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Breaking down David Moyes’ United

2013/14 Squad in new kitNow ‘silly season’ is over I agree with many that the time is right to stop griping about the horror show transfer window and focus on how David Moyes can maximize results with the squad we have.

These are my own theories as to what I hope David Moyes does with the team by breaking down the positions, players and formations.

Let me start with a quick analysis of the players we have and what I believe is our best eleven.

Obviously there are no issues or questions about our goalkeepers. David De Gea is number one and he is developing at a rapid rate. I’d say that if he continues this rise in form he will be seen as a world class talent very soon. Anders Lindegaard is a solid backup but for me he is not a guy a put a lot of faith in for a prolonged period should De Gea get injured. Still, for the odd game and Capital One matches, I have no real issue with him.

Our starting back four is quality but aging rapidly. At Right Back we have the ever improving Rafael. A quality player who is growing by leaps and bounds. Now if he good just stay healthy. Rio Ferdninand and Namanja Vidic were both world class defenders in their day and they both can still do great job but like Rafael, injuries have become commonplace with them and the secret to their success is avoiding those injuries. Many already know I am not the biggest Patrice Evra fan out there as I still believe he is a defensive liability. But I am also fair. He has shown signs of improvement this season and toward the second half of last year. Despite his flaws, he is still one of the best Left Backs in the world and only marginally inferior to the often mentioned Leighton Baines. For now I have no real issue with him starting every game provided his fine form continues.

I am concerned however with his frame of mind considering Moyes tried so hard to buy Baines and was thwarted by late paperwork submissions in getting Fabio Coentrao. This has got to be playing on the little Frenchman’s mind.

Phil Jones injuredOur backups on defence are also solid if not spectacular. I have always like Phil Jones and I love his versatility but it’s high time we settled on him as a Central Defender in my book. He is no RB and he labours a bit as a defensive midfielder too. Jones is also one of those who has a hard time staying healthy and so that factor also I feel has slowed his progress.

The same can be said for Chris Smalling. This talent hardly features for us because his career has been totally derailed by long term injuries. I think the best thing for him is to send him out on loan so he can get his form back and play games.

Jonny Evans allows us that due to his availability and decent quality for a backup CD. Evans has improved but he still gets beat in the air too often for my liking as well as having the propensity to commit far too many red card fouls.

The remaining group of defenders hardly ever get a chance to showcase their skills. I’d personally like to see more of either Fabio or Alex Buttner but Evra keeps them on the bench. Still, I think they are quality substitutes and I hope one of them at least progresses to that next level. I am putting my money on Fabio, although again, I doubt Moyes sees it that way considering his man crush for Leighton Baines.

Our midfield is the basis of most of my tirades, frustrations and long bloated rants of anger and disapproval. Before we bought Marouane Fellaini I referred to our midfield as pedestrian and completely inadequate. Now that we have Fellaini I still think that although my view has calmed down moderately.

Carrick and FellainiI really like Fellaini as a player and I feel if used properly (and that is the key),he can really help us a lot at both ends of the pitch. His is a strong tackler, tenacious marker, physical player with decent creative skills and the ability to dominate in either box in the air. I believe he has filled 50% of what we most needed filling and fixing. Partnering him with Michael Carrick may not improve our creativity all that much but what it will do is ensure we have more possession, win the ball more often and start quick counter attacking transitions and severely limit opposition midfields from running the center of the pitch. Those two strong lads will make life for our back four much easier provided they both stay healthy.

Healthy is vital because what we have backing up Carrick and Fellaini in center midfield is not overly encouraging and to be honest, quite depressing. I used to be a real fan of Tom Cleverley and felt he had a bright future up until he had that serious injury and layoff. Since coming back he is not the player I remember. Long gone are the dashing runs, Paul Scholes style long balls and through balls and what has replaced all that is a timid, scared player that wants nothing to do with the ball at his feet. He constantly looks for the quick easy pass and just does not inject himself into a game the way he did pre-injury. I believe the talent is there but the head is not. Hopefully he will regain the confidence and the courage to be a player who thrives on the ball, not away from it.

As for Anderson, the less said the better. Sorry Anderson fans but this player has been my least favourite player on United for the past ten years, with the exception of Bebe. I just hate useless gits and I am wondering how many years does it take for United’s brain trust to figure out that what they have in Anderson is a king sized fat Brazilian lemon.

As for Ryan Giggs, one of the greatest players to ever suit up for United and arguably the greatest player ever in the history of the Barclays Premier League. But it’s over. It’s time to retire and if not, then definitely Giggsy needs to be used exclusively as a substitute where I think his experience and ability can be utilized in short spurts.

Another major question is will we ever see Darren Fletcher again? I hope we do. Fletcher complimenting Carrick and Fellaini gives us quality depth at DMF and that is something we have not had for a good long while. My best wishes to Fletch. I hope he returns and regains his position as a valuable and loyal servant to this club.

Our attacking midfielder/wingers are a mixed bag of nuts. There is quality there, but there is still unfulfilled potential an d questions that need to be answered.

shinji-kagawaThe biggest question is ‘what are David Moyes’ plans for Shinji Kagawa?’

Kagawa as we all know is a major topic of debate on this blog. Many absolutely love the lad while others like myself are not completely sold on his merits. Don’t get me wrong, I feel Shinji is a very fine little player with a strong skill set. What he isn’t however, is the Mesut Ozil or Juan Mata that we really need. What makes those players great is their world-class abilities but as well, they are adept at playing across the midfield at either wing position in a 4-4-2 or RAM, CAM or LAM in a 4-2-3-1 setup. Kagawa is not world-class and he really is only comfortable at CAM, although he has played the other positions for United as well as Borussia Dortmund. He also has Wayne Rooney in his way at CAM, so what do we do with him? Frankly he is too good not to start but where do you start him?

As for the other attacking midfielders/wingers, there are many questions to be asked. My most important question to David Moyes is when will he see fit to inject both Wilfried Zaha and Adnan Januzaj into the line-up? Both of these kids as well as Jesse Lingard are dynamic and incredibly skilful. Instead we are forced to endure the out of form and perpetually hurt Ashley Young, the declining form of Antonio Valencia and the invisible man, Louis Nani. I believe Nani is the best of the last three and he can do the best job in creating scoring opportunities. Valencia used to be reliable but he lacks the speed and variety of dribbling skills that gives him the separation needed to be really dynamic. Ashley Young is just a disappointment. A lot of skill and unfulfilled potential in my opinion.

For me the future is right now and that means Zaha must play as well as Januzaj and Kagawa. Zaha must start on the right side at the very least. Wayne Rooney complicates things for both Kagawa and Januzaj but they at least should get playing time as subs and the odd start. Right now they are rotting away and I am seeing Paul Pogba scenarios flashing in my head.

Up front is where the real quality of this club lies. Wayne Rooney seems to be a fixture for us at CAM these days but make no mistake, he is best as a striker. But the number one striker for us is of course Robin van Persie and in hi m we have a true talisman and the closest thing to Eric Cantona since Cantona himself. A great goal scorer and a great attitude makes him our leader and go to guy. But he needs service, much better service than he has been getting up to now. Hopefully Rooney will help provide that as well as the others mentioned.

Chicharito United heartJavier Hernandez for me is the real disappointment when it comes to this team. A player I absolutely love and a true professional with a fantastic attitude. The kid just scores goals but he has been given little chance to do that under Fergie and especially now under Moyes. Supposedly he was injured but now he is back and he needs to feature more. His goals per minutes play is fantastic despite the fact he is not strong at other elements of the game. Who cares, he scores goals. If we played a true 4-3-3 like Barcelona and Bayern last season, we could use Chicharito in the middle and use Rooney and RVP on the sides. But instead Fergie always gravitated to Danny Welbeck instead of Hernandez. Moyes seems to have followed suit. Welbeck is a decent player but he hasn’t got 1/10th the scoring ability Hernandez has and for me a striker is all about scoring goals. If Welbeck created goals like an Ozil I’d shut up, but he doesn’t. Welbeck for me doesn’t show up in big games against physical teams. He has skill but he is soft. Chicharito on the other hand is not afraid to get in the box and the fact he grabs so many goals inside the 6 yard box is a testament to his guts and his goal scoring instincts. Regardless of who plays between those two, they are both quality and we are the deepest team in the league when it comes to strikers. Now if we could increase the service to them, we would truly be awesome.

Now let me offer up my view as to what our best starting line-up is and what I feel are the best tactical formations to bring out the best in this talented bunch.

I am a real believer in 4-2-3-1 but I also like the old traditional 4-3-3 where the front three are not spread apart but rather compact. Like I said earlier, that formation would help us best utilize a triad of Rooney, Hernandez and RVP in a game and make them all strikers while the LS and RS would have added duties of tracking back a bit. In this setup I would line-up Carrick as the RMF, Fellaini as CMF and Nani or Ashley Young as LMF, or possibly even Cleverley. It’s not the best formation defensively but would maximize our scoring chances due to the fact we would be utilizing our best three frontline players. Now if we could replace Nani with a Herrera or Mata etc in the future, then we would be truly dynamic. The back four would of course stay the same.

My other formation, the 4-2-3-1 requires RVP to be the lone striker with three attacking midfielder behind him. My preference then would be Zaha at RAM, Rooney at CAM and either Nani, Welbeck or Kagawa at LAM. Valencia and Young could back up the two wide players and Kagawa could also play in Rooney’s spot when needed as could Fellaini. I don’t know of any other formations that for me utilize our frontline talent better.

Our two deep lying midfielders in this formation of course would be Fellaini and Carrick, backed up by Cleverley, Fletcher and Anderson. And as usual our back four would remain the same.

I am not a fan of 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 and I hate formations that spread us out too wide as to create areas for opponents to find space and attack. In that way I think a lot like Mourinho but without as much pragmatic caution as he displayed against us in the 0-0 draw. No False 9’s for me either. Not when you have the strike force we have. I also feel that with the formations I mentioned, pressing high up the pitch, running a fast paced counter attack and moving well off the ball guarantees success.

Over the years, despite our success, I grew tired of our slow build up, our sagging zone defence, and our terrible movement off-the-ball despite Fergie always getting wins using it. Moyes will not be so fortunate if he employs the same mentality. I want us to play the style of attack and transition utilized by Dortmund. Fast paced, high press and in your face for 90 minutes.

Despite all my doom and gloom and depressing forecasting due to this past summer, the acquisition of Fellaini does solve one major problem and hopefully by adding significant playing time to players like Zaha, Kagawa, Januzaj and Hernandez, the drought we are presently experiencing will become a distant memory and the goals will begin to pour out.

As unhappy as I am about our transfer season antics and tomfoolery, the club we have may not be good enough to win the league, but they still could achieve that unlikely goal if David Moyes utilizes all the quality talent he has, sits down the dead weight and incorporates tactics and strategies that will open up our attack and lead to goals and attractive play. That is the United way and that is all I can really ask for at this present time. I wish Moyes the best of luck and hope he doesn’t live up to all my previous expectations.



  1. Fergie Time app

    5 September 2013 at 08:55

    Hernandez has been a true professional and his love for United shows.. but you have to wonder how long can he continue to be motivated without being given proper chances?

  2. The red baron

    5 September 2013 at 09:56

    Just seen the 25 man squad list announced for this season.Can see where moyes chain of thought now. No Zaha, januzaj or Lingard.So much for the promotion of fresh young talent (not)!.Better get used to the sight of the usual suspects, young, giggs, toni v…..etc, week in week out.Im saying know more. πŸ™„

    • Stephen

      5 September 2013 at 10:13

      @The red baron: Er Zaha is in the Champions League squad.

