 14m. No ways was United prepared to outlay that. Over the last few years United have one of the lowest “net spend” on transfers of all the clubs in the top half of the EPL. No top manager would accept a job which restricted them financially as regards re-building the squad.
    On the other hand, Moyes was renowned for unearthing potential talent, either through the youth system or via modest outlay. He was expected to continue with that at United with perhaps the odd splash on a top player. The latter was expected to be the exception rather than the rule. I think that sort of strategy is still the thinking, hence Moyes will be given time to re-build over the next couple of seasons and it will take at least a couple of seasons if things go well. The only problem is if things really go pear shaped, which nobody expected at the outset, then there may have to be a major re-think. But that’s unlikely to happen for the foreseeable future.

    • @Julian: You speak with the voice of reason.

      I hate the voice of reason.

      But I believe you’re probably right.

      Moyes was probably chosen for his ability to find bargain players and polish them into gems which is why he was the perfect fit.

      And if that really is the case then he will get a lot more than just one year to prove himself.

      He will probaly be given 3 years even.

      Only absolute and utter disaster would see him ousted sooner.

      I wonder if a 6th place finish would be considered to be utter disaster by the powers that be.

      Either way Ole needs a couple seasons in the prem before making the jump.

      Oh I hate the voice of reason. . .

      • @The_Philosopher: In the first season 6th place probably wouldn’t be considered a disaster. Of course by some miracle he could pull off the CO cup although in order to do that City, who are now on another level to us, would have to have a serious off day. Mind you getting past Sunderland isn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion, given the current situation. Anyway, United are fairly sure that not having ECL football next season wont be the end of the world. Perhaps not having it for two seasons wont make too much difference to the bottom line given the sponsorships and the rest of the commercial side. That must be the thinking. However, that’s not what the stock market is telling us with the share having dropped some 12% since October. Clearly that must be a concern for the Glazers

  9. @julian: marcelo bielsa is a free agent at d moment. he fits every criteria u mentioned above considering the job he did at bilbao with very young set of players. and above all the thing we need more than results right now at united is progressive and innovative football.

  10. am on team moyes btw. so if is not gonna be replaced by bielsa or maybe klopp, then i see no point in sacking him.

    • @shadie: Above all they wont “panic” or at least be seen to be panicking (United aren’t that sort of club etc). Moyes will be given two seasons at least to get things on track again. I’m afraid this looks as if we are in for a long haul here. One thing it will do is to sort out the real fans from the fair weather ones!

      • Seems to be sorting the real united players from the fair weather players as well. Fletcher has come back and been a godsend as has Annan. Lots of letdown s with our experienced players this term.

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