I have to say it was not my intention of writing a review of today’s match but seeing as Dan is on vacation, I guess it is important that somebody does fill in and offer a take on what happened, so here goes nothing.
I have to start off by saying that things looked ominous and very suspect before the kickoff. The team selection for such an epic derby was nothing short of atrocious. Moyes is showing me nothing right now other than he is an unreasonable facsimile of Sir Alex Ferguson without the aura, intimidation factor and magic. A poor copy is still a copy and a copy is not the real thing.
United’s lineup was a glimpse down memory road and so reeked of yesteryear while being devoid of any tactical or technical genius that it caused me to yawn from the get go. Yet again we were forced to endure Ryan Giggs being played but this time, it was on the right side of midfield? WTF???? Adding Ashley Young seemed like the right move considering how poor Valencia was last Wednesday, but still, nobody on planet earth is going to sell me on the idea that Young or Valencia are better choices than Shinji Kagawa, Louis Nani or even Wilfried Zaha. We are so pedestrian and predictable it boggles the mind to actually offer any alternative to what has become a fat, bloated, predictable and very ordinary side. Where is the imagination and the cutting edge?
From the get go we were put in a pickle because within four minutes the seemingly unstoppable goal machine Daniel Sturridge was once again in the right place for Liverpool and we were down 0-1 before we even had a chance to get our first wind. These things happen, even the very best of teams occasionally concede an early goal, but this was different. Somehow in my mind and heart I just felt that from that point on we were doomed and never ever felt like we were a real threat to score and even the match.
That early goal was a dagger in our hearts and it seemed to shock us into submission. As usual, the culprit for allowing the goal was none other than our defensive albatross, Patrice Evra who up to that point, had been playing very well this season. His failure however cannot be fully placed at his feet. For some inexplicable reason, Evra had been given the responsibility to mark Liverpool’s in form striker, Sturridge. Again I have to utter WTF??????? In fairness to Evra, what in God’s name is a hobbit doing marking a striker on a corner kick? Why was not one of our CD’s responsible for Liverpool’s major goal scoring threat? That is for me a major tactical FUBAR and in a sport where one goal can make the difference, it is completely unforgivable.
United then missed great chances from RVP and Welbeck but then from that point on United seemed to have the majority of the ball but lacked any kind of composure or clinical finish. Particularly disappointing was the performance of talisman Robin van Persie. He seemed out of sorts all day and his lack of composure coupled with his fiery temper did not help matters much. It seemed to me at least that he was fighting the ball and himself and his frustration over the lack of proper service seemed to unsettle him. That also goes for the rest of the team who seemed to not have a clue of what to do with the ball in the attacking third. Defensively we weren’t bad. Other than the early goal by Sturridge, Liverpool never really created much but what they did do was seem in control of the match and never really felt threatened. In particular, I feel that Liverpool’s two central defenders Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger played very well and frustrated van Persie and others all day.
The less said about our midfield. They showed how inept and devoid they are of ideas. Add to that that our only bright hope in midfield, Michael Carrick today decided to take the afternoon off doesn’t help. Cleverley again was very disappointing as was Giggs, Jones and Young. Today our best midfielder was Anderson and he didn’t even play. That I believe says it all.
The rest of the first half and most of the second half seem to play right into the hands of Liverpool. Their compact if unspectacular midfield seemed in total control and our lads were seen making poor run after poor run with poor touches and careless passing culminating in nothing. Not until Valencia’s introduction after Phil Jones injured himself (yet again), did we show any kind of steam or energy. At that point Moyes switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation from that boring and very ineffective 4-4-2 he started with. Add to that the energy and fire of both Chicharito and Nani and we looked lively in the last fifteen minutes. Nothing much broke for us but we did have two great chances. Valencia’s rocket was stopped by Mignolet in the 78th minute and then unfortunately RVP capped off his poorest performance to date as a United player by being sent in beautifully by Chicharito in the final moments only to shoot wide.
And what of David Moyes? Well this is what he had to say after the match. “I thought we played very well. We gave away a bad goal in the opening few minutes but with the exception of that it was probably the best we’ve played this season.” Are you having a laugh at our expense Dave? Surely you must be kidding?
That was a pedestrian, unimaginative stinker of a performance. Moyes needs to wake the Hell up and assert himself and stop looking over his shoulder for Fergie’s approval.
It’s time to bench Giggs, get rid of some of the dead weight on this club and rebuild the club to your specifications Dave, Sir Alex’s. This club looks tired, bored and uninspired. It’s only the third match of the season and we have already given up five points to the leaders.
This club in this supporter’s opinion is just not good enough to mount a real charge for the title yet alone any other trophy. We are lacking in quality in midfield and our other players are not playing up to their capabilities. It’s time to shake things up and play some of the kids as well, do something already about Shinji Kagawa. He is too good to not be playing yet alone not even feature on the bench. And sorry but I do not buy the excuse of an injury. Without Rooney we are hopeless. Without at least two quality midfielders to partner Carrick we will struggle mightily to even finish in the top four.
This is the time of assertive action and stop living in denial. This club badly needs an injection of quality and a change in tactical approach. Panic? Why yes, I think it’s the right time to do so. You have a little over a day to make things right and to treat this club and the supporters with some respect and consideration for the loyalty and the money they place into the club’s coffers. It’s time for David Moyes and Edward Woodward to get their heads out of the sand and their asses in gear and make the proper moves that will prevent a disaster. Today was just a taste of things to come unless a wakeup call is sounded at Old Trafford