      • The red baron

        5 September 2013 at 10:19

        @Stephen: Pl squad just announced. Not in that.

        • Stephen

          5 September 2013 at 10:35

          @The red baron: Rules state that clubs can have no more than 17 players who are not deemed to be ‘home grown’, but may have as many U-21 stars as they like.

          The Premier League says: “A Home Grown player will be defined as one who, irrespective of his nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to the Football Association or the Football Association of Wales for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons or 36 months prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the season during which he turns 21

          So in a nut shell, they are.

  3. red astair

    5 September 2013 at 09:58

    I agree that Phil Jones is a much better prospect as a CD than as a midfielder, but, rather than not play him I would like to see a formation and play him alongside Fellaini. I would than move Carrick into the CAM position and have Kagawa and Rooney interchanging between RAM and LAM, with RVP as the lone striker. If needs be Carrick could drop back and we would have a 4.3.3. The back four when fit, picks itself, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra. I believe this is our strongest line up at the moment. Using rotation it would be possible to bed in Zaha, Januzaj in the RAM and LAM positions and Hernandez as an alternate lone striker. For now, the other squad members must be bit part players and used as needed.

    • Grognard

      5 September 2013 at 16:17

      @red astair: 4-5-3-1? With that formation mate, we could even beat Barca…….maybe. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

      But seriously, I can see the merit of your idea and I concur.

      • red astair

        6 September 2013 at 06:25

        @Grognard: Well spotted. I wondered if anyone would notice. 4-2-3-1 😳

    • The_Philosopher

      5 September 2013 at 18:31

      @The red baron: @red astair: There’s no width there though mate.

      Who’s going to be thumping in the crosses?

      The fullbacks?

      • red astair

        6 September 2013 at 06:40

        @The_Philosopher: Both Rafael and Evra get forward a lot and are quite capable of putting crosses in. Having the two DM’s means that when the fullbacks get forward they have cover.

        • The_Philosopher

          6 September 2013 at 10:35

          @red astair: Ok I hear that

      • Stephen

        6 September 2013 at 13:48

        @The_Philosopher: with the quality young, valencia provide recently there wouldn’t be any width even if we had them playing…

  4. ben

    5 September 2013 at 10:50

    I have seen some skills and talent in januzaj or Lingard. But i dont think they are ready to start yet. I hope they go on loan and gain more first team challenge and maybe in 1-2 years they are ready. Zaha will the one for me to starts but he needs to know more experience as well. In one of the pre season match, he is so quiet in one of the match as he was mark out.

    I think our team is alright but if we can get one more good midfielder it will be better. Our winger and forward is alright. Just need more time on field and confidence.

    The part where im more concern is our defense as many of the players is aging and we need more backup as Jones and Smalling seems to always pick up injuries.

    • Stephen

      5 September 2013 at 10:53

      @ben: Evans? We have 5 International centre halfs on our books, I think we are fine.
      Out wide, we still lack a natural left footer and dare I say in the centre of midfied, we still have no creativity, bar Kagawa, who is a number 10.

    • Grognard

      5 September 2013 at 16:19

      @ben: Perhaps that is the case with Januzaj and Lingard, but not with Zaha. Zaha is ready right now. Perhaps not against clubs like City or Chelsea where tracking pack is needed and individualism is frowned upon but against everyone else he would do well.

      • The_Philosopher

        5 September 2013 at 18:34

        @The red baron: @red astair: There’s no width there though mate.

        Who’s going to be thumping in the crosses?

        The fullbacks?@Grognard: Agreed Grog@Grognard: Agreed Grog

    • Grognard

      5 September 2013 at 16:21

      @ben: Also, I partially agree about the back four. We are solid now but age is a factor so next season signing a quality LB and CB is necessary.

    • The_Philosopher

      6 September 2013 at 11:05

      @ben: They might not be ready to start but they have earned the chance for a cameo have the two lads Januzaj and Lingard.

      But Moyes hasn’t even given Zaha a chance. In our last two games we failed to score. We were fresh out of ideas and Moyes,the genius, doesn’t use an explosive and creative player like Zaha.

      Its been rumoured that RVP isn’t happy with the quality of Moyes’ coaching. I wouldn’t doubt that for a second.

      Thats why he was forced to come out and endorse the manager publically.

      Why is it so difficult to see that Zaha is the answer for our right wing? Yeah sure he is not ready to wear the no.7 just yet but he can make a meaningful contribution off the bench today! Even against Chelsea and Liverpool Zaha would have had an impact coming off the bench.

      But oh no Moyes chooses Ryan Giggs instead. Judging Moyes based on the results of his first three games the guy is brain dead. Because he should have played Zaha against Swansea as well. πŸ™„

  5. Stephen

    5 September 2013 at 11:01

    Back to the article, totally agree Ian, you are spot on.

    • jos

      5 September 2013 at 14:38

      @Stephen: I have a sneaky suspicion this article is written by ol’ Grog and not Ian πŸ™‚

      Not just suspicion. I think I am right about it!!

    • Ian

      5 September 2013 at 14:46

      How could you mistake Grogs writing? Although admittedly, for a change, I did ‘tidy it up’ in places to shorten it… know what Grogs like when he gets going!

  6. Julian

    5 September 2013 at 11:58

    I think on the whole that’s an accurate assessment. What’s done is most certainly done and we must now look to the future. What we have to realise from the start is that Moyes is conservative in his approach to team selection and tactics. He has none of the gambler about him which Fergie demonstrated periodically. This point about conservatism is compounded by the fact that Moyes is stepping into a job at a club where there has been unprecedented success over a long time. He now has to prove that he is up to it knowing that there is a myriad of doubters ready to pounce at his every mistake and bad result. Its a thankless task taking over what is really the biggest football management job in the world not only because its United but also because of Fergie. Having said that, no manager with any sort of ambition would have turned it down. So this is one of the reasons why we have not seen a clear out of what some of us might consider “deadwood”. In that regard, Anderson should not even be here still and I fully agree, Giggs should have hung up his boots when Fergie left. Zaha and Januzaj are exceptional talents who should be on the periphery of the first team and yet it looks as if they are being cast into the shadows for the time being. One can only hope that Moyes will have studied the Pogba case and won’t allow the same thing to happen with these two. In that regard, Januzaj, who is brimming with confidence and talent, should be given his chance to be in the first team. Kagawa, despite his experience, is another designated to sit on the bench and he too could become disenchanted unless he sees some action and feels part of the scheme of things. If Fellaini plays in a central role it should allow Kagawa to become the attacking playmaker with Rooney playing off RVP. On the other hand Rooney can play in the space behind the strikers with Welbeck and RVP given more time to forge a partnership. Don’t be surprised, though, to see Fellani playing a more attacking midfield role – as he did with Everton. This means Rooney playing in a support striking role but no room for Kagawa. Once again, Moyes is likely to go with what he’s used to. It’s just that conservatism coming through again.

    • The_Philosopher

      6 September 2013 at 11:54

      @Julian: Moyes is conservative you say.

      Consevative or retarded. Unimaginative. Boring maybe as well? Dull is a good one too. Uncultured perhaps? Certainly unsophisticated.

      Moyes is as tough as a rock they say. Based on his last three outings he is also as dumb as a rock.

      Moyes is conservative because he doesn’t know any better.

      He has never played the game at this level before so he is taking baby steps.

      Warren Buffet said of investment that diversifying is only for people who don’t know what they are doing. Same goes for Moyes he is being conservative because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

      Moyes hasn’t got a clue. Mourinho had the guts and quite frankly the confidence and know how to play us without a recognised striker.

      Mourinho played new signings and managed to get a draw at Old Trafford because he has enough in his locker to take bold decisions like that without fear of recrimination.

      Moyes on the other hand is a little man in a big man’s shoes.

      You speak of Ferguson being a gambler. Sir Alex gambled because he had a good hunch. He had a solid idea. The man could think. And so he would regularly go against convention.

      I seriously doubt Moyes has the tactical skills necessary for that kind of gambling.

      I’m really angry with David Moyes not because he lost but because of how he lost. If he had throw Zaha on in the Liverpool game and had a real go at it I wouldn’t be so upset.

      I could accept a draw and a defeat in our last three games if he had at least played with some intelligence and guts. But the performances on display against Liverpool and Chelsea were awful.

      Moyes is in over his head. He had better learn to swim quick before its too late.

      Even if Moyes studied the Pogba case I doubt he’s smart enough to come to the conclusion that he needs to play Januzaj.

      Januzaj is fearless. He has bags of skill, talent and potential. The kid is so confident and wouldn’t be dauntless playing the league. But no…. Its too risky for Moyes to consider.

      Based on what I have seen of David Moyes in the past two months I have zero confidence in him.

      I’m gonna give him a season to perhaps win me over.

  7. Sahal

    5 September 2013 at 12:48

    although not spectacular…Carrick,Fellaini and Kagawa/Rooney can be a perfect interconnected midfield.
    You have a retainer of possession and calmness in Carrick,tackling and physicality in Fellaini and creativity in Kagawa and Rooney.
    By no means am I suggesting that Fellaini has made our midfield into world class,we still lack a lot of depth and another ball player…but he has added something we’ve needed.
    I really hope he does well and look forward to his battles against the likes of Toure and Capoue

  8. colver

    5 September 2013 at 13:25

    Good points. Here is my take on things:

    Goal: We are solid. I am very impressed at the way we have kept faith in De Gea and avoided the succession problem that dogged us with Schmeichel.

    Defence: The main issue I have is that Rio and Vidic cannot go on forever and Smalling and Evans both look fragile. Certainly Jones needs to be given game time as a central defender. Evra is good for another season or two. But next summer we need to sign an experienced central defender.

    Midfield: You nailed it. Anderson and Cleverley are not the solution to our midfield problems. Fellaini is half the solution but we also need a replacement for Paul Scholes.

    Wingers: Nani needs to be reinstated as first choice and played every game. He is the closest thing we have to a world class winger. Valencia seems to have lost confidence but he is a useful squad player. Young is simply not good enough. So it is essential we blood Zaha rather than falling back on Giggs or playing Welbeck out of position.

    Attack: Moyes did not solve the Rooney problem. For now we seem to have patched things up with Moyes going so far as to say we missed him against Liverpool and going out of his way to praise his Chelsea performance. But the second we even think of benching Rooney all the problems will flare up again. While Kagawa will only be able to fulfil his promise and adapt to the Premier League if he is played every week. Van Persie is the man but it is dangerous to rely on him too much. While Hernandez and Welbeck need regular games to become the finished article. The only solution is to rotate but I do not see Moyes dropping Rooney or Van Persie.

    • The_Philosopher

      6 September 2013 at 10:38

      @colver: Moyes won’t rotate because he is too dull to make it work.

      Too much brain power required for that I’m affraid

      Simple Simon can only think of one thing at a time.

  9. colver

    5 September 2013 at 13:31

    My first XI would be:

    De Gea-Rafael, Rio, Vidic, Evra-Zaha, Fellaini, Carrick, Nani-Rooney-Van Persie

    But in Europe I’d play Kagawa ahead of Rooney and Valencia instead of Zaha

    • jos

      5 September 2013 at 14:42

      @colver: Like.

      Only I’d rather play 4-2-3-1 in league and 4-3-3 in europe.

      carrick fellaini protecting back four.

      Three attacking players in nani, roonry, kagawa and RVP in front.

      In euorpe it should be anderson/cleverly suppementing carrick and fellaini in the middle and nani rvp and rooney/kagawa up front.

  10. JW

    5 September 2013 at 14:14

    Moyes rates Nani, he tried to sign him for Everton. I see RVP, Rooney, Nani and Kagawa/Welbeck as the front 4. I think he will play Kagawa where Japan plays him, ‘inside-left’ position, but free to roam inside. Carrick and Fellaini pick themselves, as long as the ‘old men’ are fit, its just Rafa to come back in at RB.
    I think Moyes will keep this formation and others will be rotated as necessary for freshness/injuries etc.
    I can see Herrera being signed as an eventual replacement of Carrick. I also hope Adnan continues to be fast-tracked to compete in that ‘inside-left’ position. Whoever plays in that position under Moyes will be expected to be much more central than under Fergie, hence Moyes’ requirement for a LB that can continually bomb down the line on the outside. Expect a new LB sooner rather than later.
    Where can this team finish in the league? First of course!
    Can it win cups? Maybe, but they have rarely been a United ‘priority’, so much luck is in the draws, injuries and temporary form.

    • The_Philosopher

      6 September 2013 at 10:45

      @JW: My confidence in Moyes has been severely knocked thanks to his propensity to not win and his dithering in the market.

      Another manager could win the league with this squad. I don’t know if Moyes can. . .

      Maybe in a year or two when he’s got his bearings he might be able to win things but right now he is struggling heavily.

      His performances against City and Palace will be important.

      Mourinho would win the league with this squad. Easy.

  11. tonymontanna4united

    5 September 2013 at 14:54

    Good write up Ian, I agree with most of it.
    Right now I think our best 11 is:

    ———De Gea———

    That front 4 especially needs as much game time together as possible.
    No starting Giggs, Young or Valencia anymore. Those 3 are either past it, not good enough to begin with or in Valencia’s case, woefully out of form with no signs of things getting any better for him (saying that I thought he was decent at RB when he came on last week and wouldn’t mind him playing there if needs must).
    I wasn’t and still am not completely sold on Fellaini, but having a think about it if there’s one big positive about his arrival it’s that it makes the chances of that front 4 being played together, that much more likely to happen.
    Fellaini adds a solidness, and physicality. I can imagine a lot of players seeing him and thinking “oh fuck, I’m gonna have to try and avoid that guy” which might mean we don’t see our midfield run through so much.
    Rooney, despite being a grade a c**t in my books, and someone I will never really support or like again no matter what he does, might somewhat get his game back now he doesn’t have to keep dropping so deep into midfield thanks to Fellaini too, which is only a positive.
    Kagawa on the left meanwhile isn’t great, but playing him in a much narrower 3 and more fluid 3 off the front man, would still maintain we get so see a very good Shinji Kagawa, if not a Kagawa at his best.
    I still stand behind what I said last week, that Baines would have been a great signing, for Kagawa in particular. Baines’ runs forward and the way he almost plays like a winger would have meant Kagawa could have played narrower still, and I really think he would have kicked up the kind of understanding that Baines had with Pienaar. Coentrao likewise. Shame we couldn’t get either done.
    As for the rest, well agree again. Zaha needs game, and should start against his old club next week if rooney is out. The kid is ready now. Januzaj and Lingard also deserve atleast a place on the bench in the odd games, as the players ahead of them have hardly impressed, and after their pre season performances need some encouragement that they’re not just going to be forgotten about and left to rot in the reserves.
    Hernandez too I hope will get plenty of games this season, as he’s just too damn good to rot on the bench.

    So overall, as I’ve said before, yeah this side has got the basis of a good squad. That front 4 I’ve mentioned, alongside the likes of Hernandez, Welbeck, Lingard, Zaha, Januzaj and Valencia in certain games, is really very very good.
    Problem comes in however that It can so easily be outdone and made to look very average by starting something similar to what we saw last week at anfield, with the likes of Valencia, Young, Welbeck and Giggs preferred instead.
    Fergie in later years seemed to love picking these work man like triers over flair players like Nani, Kagawa, Januzaj, Zaha etc who could get us playing better and create chances, and it really hurt our football.
    So far Moyes seems to be going down the same route.
    It’s early days, but I really hope he doesn’t make a habit of this, as if he does he won’t come out of it the same as Fergie did still getting results unfortunately.

  12. Ian

    5 September 2013 at 14:59

    Can’t agree with you on Giggs, has his place in the right games.

    Anderson’s mint.

    As for Zaha and Januzaj……rotting? Are you writing a drama? Haha

    • tonymontanna4united

      5 September 2013 at 16:22

      @Ian: There’s only so much you can learn from reserve football Ian.
      Lingard and Januzaj are at that the point now where I think they have outgrown it, and it’s now time they were either given chances with the first team or loaned out.
      The fact a loan option wasn’t considered in this case I’d hope has to mean they will get their chances with the first team at some point.
      But with players like Rooney, Kagawa, Nani, Valencia, Young and Giggs ahead of them, and with my concerns that Moyes might take the safety first option and go with the so called tried and tested of Valencia, Young, Giggs etc most weeks, leaving them without even a place on the bench despite deserving their opportunities due to the poor performances of the aforementioned, then yes it could be described as being left to rot, despite sounding dramatical.
      We’ll have to wait and see I guess, but I just have concerns that we have too many players for too few spots, and wanting to keep them all happy will mean very few opportunities for the youngsters.
      I hope not anyway because whatever your opinions regarding Lingard and Januzaj and whether they are ready or not, Zaha in any case should most definitely be getting games now as he’s more than ready.

      • Ian

        5 September 2013 at 20:56

        @tonymontanna4united: I agree with all that I just think that ‘rotting’ is a bit OTT at this point. They both got plenty of minutes during the tour and we’re only 3 games into the season…..that’s hardly rotting.

        If he’d used bursting or itching or desperate for a chance in the reserves then ok, but they aint rotting yet.

        • tonymontanna4united

          6 September 2013 at 13:43

          @Ian: Fair enough mate. Rotting was a bit strong, but it was just my worst case scenario of them not getting any games at all and being left in the reserves, not saying it will happen that way, lets hope not anyway.

    • Stephen

      5 September 2013 at 17:12

      @Ian: Polo mint more like, he has been at the club for 6 season and has had a handful of good games. He should have been shipped out seasons ago.
      He is over weight, has a lazy attitude and is frankly uselss.

      • Ian

        5 September 2013 at 20:51

        That’s unfair…..give the lad a chance! πŸ˜†

        • Stephen

          6 September 2013 at 08:56

          @Ian: I have given the porky Brazilian 6 years, how long do you want me to give him! πŸ˜† πŸ˜†
          I have to giving Nani a 5 year contract and Β£120k a week is madness.

  13. tonymontanna4united

    5 September 2013 at 16:27

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
    Brilliant news as far as I’m concerned. I know he has his faults, but for me anyway he’s by far our best winger and our greatest goal threat outside of our forwards.
    Hopefully when he get’s his chances, he’ll take them and get back to his brilliant form of 2 years ago. If he does, he can quite easily get 10 goals this season and as many assists.
    Dare I say it, he’s almost like a new signing.

    • jos

      5 September 2013 at 17:15

      @tonymontanna4united: so this summer we have actually signed two midfielders – fellaini and nani. pretty good i’d say.

      keeping nani must be the best thing moyes has done so far, up there with fellainni signing. he should be given credit for that. SAF almost drove out nani (and same thing he did with rooney). lets see if moyes can keep rooney as well. summer is looking not so bad suddenly really.

      • tonymontanna4united

        5 September 2013 at 18:12

        @jos: We really need to get Januzaj tied down to a new deal now as well because as far as I’m aware he’s into the last 12 months of his contract now (someone correct me if I’m wrong).
        Nani and Januzaj on new deals and Fellaini coming in, still doesn’t excuse the way we’ve gone about our business this summer, but it is atleast a better scenario than many of us envisaged a few days ago.

        • jos

          5 September 2013 at 18:29

          @tonymontanna4united: lets hope he’ll get that. from all reports he has a deal in front of him and he might sign as he has not shown any inclination to leave so far. i am sure he will get his chances. he will need to be eased in. he is no ronaldo really.

          truth be told i am happy with moyes so far. the transfer dealings are all woodword mess as moyes had himself comfirmed woods was the one doing the negotiations. but he has handled rooney and nani situation very well. sir alex left those two on the verge of exits but now we might seee the very best of both this season and nani is tied for long term (which means management has confidence in him taking over giggs role.) finally nani can also focus on his game (imp in wc year) and not worry about contract etc unlike last year.

        • Jay Wire

          6 September 2013 at 10:03

          @tonymontanna4united: I agree.. I have noticed over the years the attitude at United which I feel is wrong. There is this obsession with experience that is so counterproductive. Apparently Januzaj is not ready for first team football in the same way Pogba wasn’t. We need to really consider our ways and do some introspection. There is a widely accepted myth that United is one of the best clubs around for giving youth a chance. This is exaggerated. Can we claim to be on the same level in that regard Arsenal,Barca,Atletico Madrid,Ajax,Dortmund etc. These are clubs that trust their youth sysytem enough to give young prodigies a chance into their own teams. Not much loaning out and reserve football which results in very little progress. Year after year we salivate over young rising stars of other clubs. We wish we could have our own Hazard or Gotze or El Sharaawy or Eriksen or Thiago or Wilshere. All of them were given chances in the first team right away. No loans no delays. Now they cost upwards of Β£30m each. Right now if we try to buy Pogba I can bet you Β£30m will not be enough. But he could easily have been at OT. Spilt milk I know,but the culture hasn’t changed. We are still debating whether Januzaj is ready for first team football or maybe we should send him out on loan. What’s the difference between him and Hazard when he came on the scene. Same as Thiago. They all showed promise when given the chance just like AJ.

          The other problem with loans is the club taking the player do so as a back up most times.Remember Rossi at Newcastle. And the other thing is these clubs are normally low quality teams in lower leagues were the player learns very little. So maybe this loan business is not as useful as we think.Welbeck and Cleverley benefitted to a certain extent but with the kind of extraordinary talent that Januzaj is,my opinion is we go the route of the other super clubs and take the risk of trying out the player and see what happens.If we lose him to some big club like we did with Pogba,then someone needs to be fired. Apperently he is on his last year on his contract and this can easily turn into a Pogba situation because of the slow motion tactics this club has become notorious for. I know it’s a risk but maybe we should start taking gambles. It could save us a fortune in the future and also help young prodigies to be attracted to United because you can get a chance.Right now the truth is Januzaj may actually have a better chance at progress at Barcelona as we saw with Pique. They do give young players a shot at the biggest stage. I want the same to be said about United. A club that gives real talent a chance and allows legends to retire in peace

    • Stephen

      5 September 2013 at 17:24

      @tonymontanna4united: You had a pop at Valencia, Young and Giggs for having a poor season. But on the other hand praise Nani, who was equally poor. I am glad he has signed another contract, but it is time he also produced. Don’t forget, Valencia was our player of the season before last. Skilful players seem to get a pass from some fans, regardless of form.

      • tonymontanna4united

        5 September 2013 at 18:04

        @Stephen: I never said Nani was anything great either so not sure what your going on about mate.
        All I’ll say though in defence of Nani was that he was hardly played last season. Getting a game here and then not playing for the next 4 was the norm for him whereas Valencia was pretty much playing every game week in week out no matter how bad his performances.
        I still think Nani is our best winger by quite a distance though and I stand by that.
        Valencia is a good player much as I’m not a massive fan, and he does have his uses. You might remember Neville last season when talking about city on MNF and saying their lack of width in the side cost them at times.
        Well Valencia is perfect for us in that regard, able to come in in certain games where we do need something different and can offer us that wide threat and put crosses in for our front men.
        I’m prepared to give him time to get back to his best, but tbh it’s a bit concerning now because again unlike Nani, Valencia seems to have been afforded so much time already with no sign of his game improving from last season. I hope it’s just a matter of time but as I say I have my concerns.
        I’m personally hoping Nani will be afforded a new start with this new contract and will start the game against Palace and then get a regular run in the team with Valencia as back up.
        With Rafael injured at the minute I wouldn’t mind Valencia at RB as he is more suited there than Jones and it might get his confidence up a bit because he just doesn’t look the same player anymore playing on the wing.
        Where he was once so confident at having a run at players and putting a cross in, he now barely makes a move or forward pass, and every game just seems to take the safe option and pass back to the full back. And his deliveries are awful.
        As I say hopefully Valencia and Nani both pick up their games, but right now I’d afford more time and patience for Nani because he’s not had as much of a run in the side as Valencia has and tbh we need as many goals in the team as possible right now and Nani offers us a much greater goal threat than Valencia.

      • jos

        5 September 2013 at 18:25

        @Stephen: stephen you gotta admit sir alex had a big hand in that. our midfield was pants last season which meant there was unusual pressure on the likes of nani, vally rooney etc to track back and help with defence.

        hopefully with the signing of fellani they should have more freedom to express themselves. and would you not like a nani in his full flow. there are very few players in the league better than an in form nani really. i hope he can get back to his best. if moyes can do that it would be one of his big successes (after getting him tied to the long term deal).

  14. colver

    5 September 2013 at 17:32

    I think a big reason our wingers sucked last season is that Van Persie is not your traditional striker who likes to get on the end of crosses. He prefers things through the middle and that is what he was used to at Arsenal. Valencia’s best season was when he was whipping in those trademark crosses for Rooney time after time.

    I think we should have a more compact midfield with wingers who cut inside. That would allow Kagawa and Nani to have the chance to get into goal scoring positions and have a greater influence on play.

  15. The_Philosopher

    5 September 2013 at 18:12

    Thanks Groggy this is a nice positive piece. You’re great to have around. Appreciate it mate. And I appreciate you.

    On De Gea I agree with your view.

    Ferdinand is the more infirm of the first choice central pairing. So I would like to see Vidic partnered more regularly with Evans or Jones.

    Ferdinand can give Vida a rest every now and then. But playing the two old war horses together at the back leaves us liable to concede to a pacey attack.

    Rafael is great at right back. But I’m seriously wondering whether we shouldn’t be playing Valencia at right back as well. That would offer Moyes yet another selection nightmare because in my opinion, I really think Valencia would do well at RB and that is where he could perhaps still put in some world class performances considering his dedication, responsibilty, reliability, work ethic and erstwhile attack prowess.

    We missed out on Fabio Coentrao. Moyes couldn’t make his mind up early enough about signing him, which is a heavy indictment in my book. So Evra is all we have. Thats almost good enough.

    Phil Jones is a great kid and I agreed that its high time he played at CB. I think we need to give him a run alongside Vidic and alternate between Vida and Rio but let Jones play throughout.

    Evans as you say is good back so I think he can pick up the Capital One Cup games etc. . .

    You’re spot on with regards to Smalling. The kid needs to go out on loan. Sitting on the bench isn’t helping his development or his confidence.

    Fabio needs to be let go. There is no place for him at United in my opinion. As great as he is there is no happy ending for him at United.

    He is a natural right back and therefore will never excel at left back. He is right footed so playing on the left will always be awkward for him especially at a club that looks a lot to the flanks for crosses.

    The best thing for Fabio to do is to go sign a contract at another top club where he will be the first choice right back.

    Marouane Fellaini for me is first and foremost a physical presence at the base of our midfield. His purpose is to shield our back four and to start attacking plays from deep. He is the guy who gives players like Carrick licence to roam freely and pick passes out and dictate play.

    With Fellaini sitting deep a player like Kagawa, playing at no.10, should have the freedom to plot and scheme a way through oposition lines without feeling too burdened to track back.

    That is where Fellaini holds the most value for me. His ability to hold the fort and give our more gifted attackers the freedom to play a bit of footie.

    Cleverley I agree isn’t the same player who showed so much promise before his massive Kevin Davis injury. But with time he should come into his own. He is very useful to have around.

    Anderson isn’t United’s most popular player I will concede that much. But I really struggle to write him off. If you could wave a magic wand and to get rid of one player in this squad, I would choose Rooney before ejecting Anderson.

    Thats not to say I value Anderson. Thats how much I don’t like Rooney.

    I will still my neck out and say that I do see some value in a Anderson/Fellaini partnership in midfield. And that pairing would be even further amplified if they had Nani and Zaha on the wings with RVP and Kagawa playing infront of them.

    As far as Giggs is concerned gone are the days of 90min games for him. He has is good days and bad days. But he needs to start wrapping his career up now. Substitute performances are the way forward. And a limited number of them at that.

    Darren Fletcher is a tough one. If he can come back fit and play at decent enough level we will have a very solid midfield indeed. But the question is can he still play a full 90 minutes without his condition flairing up again?

    Shinji Kagawa. This one will be vital for me. It will tell me all I need to know about David Moyes. If he allows Shinji to languish on the bench I will know that he is dull and dim witted and very limited as a manager. David Moyes’ handling of Shinji Kagawa will let me know if he is ment to be the next United manager or not.

    You can’t overlook an obvious talent like Kagawa. When will the powers that be recognise the potential of an RVP/Kagawa partnership?

    Given the current squad setup; the fact that Rooney is king and will therefore walk into the CAM position. And also considering the demerits of Ashley Young, Shinji Kagawa should be given a chance at LAM.

    But then that begs the question where do you play Nani and Zaha?

    “For me the future is right now and that means Zaha must play as well as Januzaj and Kagawa.”

    Oh these words are so sweet. Like mana and honey from the Heavens. But I dare not swallow them because Moyes is starting to look, to me, like the most backwards manager I have ever seen.

    The future is now? What?!? I seriously doubt Moyes would oblige us with such a racey philosophy. So I’m not holding my breathe on this one.

    Although I would love to see Kagawa, Januzaj and Zaha playing on the same pitch together, I think I have beter chances of winning the lottery than seeing that happen this year. Moyes hasn’t got a clue.

    It definately is Paul Pogba time for Januzaj. He’s good enough to play and we’re not playing him. Whats to stop Barca or Dortmund or Napoli from calling up his agent.

    Moyes is busy flogging that dead horse Valencia on the right. We would be very lucky indeed to see Januzaj, let alone Lingard, in actual games that matter.

    “If we played a true 4-3-3 like Barcelona and Bayern last season, we could use Chicharito in the middle and use Rooney and RVP on the sides. But instead Fergie always gravitated to Danny Welbeck instead of Hernandez. Moyes seems to have followed suit.”

    Moyes has followed suit because he can’t think for himself.

    I hope to see Chicha. But can Moyes rotate with as much success as Ferguson did?

    • johnsom33

      10 September 2013 at 10:18

      @The_Philosopher: You would prefer Jones to Evans? I for the life of me cant understand what everyone sees in Jones. he has a great work rate and athleticism but his technical ability is pretty poor. If he turns out as good as John Oshea then I would be happy.

  16. The_Philosopher

    5 September 2013 at 18:46

    I’m so happy with our new signing Fellaini.

    Moyes is an idiot for not getting him in July.

    But I’m happy he’s here.

    I think I have a man crush on him

    No homo

  17. Gator

    5 September 2013 at 18:54

    good article groggy!

    any chance we might use the diamond?

    back 4
    Zaha Nani
    RVP Roony

    That would put alot of pressure on fellaini to perform and shuns carrick but it gets more attackers forward.

    should be interesting to see how DM does it.

    • Gator

      5 September 2013 at 18:58

      @Gator: 4231 i like alot but the compromise is kagowa roony spot

    • jos

      5 September 2013 at 19:36

      @Gator: useful to try agianst cannon fodder sides to give carrick some rest. i like this formation really.more like 4-1-4-1 πŸ™‚

    • Grognard

      5 September 2013 at 22:01

      @Gator: I doubt it. Seems kind of obsolete these days especially since most teams play with two DMF’s.

      • Redrich

        6 September 2013 at 04:53

        -@Grognard: Which means that most teams play with one up front. If we where to adopt this scheme, it would be bad news for United, who cannot provide a goal scoring threat from midfield. πŸ˜‰

  18. Redrich

    6 September 2013 at 02:54

    Woodward’s very next move: 5 more years for Nani. Good bit of business that. 😯

  19. JARaven

    6 September 2013 at 04:40

    i think Moyes was after a new LB because Evra has probably told him he wants to head back home to France. Evra, as captain, is probably flexible until we find a world class replacement. I wouldn’t be surprised if he leaves in January if Fabio & Buttner prove reliable.

  20. Redrich

    6 September 2013 at 05:35

    I mean to say. Nani has played all his cards right. He has not learned the native tongue well, he has managed to be one of the most fragile of players in our recent history, and has shown us only sporadic glimpses of the good player he was supposed to be.

    Apparently, this was the right combination of FU’s that made EW give him a huge 5 year deal that will take him far beyond any due date.

    On the brighter side, could this possibly mean the end of Young??

    • jos

      6 September 2013 at 05:47

      @Redrich: that indeed is brighter side if it is πŸ™‚

    • Julian

      6 September 2013 at 07:38

      @Redrich: The idea of giving Nani a new contract would have been down to Moyes not Woodward. Having been given the green light by DM, EW would have negotiated the detail. Moyes has always liked Nani and tried to buy him when he was at Everton.

    • tonymontanna4united

      6 September 2013 at 14:12

      @Redrich: Come on mate, Nani has shown much more than just glimpses in his time here.
      Between January 2010 and the end of the 2011 season, he was absolutely sublime. I know stats aren’t the be all and end all but 45 goals/assists in 70 odd games in amazing. That’s as good as anything Bale was doing when he played on the wing and was described as “world class” for.
      It was only because of his, berbas and hernandez’s goals afterall that even kept us competing for the title that year as rooney was still trying to get back to fitness all year and had lost his desire because he’d got his new contract πŸ™„
      Next season in 11/12 which wasn’t Nani’s best, he still contributed 12 goals and got another 12 assists in 34 appearances.
      I really think Nani gets a tough ride from alot of United fans tbh.
      Yes he can be inconsistent and frustrating, maybe tries one too many step overs at times, passes when he should shoot etc, and yet it’s clear that he still contributes goals and assists when he plays, even during his bad spells.
      20+ goals and assists a season is something that only a select few wingers in the game right now are capable of, and all of which would come with a Β£30m+ price tag.
      I get the feeling that’s its because of his style ie he likes a step over, likes a trick, that his poor decisions are overblown so much more than good old reliable tony v for example, who gets his head down and runs up the down the wing and puts a shift in most weeks.
      Regardless is the fact that he can’t make a single decent delivery to save his life at the minute nor that he only scored 1 goal in the whole of last season 😯
      I’d describe that as more frustrating if I’m honest, as atleast Nani has an end product and as illustrated above, is still more than capable of scoring/assisting for his team mates.
      I just don’t see how anyone can see this new contract as anything other than a good move really.

      • Stephen

        6 September 2013 at 16:06

        @tonymontanna4united: Again mate, you give Nani allowances because he is skilful. Valencia has different qualities, I can never understand why it has to be a competition between these 2. Nani is frustrating and offering him a 5 year contract is baffling, but he gives us options. Both players were woeful last season, but so were all our wide men. In the 2011/2012 season, when Valencia was our player of the season, Vally scored 4 with 18 assists, Ashley Young scored 6 with 9 assists and Nani 8 goals and 10 assist. They both have their own uses, Vally can be pedestrian and Nani can be very frustrating, lets just leave it at that.

        • tonymontanna4united

          6 September 2013 at 16:39

          @Stephen: I’m giving Nani allowances at this moment because unlike Valencia and Young, he’s had very few chances this last year or so, and with those 2 being in such dreadful form, he’s deserving of his chance.
          I’m also giving him allowances because as has been shown, he is a player who is capable of scoring and assisting a shit load of goals. Valencia and Young aren’t.
          As I said yesterday though, they both offer something different and can both play a part throughout the season.
          I’d just prefer it if it was Nani starting most weeks ahead of Valencia and that people were a little fairer in their criticisms. Yes Nani is inconsistent, but no more so than Valencia.
          I’d bet if it had just been revealed that Valencia had signed a new deal, there wouldn’t be half as much negativity around, despite Valencia being absolutely awful last season and being more frustrating than Nani has ever been with his inability to beat his man, put in a single worthy delivery or do anything of any note other than looking confused and turning round to pass back to the fullback.
          But I’ve said my peace and I agree, let’s leave it at that.

        • The_Philosopher

          7 September 2013 at 03:37

          @Stephen: Nani is a much more useful player going forward.

          He is a world class attacker.

          Valencia isn’t

        • The_Philosopher

          7 September 2013 at 03:37

          @Stephen: Nani is a much more useful player going forward.

          He is a world class attacker.

          Valencia isn’t

      • Stephen

        6 September 2013 at 16:53

        @tonymontanna4united: Nani last season was also dreadful. He has been injured and is just coming back to fitness, so saying he hasn’t had a chance this season is incorrect. My stats show that they are capable of goals and assists, so I am not sure where you are coming from there mate, again you are giving Nani a pass because he is skilful. You have to understand, Nani isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. He is frustrating, inconsistent and dives more than Tom Daley. I like him, but I also am a fan of Valencia. Giving Nani, Vally or Young a 5 year deal of between Β£95-Β£120k a week is a lot of money, you need to take off your Nani tinted glasses pal.

        • tonymontanna4united

          6 September 2013 at 18:31

          @Stephen: He played the grand total of 10 games in the league last season, and still scored more than Valencia and Young combined, so he wasn’t exactly afforded the same number of chances as others around him was he.
          Trust me mate, my Nani tinted glasses are off here. I am with you he can be frustrating and damn annoying.
          But all flairy wingers outside of maybe Ribery, Bale (whose not really a winger anymore anyway) and Ronnie are.
          Can you honestly say Robben for example is any less frustrating than Nani, yet I’m sure many would love him here.
          I just think Nani has a much better all round game than any of our other wingers and that he can produce something out of nothing, be it scoring or assisting goals, which I don’t think the likes of Valencia and Young can.
          Those 2 have been afforded more than enough games in the last year to show what they can do and have failed spectacularly. All I’m saying is it’s time for me for Nani to be given his chance now.
          If 2 years from now I’m still talking about the Nani of 2011 and how he’ll be back to that level soon with nothing to suggest otherwise, then I’ll probably come out and be in full support with you.
          Something suggests to me though that with a bit of faith (which he seems to have in Moyes) and a good run in the side again, he could quite easily be capable of scoring 10-15 goals a season and assisting as many too. For those kind of returns, I’m willing to give the guy time to see if he can get back to that level.

    • The_Philosopher

      7 September 2013 at 03:35

      @Redrich: Don’t like Ashley Young.

      Would be so happy to see the back of him.

      • Stephen

        7 September 2013 at 09:30

        @The_Philosopher: World class?!I don’t think so. He is inconsistent, World class players are not that. Valencia is as good as Nani, all be it a different player.

      • Redrich

        8 September 2013 at 01:30

        @The_Philosopher: Ashley Young is Fulham quality – meaning he is barely PL quality. Can we please end this failed attempt at a cut-price wide solution.

  21. colver

    6 September 2013 at 09:57

    Nani will shine if he is played every week and allowed more freedom. He is the closest thing we have to a world class wide player and it would cost Β£30M to sign a replacement it is better we keep faith in him. In addition we need some senior players in the squad especially as players like Rio and Giggs and Carrick and Evra are close to retirement.

    I am not a huge Fellaini fan but he will serve a similar purpose in helping create the right blend of youth and experience in our squad. While if we had sold Rooney we would have lost a player with priceless big game and European experience who has played over two hundred games for the club.

    Nani, Fellaini and Rooney, as well as Evans and Valencia, are going to be a major part of the team for its next five year cycle and provide a constancy that will be important as our older players are slowly phased out and our younger players break through.

    A major reason for our success over the last twenty years has been that constancy. And the same is true of any successful organization.

    While the five players mentioned above are not perhaps on the same level as Giggs, Scholes, Rio, Vidic and Carrick they are still good players and can keep us competitive and if Moyes is successful in developing our youngsters and making judicious signings we may even win some trophies.

  22. Pingback: Breaking down David Moyes’ United | Red Devils

  23. Dr S

    6 September 2013 at 12:22

    Nice piece.

    Agree with the lineup basically except on one position: centre back.

    Think Phil Jones should be in the starting 11 ahead of Rio in most games.

    Rio’s reading of the game and, to a lesser extent, his distribution is still top notch. But his loss of a full yard of pace is edging towards becoming a liability.

    The spring that Agger was able to get on him during the Liverpool game directly led to the goal. Not to forget that a couple of years back, in Torres’ Liverpool days, there’s a game where he simply ran away from Rio and scored.

    Come to think of it, its probably due to that goal that the Rio-Vidic formation was switched at the back, cause Sir Alex did raise it with Rio afterwards, as he himself confessed.

    Jones cannot be out jumped and out paced like that. Plus, he has that extra 10% which the real good players (Rooney when he decides, Ronaldo, Vidic) have, and which can make the difference. Victory is won in inches and all that.

    Jones’ distribution is dodgy, but there are enough passers in the team. And he will improve with each game. Rio won’t.

    Another option upfront, especially when van Persie is due for a rest, is to play Kagawa in the hole and Rooney at the tip. Last season, Kagawa scored a hatrick I believe when he played off Rooney. Including one ridiculously good one where he wrong footed the entire defense off a Rooney pass, and did a Barcelona slide-pass into the goal.

    Roo’s movement and goal threat is still top 2-3 in the Premier League, and with the intelligence of Kagawa behind, Zaha and Nani on the wings, he could do serious damage.

  24. colver

    6 September 2013 at 13:06

    Good point Dr S. It should never be forgotten that Rooney is probably a better number 9 than a number 10 and there would be no harm giving Van Persie the occasional rest and playing a Kagawa and Rooney combination.

    Rio is still our best defender by a mile. Without him we would have lost considerable ground last season when Van Persie stopped scoring. Ferguson managed Rio masterfully last season playing him no more than once a week. Moyes has not had the same restraint. Playing Rio once a week and ensuring he is fresh for the big games gives us the quality while playing Jones in the less critical games will advance his development.

    • The_Philosopher

      6 September 2013 at 13:47

      @colver: Agree completely.

      Why don’t we play a Rooney Kagawa combo. Seriously!

    • Stephen

      6 September 2013 at 13:53

      @colver: Totally agree, Rio still needs to play, but his back needs managing.
      Jones a very good young player and needs games, ideally at centre half, where he will be the next United and England captain.
      Moyes is in a very difficult postion. He has an obligation to bring through youth like, Zaha, Jones and Januzaj, but he also wants to win his first real trophy. So far and we can all understand, he has played it safe. He needs to feel this is his team before he can gamble to some degree. Playing Giggs on the right was stupid and pathetic against Liverpool and I hope he has learned his lesson.
      Welbeck after one game looked good, but after 3 he looks like Bambi on iceskates. Kagawa needs a run of games or should have been sold. I am not a fan of Anderson, but the form of Cleverley has been poor and again, he either needs a game or should be shipped out.
      Fergie over rotated, Moyes doesn’t at all regardless of form. He looks in awe of his surroundings, he needs to man up, forget about Fergie and stamp his authority on this team.

      • tonymontanna4united

        6 September 2013 at 14:18

        @Stephen: Jones a very good young player and needs games, ideally at centre half, where he will be the next United and England captain.

        A bold claim, but I agree, well said mate.
        Can’t agree the amount of stick Jonesy gets. He’s going to be a fucking monster of a CB. Absolutely no question he’ll be one of the best around in a few years once he’s made the position his own.
        Smalling likewise I see get a lot of stick, but I’ve always liked him. He needs to bulk up a bit, as one of my criticisms towards him is he seems to get bullied off the ball too easily, but he really hasn’t put a foot wrong in many games since he got here.
        Go back and watch his first season with us when he played 30+ games and he was awesome. The city game in particular when rooney scored that overhead kick he was just a beast.
        Two fantastic talents as far as I’m concerned, and hope they both get some games at CB sooner or later.

  25. The_Philosopher

    6 September 2013 at 14:10

    @ Jay Wire.

    So well said. Adnan Januzaj needs to be played right now.

    Its definately a risk but we have nothing to lose when you consider that its Ashley Young standing in his way.

    Its certainly Paul Pogba time for Januzaj. He would get playing time at a Barca or Dortmund. But we’re too backwards to give it a try.

    I really think it would be a great idea to play Januzaj, Kagawa and Zaha as the supporting cast to RVP.

    Januzaj would do so well playing with a bunch of pros surrounding him.

    If I could pick the side for the Palace game I would play:

    Rooney upfront (save RVP for City)

    Januzaj on the left wing.

    Kagawa at no.10

    Zaha on the right wing.

    Carrick and Fellaini in the middle.

    Evra at LB

    Vidic and Jones at the back

    Valencia at right back

    De Gea in goal.

    There’s a lot of creativity and energy in that line up.

  26. Stephen

    6 September 2013 at 14:36

    Probably because he is English mate. πŸ™„

  27. farouk

    6 September 2013 at 14:38

    I see, you are totaly engrosed with selfish interest, you must an england fan. How can you entrust cleverly mothern anderson, jones over evans, and then gave little concern to kagawa. Man U will be great when moyes stop using it as england buildin team factory. I wonder why does moyes played welbeck for 90 min, when we have kagawa on bench. Look at jones in right back he is totaly useless, why not fabio? At central defence, he supposed use evans with either ferdinand or vidic but not the two, coz they physicaly weak now.

  28. Everton

    6 September 2013 at 16:45

    An insightfull analysis of the United squad.well written,I must say.I have a theory with regards to Anderson,Hernandez and Kagawa.I’m sure it will piss many off,but please guys,hear me out.I believe the reason they have failed to secure regular starting places isn’t because they aren’t good footballers,but because they are limited footballers.I’ll explain.Chicharito is a fabulous poaching striker.put this guy in the box and give him a through ball and he’ll do the rest for you.he’s that good.however,outside of the box,he offers very little to the that with with wellbeck,who can play on the wing and we might understand why SAF utilized wellbeck on more occasions than Chicharito.the same goes for RVP and Rooney,who can occupy various places in the team.I believe that until Chicharito can learn to play either deeper going forward or out wide,he will struggle to nail down a first team spot.Kagawa has a similair problem.essentially,he is a trequartista,and an exciting one.however,he lacks the physicality to play in a central midfield role and doesn’t really have the pace to play out wide.thus,he becomes a type of a one-trick pony.he’s good at what he does,but not that great at performing other functions.perhaps a few extra ks’ of muscle would help him adapt in other areas in the middle third.Anderson’s case is what perplexes me the most.he has all the attributes that a world class footballer needs.he can pass,run and tackle yet we rarely see these traits on a consistent enough basis at United.I read a Brazilian theory which states that the real reason Anderson is struggling at United is because he is not being deployed as an attacking midfielder.that may be true,but what Anderson needs to understand that at Man United you have to become more than yourself.playing out of your favorite postion requires you to do the best you can as if that was your favourite position.our best players in the past have highlighted this summary,I believe that its a question of his mentality,rather than a lack of capabilty,that prevents him from becoming a solid United player.the rest of the squad has been covered effectively by the author,my personal views aside.I would like to hear what United fans think of what I said.

  29. Everton

    6 September 2013 at 18:41

    With regards to the youth players,such as Lingaard,Powell,The Keane Bros and Janujaj.I understand,refering to SAF’s approach,that one cannot always risk playing them in key matches.picking up points and winning knockout ties takes precedent and for that,in most cases,the manager needs his best available team.that’s not to say the kids have nothing to offer.SAF struck a decent balance between giving them a run in the first team and sending them out on loan.I don’t quite understand why we couldn’t loan all our youngsters to teams in the prem or the championship,but perhaps there wasn’t any takers for all of them.for example,I would have prefered to see what Bebe could have done playing in the championship,which is a tough league,but instead he was loaned out to a Turkish team and now he is in Portugal.perhaps he could have settled better if he had remained in England,albeit in a lower league.I have no doubt that his United career is all but over.we shouldn’t make the same mistake with Janujaz and Lingaard.they have the potential to become regular first team players,so perhaps Moyes should send them to the championship,instead of Belgium,so they can get a decent run of games under their belt and come back better players.I’m sure that Powell will do quite well at Wigan.that lad is a natural!Buttner could use some game time as well and in his case I’m sure we could find a premier league team that need a left would be a pity to see him sold off.he is a tenacious bugger who could prove usefull as a squad member,who is currently dissilusioned due to his lack of playing team.Moyes needs to get his act together in this regard.I know he has a lot on his plate,but the last thing we want is another Pogba or Fryers situation.he needs to figure out who he can use and who he can send out on loan.SAF believed in the youth system of the club and Moyes would do well to keep that tradition going.

    • Ben

      6 September 2013 at 18:59

      Moyes number 1 problem, now the the Rooney situation is sorted has to be the swollen nature of the squad. There are underperformers at nearly every position, and youth players that need to get time, who need their shot, and can’t because in front of them are players that just have not been delivering like they need to for first team time. The question is, are they underperforming because of tactics, because the players around them don’t mesh well with them, are they underperforming because of fixable problems, or because they just aren’t good enough to hack it? I honestly don’t know which is the case. There have been 2-3 game stretches where I thought Anderson looked fantastic. And I have to admit, I am not smart enough to know why they disappeared and why. I feel the same about Young. There was that period when he was just starting out, and he was absolutely brilliant. I heard a lot of, ‘well, he’s changed my opinion completely with this form’. I assume that people with higher football IQ have a better sense of what dynamics are causing these periphery players to gain and lose their form so spectacularly. I would think that this season will largely be about sorting out who is capable of what, and I think the large cleanout everyone wanted at the start of this season will occur before next season, perhaps a bit of it even in the January window. For all his proved his abilities time and again, it’s hard to look at the state of the squad and not be perplexed about several of the players still being here, and I think most of that comes down the the gaffer himself not being sure what he had in those players, and perhaps being unwilling to commit and buy towards one footballing direction, and trying too hard to have too many players for too many contingencies, and instead winding up with half a squad of out of form players that frankly no one has a good idea what they can do. If this was a problem the gaffer couldn’t sort, it’s hard not to be a little wary of Moysie fixing it. But, success breeds it’s own unique problems. And though I never imagined Fergie the type to succumb to ideas about his own infallibility, it could be that in his latter years he was developing a blind spot towards squad building. I do think though, that his biggest moves in the last years were admissions of this, his wholesale building strategy through youth, seen though the buying of Powell, Jones, Smalling, Chicharito, his adding Janujaz to first squad as well as Lindegard. I’m sure there are more examples. Now it’s up to Moyes to take those players and blood them in, to build the said Fergie imagined, but maybe was just too tired to build himself. The man is in his 70’s, he gave his life to this club, there’s nothing he didn’t win for us, and if he didn’t feel like climbing the hill one for time in his 70’s, I will not hold that against him or consider him anything less than an absolute behemoth in managing history. At some point they all have to hang up the sword. Moyes has some hard decisions, but he will have a clarity of vision and direction that come with new eyes, which I think were the biggest thing missing from this squad, a new manager capable of imposing a new direction, of looking at what is an admittedly bloated and confusing bench, and making some sense out of it. And for all that Moysie doesn’t have that Fergie did, the key to our future may just be that ability to see this team in a new light.

    • The_Philosopher

      6 September 2013 at 21:20

      @Everton: I’ll tell you what baffles me is how Ferguson decides who to bring through and who to neglect.

      Example one Johny Evans. Over the past three or so years Ferguson has prioritised the development of Johny Evans. I think even before Vidic’s knee injury Evans was being phased into the first team(I speak under correction)

      And when Vida did get his knee injury Evans stepped in and had to play a lot of games. But I remember when he became a first team regular he made a lot of mistakes and a lot of people just could not understand why Ferguson kept picking him for games.

      Point is, after many raw performances Evans matured into a solid centre back. But he had to go through the fire to get there. And Ferguson stood by him. It was a deliberate effort from Sir Alex.

      Example two Phil Jones. I read a very insightful comment from Gary Neville earlier this year where he reveal some of the logic that contributed to Ferguson neglecting central midfield. Neville said something that went like this when respond to a question about the squad “. . .thats probably part of the reason why we never went in for a defensive midfielder because if we did where would we play Jones”

      Phil Jones gets played every chance Ferguson/Moyes gets because we’re trying to fast track his progress.

      Thats all well and good. But there are other players I feel should be pushed through as well.

      So I repeat my question. How does Ferguson decide who to build up and who to let languish on the fringes of the squad.

      Is it that his major focus for the future (or when building any new iteration of his team ) is to start with defense?

      Cleverley is also possibly one player who is now being targeted for development as well.

      And Danny Welbeck has long since been earmarked for development as evidenced by his constant involvement regardless of form. Moyes has also publically stated that he was told that Welbeck is very important to the club.

      Chicharito is definately one player where Ferguson clearly decided to leverage (or take advantage of) his loyalty and well mannered nature to the max. Chicharito is not the type of player to complain or kick up a fuss Ferguson knew that he could bench him for long periods of time without a concern of him growing disillusioned or bored. The humble boy from Mexico is being exploited.

      Whats wrong with Januzaj that we can’t put a developmental spot light on his game?

      Then there is the constant fielding of the older players who seem past it. Is it a courtesy we pay to the older players to keep playing them until they decide that they don’t want to play anymore? A reward for loyalty and years of good services maybe?

      Whatever drives the decision making at United it is sometimes extremely frustrating.

      Ferguson knew what he was doing though.

      Moyes looks lost.

    • ForeverRed

      11 September 2013 at 03:58

      @Everton: I’m sorry but this pre-occupation with Fergie’s commitment to youth is somewhat misleading. He talked about it himself alot in the Harvard Business Review that just came out. While I don’t deny that he transformed our set up and rebuilt the club when he joined (with fabulous success and entertainment for the most part), we actually only produced 1 crop of home grown world class players in Fergie’s 26 years (and we all know who they were and how long ago it was). In the last 5 years can you point to an emergent youth team player, now world class, who is still playing with us? Are Cleverley, Welbeck or Evans in this bracket? … maybe Pogba? For all the investment in scouting, facilities and coaching, our return has frankly been quite poor.

      I do have high hopes for Januzaj, Lingaard and Powell but I don’t believe that loaning them out to lower clubs is a significant help to their development – they should be getting exposure to Champions League opposition rather than dumbing themselves down in the lower levels of the PL or Championship. If they’re good enough they’re old enough imo and need to hone their skills against the best opposition before they pick up too many bad habits, or settle in the comfort zone of thinking they’ve made it by playing for Wigan etc.

  30. Redrich

    7 September 2013 at 04:38

    Some very good points made here – raising the question about the youth program and how difficult it is for younger players to break in. Some excellent analysis especially about how most of the playing time attributed to them is in the hands of the manager. So true.

    I generally disagree with much of the consensus, though. I don’t think that Moyes has any obligation at all to blood them, nor to give them a break when the opportunity arises. For me, the ball is clearly in the players court to catch the eye and to make the most their chances.
    Failing to do so is probably unfair to them, but this is Class A Football and it is a mean SOB.

    For the last 10-15 years, competitions and competition has made the possibilities for youngsters smaller and smaller. It is now a global market and as such, academy members do not just compete with themselves, but with academies throughout the world – in fact, unless your academy is filled with exceptional talent, the academy players have about as much chance of reaching the big-time as you and I when we buy our Lottery ticket.

    Emphasis is now on how well each first team squad matches up with its main competitors. Managers are paid to win games and are judged accordingly. Their priorities are solely based on success and failure and as such the introduction of promising young comers such as Zaha, Lingard and Januzaj will always be cautious and rare in games that count.
    So for them, when they get their chance, they really do have to make the most of it.

    The idea of promoting youth is ingrained in United lore – in the past, it was legendary with the success of Giggs, Scholes, Beckham, Neville and such. Those were the days! It is a new world now and it’s not being kind to most academies. If we can find a true diamond in the rough it would be wonderful and a true boon to the club, but as we’ve seen both at OT and on the national stage these gems are far and few between, and still, there may be those who sparkle brighter, elsewhere.

  31. Everton

    7 September 2013 at 10:03

    @The Philosopher.I agree mate.As far as Evans goes,my perception of him is largely negative,I must confess.SAF let two talented centre backs leave the club,Ryan Shawcross & Gerard Pique,in order to allow a gangly and less talented Evans to remain behind.Evans is a poor centre back.granted,he has improved,but he is vastly overrated and not half as reliable as one would think.when he plays next to Vidic or Ferdinand,he looks good.however,as soon as the task of being the main man is thrust upon him,he shows what he is made of.melted butter.look at the game when city thrashed us 6-1.or even better,the season when Chelsea won the league last,when our backline was ravaged with injuries and we had to rely on evans,brown,giggs and carrick to step in.the previous season,Evans received rave reviews,but many forget that he played alongside,which was then,the best centre backs in europe.the follwing season,he failed to step up when a golden opportunity was awarded to him to show the world what the fuss was all about.he failed miserably.he will never convince me that he was worth the effort because to this day,he still makes the same mistakes he always has.rash challenges,losing most of his aerial duels and being outmuscled by bustling forwards.I look at what we could have had in Shawcross and Pique and regret that decision by SAF more than I will ever regret seeing Pogba leave United.Moyes please,don’t make the same mistake.

  32. colver

    7 September 2013 at 11:04

    The promising initial indication is that Moyes sees Phil Jones as his third choice centre back and is continuing Ferguson’s approach of playing Rio only once a week. Evans probably is not going to get any better. His experience probably makes him a safer bet than Jones in European games and we are so prone to injuries he will get games. But as for Smalling we realy do need to farm him out on loan.

    My main worry is that Moyes sees Welbeck and Cleverley as undroppable and also has involved Giggs in every single game.

    Welbeck is a good striker but we have better options out wide.

    Cleverley is totally mediocre in every single sense of the word. Perhaps now we have Fellaini, Cleverley will just be a squad rotation player because I do not see him as a first team player.

    Giggs needs to be playing no more than once every two weeks and carefully chosen for games where his loss of pace is not going to be a problem.

    • Redrich

      8 September 2013 at 01:02

      @colver: With Fellaini, how can we drop both Cleverly and Giggs? Is Fellaini worth 2 players or am I missing something here. Giggs maybe acting his age, but Unlike Cleverly, he has some spark of creativity.

  33. Jay Wire

    7 September 2013 at 13:53

    I don’t think you can call Evans a poor centre back. He has certainly developed into a complete defender both technically and physically. I actually prefer him to Vidic tbh,because he is a ball playing CB like Rio and doesn’t just hoof it as Vida does sometimes. I think Vidic as a defender pure is still miles ahead,just my own holistic preference. But I wouldn’t call Evans average or mediocre. He is at the very least,solid. But I do agree with the assertions made concerning the youth system.

    I have never been one to give a manager the benefit of the doubt. I believe managers are human and thus suffer humanistic limitations. Ferguson was definitely a talent but he had a great many flaws. Yes I said it. I know some people can’t believe I actually said it. Believe it. He made some serious mistakes throughout his career and achieved some milestone successes too. One of his equal measure milestones and failures was with youth development. In his early days,actually for most of his 20th century career,he made significant strides in making United one of the top clubs for development of young prodigies. He took some serious risks in allowing youth players like Giggs,Scholes,the Neville brothers,Beckham etc, to play on the big stage straight from the youth set up. Huge risk,massive rewards. But when you look at the latter part of his career,he became very timid and cautious. A little too cautious if you ask me. Before all this,the early and mid 00s he tried bringing in a number of young players who later turned out to be mediocre and average. The likes of Liam Miller,Bellion and the punch above weight duo of O’Shea and Fletcher. Much of the successful young players came in the form of costly investments i.e. Rooney and Ronaldo. But I believe the crop that came after Becks and co,made Ferguson a bit hesitant with young players.
    The truth is Ferguson wanted to trust young prodigies but just couldn’t get himself to take the risk of actually taking them to the deep end. Unfortunately,loan moves have proved largely ineffective. The loaned players are normally back up and rarely do their eternally relegation threatened adopted teams have the luxury of extended runs with young inexperienced talents. That’s why Rossi couldn’t make the cut at Newcastle. Not because he can’t,but because he is back up. The preference of experience over raw inexperienced talent leads to an inevitable vicious cycle. Players need consistent game time to develop and to gain experience at the highest level they actually need to play at the highest level. If they don’t get minutes in a systematic and consistent pattern,they will not develop to become the players they have the potential to become. Players like Pogba and Rossi are typical examples of the kind of losses we incur by not taking the risk with inexperienced but talented players. To be honest,we can’t really ascribe much of the recent successes this club has enjoyed to someone like Ryan Giggs. His experience counts for little these days because he can still play world class football,but only with his mind. His body refuses to retain possession of a football or pass to a teammate. But in his mind he is coming up with world class pieces of play but his body is reacting slowly. So what’s the huge risk of playing a Januzaj in his stead,in certain low level games? This is something we should try now instead of admiring the Barcas and BvBs of this world. As Pogba proves,we still have quality and the potential for quality in our youth system. Let’s go to the lottery

    • Redrich

      8 September 2013 at 01:10

      @Jay Wire: I think that Evans can be lured out of position in certain circumstances and when pressured by big CF’s he will commit either a foul or a costly mistake.
      I agree with the notion that he is “solid” CB, and is utile against a lot of teams, but truthfully he should not be looked at as the replacement for either Rio of Vidic.
      He simply does not command his position.

    • johnsom33

      10 September 2013 at 10:32

      @Jay Wire: What bugs me is the constant circlejerking about Nani being so woeful and frustrating, yet Giggs gets a pass time and time again.

      Im sorry to break it to some of you guys but Giggs is pretty mediocre these days. He should have retired this summer, but like Scholes he stayed around a little too long.

      The pogba ordeal still bugs me to this day. it was indefensible for him to not get games, yet the “Fergie is perfect crowd” cant bring themselves to admit Fegie fucked up this one big time. If I was Pogba and I saw the team sheet with Jones and rafael in midfield I wouldnt even turn up to the arena. That is a slap in the face, and it looked as if SAF was going out of his way to not play him to prove a point to his agent. Its funny because we never saw him do that before *cough* Tevez*cough*.

      All that being said I am actually one of the few who is excited about our current squad. I just dont understand people who bitch about the glazers and lack of signings, while they ignore the actual succes on the pitch.

      • Stephen

        10 September 2013 at 11:53

        @johnsom33: Wasn’t the success down to the previous manager, rather than the Glazers?
        What othe rmanager could have won the league with our midfield, simple no one.
        Jones is an excellent prospect, but some never allow players time.

  34. Everton

    7 September 2013 at 14:11

    @Jay Wire.I called him a poor centre back,that I did.I’ll call him one criticize SAF for not being perfect,but u back johnny evans up as a solid defender?I’m at a loss for words my friend!that you rate him higher than Nemanja Vidic speaks volumes!a half fit Vidic is miles ahead over Evans on his best day.SAF made a huge mistake keeping Evans and letting go of Shawcross and Pique.Both have gone on to show what they are capable of.what has Evans done in the meantime that is so fantastic?I have no answer to that because he hasn’t done a damn thing to convince me that he was worth the sacrifice.Shawcross is a future three lion captain(the moment he leaves Stoke for a big prem club) whilst Pique is a world cup,european and champions league winner.I’ll ask u again.what does evans have to compare against that?

  35. Jay Wire

    7 September 2013 at 14:30

    Concerning Nani,I can’t agree with his critics. The undisputable reality is,he is always on the receiving end of typically unfair criticism. It’s amazing how people are wiling to put forward defensive attributes as the primary resource for wide players in order to simply make sure Nani is viewed as an inferior player to the likes of Valencia. Last season Nani,like Kagawa didn’t have a great season for the obvious reason of not playing much. There were a lot of injuries,in critical times that made it nearly impossible for any game time and building of form. Valencia played throughout and was at best average. Young was simply bad throughout. The truth is,Nani is the best wide player we have right now. The main job of a wide midfield player is to create chances and generally contribute to the goal scoring process. In that regard Nani is simply way ahead of all the options we have,unless you consider Kagawa a wide player. In terms of the goal scoring process,whether from the creating or from the side of actual scoring,Nani has consistently been at par with more celebrated players like Robben,Di Maria and even players like David Silva. I’ve gone to some detail to reveal this in the past. Even defensively,he covered more defensive ground than all our players bar Evans and Evra,i.e. two seasons ago when I did this analysis. He actually made more successful tackles than all our defenders combined,forget the Valencia myth.

    More importantly, the reality has always been that on average,with Nani in the team,we have a very high chance of scoring and we are not exposed defensively. So why does he suffer so much criticism? The perception of his inconsistency is based on losing possession,or failed dribbling attempts in some games. Rooney does that all the time and is given a free pass because “he shows great commitment” and “he drives the team”. I do agree that Nani should do better with his passing and precision in attacking areas and I say the same thing about Rooney. Valencia should also work on being less predictable,Giggs should work on retirement plans and Ashley Young should try sky diving and wind surfing instead. So no one is without fault. But if Nani is not good enough then we should look elsewhere not internally,for a replacement. But with the options we have,Nani is still the best we have in his position

    • The_Philosopher

      8 September 2013 at 19:39

      @Jay Wire: Nani is the best winger in our team most def.

      I also don’t get the hatage against him. The dude is hot on his day.

      When Nani is on he’s unplayable. When Valencia has a good day he is good. But not a world beater.

      Nani is the best winger in this team bar none.

      And he is lethal. He can score with his left and his right. He is venomous. A lethal attacker. And would be devastating playing in conjunction with RVP, Rooney, Kagawa and Zaha.

      Imagine this:

      —————–De Gea





      • The_Philosopher

        8 September 2013 at 19:51

        @The_Philosopher: Kagawa and Rooney both take turns dropping deep to pick the ball up from the back.

        So Rooney and Kagawa both play central mid and no.10. On the same pitch at the same time.

        There is a huge amount of dribbling and ball control in this setup. Not to mention creativity.

        This is one of our best possible line ups me reckons

        RVP is obviously the killer up top.

        There is a good amount of pace on the wings and some decent crosses on both of them. But most importantly they can both beat their man.

        Fellaini provides stability at the back and critically the pace and Energy that Carrick can’t.

        The combined passing ability of Rooney and Kagawa playing in tandem in the middle more than compensates for the loss of Carrick.

        I think asking Rooney and Kagawa to fill the gap in the middle is a brilliant idea and they both have what it takes to make it work.

        With RVP, Nani and Zaha running around offering them options to pass to this formation could prove to be too dynamic to handle.

        Sadly its about ten years ahead of that dinosaur David Moyes

        I would actually like to see how Rooney and Kagawa would do as a CAM patnership. . .

        • Ben

          8 September 2013 at 23:15

          I would love to see that love to see that squad. The interesting thing is how many different shapes that could turn into depending on the game conditions.

          It can easily transition from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-1-4-1!!! in a quickbreak situation, or, given Fellaini’s attacking abilities a 4-0-5-1 i guess just to emphasize in notation a complete emptying of any defensive lying midfielder with 3 pressing central midfielders, two advanced wingers and a central striker up top. How do you defend against that??? Which is not to say that formation couldn’t in the same game look like a 4-3-3, or a 4-4-2, staggering how fluid a lineup like that could look even possession to possession. I think that might be the future of footy tactics, a side that can be reorganized and reshaped at possession changes, never giving the opposing team a time to settle or understand who is where or what they’re trying to do. Would be thrilled to see a side like that run out. And my understanding about Moyes is that he is huge on team discipline in holding shape of the team, and while he would never have had the tactical free for all this lineup affords him at Everton, here’s hoping his mouth waters looking at that type of a lineup like mine does.

        • The_Philosopher

          9 September 2013 at 09:24


          @Ben: Manuel Pellegrini is a forward thinking modern day manager who would definately try something like this.

          Moyes is intellectually dwarfed in my opinion at this level.

          He can work hard and get on top of basic problems. But I have serious question marks about his playing philosophy.

          So does RVP apparently. . .

          From what I have seen so far this season, I have to say that Moyes is an intellectual midget.

  36. Jay Wire

    7 September 2013 at 14:42


    I never said Evans is perfect. I said he is at least solid. I also did say I prefer him to Vidic for reasons I specified but in that same line I said Vidic from a defensive pov is miles ahead. I said I prefer Evans from a holistic team perspective. The problem with Evans is people are always only prepared to comment when he makes a mistake but his general consistency is always overlooked. Vidic is more likely to concede a dangerous foul,penalty or red card than any of the players we have,but if Evans slips up,it’s incredibly magnified. That’s what I think

  37. Redrich

    8 September 2013 at 02:22

    I don’t understand the exuberance about P.Jones. The promise that he has shown has been isolated (much because of injury – which brings me to my main point) and rare, and that’s because he likes to throw his wieght around.
    Jones is a big man, physically, and he has used that advantage throughout his career. He was a big influence on a physically dependent Blackburn side and he was brought in to our fold to add some steel to a vanilla back line that relied on the constant presence of Rio and Vidic (lets not forget that he came in when John O’Shea had left).

    Phil is definitely a gamer. He puts 14 hours into an 8 hour shift and will run and run ’til his legs fall off and it’s because… Phil doesn’t have the “edge”, that he feels that he has to that.

    It’s no surprise to me that Jones is always injured. He has the heart of a lion, but his skill set doesn’t give him the the DNA of a true killer defender or DM.

    He over extends and that’s why, IMO, he is always injured.
    Love the lad, but not a United player. God Bless Kamikaze Phil.

    • Ben

      8 September 2013 at 04:23


      Well, he’s 21 years old. When you consider the amazing job he did against Real Madrid, it just strikes me as pessimistic and unfair to say we can right now declare he’ll never be United quality. If he’s good enough to stand up and do a job against Real Madrid, on the biggest stage, on the biggest night, he’s exactly what we need at United. And I’ll say the same for Welbeck. He came through for us, did a role, and was transcendent against Real Madrid. It makes no sense to say these players are good enough to battle Real, but not good enough to battle Hull. Hopefully they stay healthy long enough to make runs for first team positions, and prove how great they can be.

      • Redrich

        8 September 2013 at 04:33

        @Ben: Not “we”, Ben,… me!! It’s my opinion. I live by it, right or wrong – isn’t that what ranting is all about??

      • Redrich

        8 September 2013 at 04:53

        @Ben: Would love him to prove me wrong, mate, but I do NOT think he will be the answer. My take only, and if you think I’m being disrespectful to the team, I’m not.
        Again, it’s just MY opinion! Try to respect it.

        • Ben

          8 September 2013 at 05:49


          Nothing disrespectful about saying that if he can be genius against Real at 21 years old he can be adequate against Hull in the future. Seems a reasonable supposition, you’re free to put as much or as little weight in that as you wish.

        • Redrich

          8 September 2013 at 06:21

          @Redrich: Ben, if he was so wonderful against RM, why wouldn’t we be discussing the 25m or so he would command from their interest in him. If I am not wrong (and please correct me), with him we still lost that rubber.
          They do not want him, and the interesting performance he put in against them will not crystallize his career forever, for anyone.

      • johnsom33

        10 September 2013 at 10:38

        @Ben: so Jones was genius against Madrid, how so? Jones might be the most overrated player on the current squad.

    • johnsom33

      10 September 2013 at 10:39

      @Redrich: It looks like me and you are the only ones who didnt uy tickets for the Phil Jones hype train.

      • Redrich

        11 September 2013 at 04:22

        @johnsom33: P. Jones has to prove himself. So far he’s had a free pass on here because of (1) effort and (2) injury. I believe that the one has to do with the other.
        BTW, good to hear from ya, man.

  38. Ben

    8 September 2013 at 15:37

    To be considered by Real, he would have to be a slick attacking player, even as a defender. He’d have to be pacey, he’d have to beat players. He doesn’t have the style of a Real player.

    Also, everyone knows that he is earmarked for United’s future. He isn’t for sale. And contrary to United’s awkwardness this summer, clubs tend to not bid for players that are not for sale. Then there are his injury concerns. And he’s still only 21 and yet to get a solid run of games at any one positions. There are many reasons he wouldn’t be that the top of a clubs shopping list, or in fact on it at all, and none of those effect his potential as a United player. Which is not the same thing as saying he is world class now, or claiming for a certainty that he will live up to his potential, but United clearly plan on developing him, and with equal clarity it’s true that he can be a world class player. People are so fast to say ‘not a United player’, and when you’re talking about a 21 year old that has done a wonderful job against a world class team, I cannot fathom the comment that the quality is just nowhere in his DNA as a player, and there is no possibility of him being United quality.

    We lost due to a nonsense red card, of which you are aware of, I presume. It had nothing to do with Jones performance, and in no way takes away from it.

  39. Ben

    9 September 2013 at 10:28

    What has Manuel Pellegrini done that he get’s covered in so much praise? He got a sniff of something with Malaga, and didn’t win? Is that it? Or do you mean his exploits in South America at the helm of traditional powerhouses? Neither of which are especially impressive. Jurgen Klopp, impressive. Pellegrini…. I have to ask myself, really?! This is a manager that is supposed to be feared for his acuteness?

    How about Neil Lennon? He managed to get good European results out of Celtic, and I suppose by the same reasoning he should be reckoned a great coach. No… Just not enough there. I see no reason to assume that because he can lead powerhouse Argentine teams to victory, or make a surprising run with a pedestrian Spanish club we somehow need to fear him. Meh. For a CV stretching back to 1990 Pellegrini does not exactly wow with trophies.

    And if we’re talking about how impressive it is to get close with average teams, then I reckon Moyes deserves some love in that discussion. Semi-final in the League Cup, and final in the FA Cup. If close counts for Pellegrini, it counts for Moyes. And if it doesn’t count for Moyes, than Pellegrini has a handful of essentially meaningless trophies for south america to so for 23 odd years of coaching. I fail to see the mark of a wunderkind.

    Pellegrini did nothing with Real Madrid, absolutely nothing.

    ‘On 27 October 2009, the club was eliminated from the Copa del Rey during the Round of 16 by the modest Segunda DivisiΓ³n B club AlcorcΓ³n with a 4–1 aggregate loss. The Spanish daily Marca named this match “Alcorconazo” and went on to make many teasing references to Pellegrini. On 10 March 2010 he suffered a second hit, being eliminated from the Champions League by Lyon in the Round of 16 with a 2–1 aggregate loss.’ From wikipedia. With a Real Madrid side boasting Cristiano Ronaldo, he was bounced by Lyon in the champions league, and more shockingly lost to a lower division team 4-1 on aggregate. No shame in losing to Barca, but considering the side he had at Real Madrid it’s not exactly impressive what he achieved.

    So, if with a star-studded Real Madrid he could not manage to do anything, not even get the close calls which get so much applause for his spell at Malaga, what makes us think that with a team like City, with obvious flaws he will do better than he did at Madrid? City’s defense is astonishingly weak. Oh, and the 32 year old defender I remarked as a panic buy to shore up a poor defense, and who I doubted would be of any use, out 6 weeks with knee injury… sometimes events conspire to make you look psychic. He helms a finesse team with a tissue paper thin defense. I don’t know why that looks like a great season to everyone else. To me it looks like suprise loses and draws coming from teams that are willing to risk everything for a result. And they will.

    At 3 games in, any analysis of Moyes managing style or tactics is useless. He does not even have a feel for the squad yet. He would need a decent run of games to understand what he has. And with Fellaini, he possesses a fundamentally different midfield, and as a result a fundamentally different team. I’d like to see how 5 or so games go with Fellaini in the side to start getting a beginning notion of Moyes’ tactics and abilities.

    As to Van Persie not happy with Moyes, that seems patently untrue.

    There are other articles that say the same.

    The job of Moyes will be much easier than that of Pellegrini, who will be forced to herd prize poodles to victory with the lack of any bulldogs in the back four. There is a fetish with a strong midfield prevalent in current thinking. It’s worth noting though how long United have had a ‘poor’ midfield, and the results they have pulled compared with teams in the Premier league with ‘great’ midfields. Add to that that United have strengthened in midfield, Citeh have done jack shit nothing in defense(added a bench warmer, so good on them), and Chelsea have nothing up top, I think of all the top teams United is the most balanced, and the deepest. And in a long season, those are the attributes that win trophies, not theoretical best 11’s which will play only a fraction of the games together.

    • The_Philosopher

      10 September 2013 at 08:05

      @Ben: I stand corrected.

  40. Redrich

    10 September 2013 at 03:20

    Sir Matt Busby: β€œFrom the moment he started to play in the first team, George Best had pulses racing.”

    Can there ever be a better tribute the THE man that made United different from the run-of-the-mill.

  41. Stephen

    10 September 2013 at 06:55

    Ben, it is the usual knee jerk reaction from the less educated. Moyes does look a fish out of water, but we were excellent against Swansea. Mourinho the Coward played for a draw when we played Chelsea. The Liverpool game for me he played it too safe and his decision to play Giggs on the right, an out of form Young ang no Kagawa was a concern. These next 5 games are going to be important, but he is learning and needs time and a degree of patience.

    • The_Philosopher

      10 September 2013 at 08:25

      @Stephen: Not to assume you were referring to me with your “knee jerk” “less educated” jab, I just want to clarify in any event.

      When ever I have made any judgement against Moyes I have always qualified it by stating that I am basing the judgement on what I have seen in the past two months.

      Obviously there’s more to come and no right thinking person could make a conclusive judgement at this stage based on just two months. This is my current standing and I’m waiting for Moyes to change my view of him.

      Also. We didn’t draw against Chelsea because Mourinho was a coward but rather because Moyes doesn’t know how to win.

      He wasn’t too fussed about winning in preseason. Ferguson generally liked to start getting into winning ways in preseason.

      When I ‘voiced’ my concerns about Moyes reluctance to win games I was greeted with comments like “preseason is more about fitness.”

      So we spend all of our preseason building our fitness and not winning because fitness is realy crucial when starting a new season. But then we throw away all that fitness nonsense out the window and we play Valencia who has no match fitness ahead of Zaha.

      So now I’m realy confused. Was Moyes building up fitness? Or does he just not have a clue how to win?

      Winning takes practice as well. And preseason is the perfect time to practice winning.

      Winning is a habit. So is not winning.

      You tell me which one Moyes is in the habit of doing?

      Patience is needed ofcourse. But Moyes has given me little to be optimistic about. He has consistently dropped the ball since his arrival.

      • Stephen

        10 September 2013 at 08:47

        @The_Philosopher: Yet again you change your opinion within weeks of stating “in Moyes we trust” I like you is somewhat of a Moyes sceptic, for me he got the job because he is Scottish. But he deserves time, you are king of the knee jerk mate, sorry. Your opinion changes almost by the day. We were the better team against the cowards side and they parked the bus. This result was nothing to do with “not knowing how to win” is was Mourinho reverting back to his cowardly tactics he adopted when he played Barca. The Liverpool result was poor, the side he put out was strange to say the least. But we could and should have nicked a result at the sewer and Liverpool were far from convincing as winners, contrary to pres reports. If we beat Palace and City I am sure you will say Moyes is the right man for the job. He needs time, to prove us right or wrong, writing him off after 3 games is stupid, as we have played Chelsea and Liverpool. Like you I am unsure, but he at least nees more time.
        Moyes certainly knew how to beat us last season……

        • The_Philosopher

          10 September 2013 at 09:06

          @Stephen: I can’t deny I change my opinion a lot.

          But I think this time I have good reason.

          When I said in “Moyes we trust” he had not yet 1) fluffed the two dealine day transfers for Coentrao and Ander Herrera

          2) Been dumb/naive enough to believe that he could get Fabregas

          3) Payed over the odds to get Fellaini on deadline day.

          4) He had not yet benched Zaha against Swansea in order to play Valencia

          5) He had not yet benched Zaha against Chelsea to play Valenica

          6) He had not yet lost against Liverpool 7) after benching Zaha to play Giggs and Young.

          All of those errors in judgemtent have altered my view of him.

          Further more I have repeatedly stated that JΓΌrgen KlΓΆpp would have been my first choice to replace Ferguson.

          I have also repeatedly said that I expect Moyes to do a decent job.

          Now though I have just seen too many bad decisions from him to feel optimistic.

          The guy is making the kind of decisions that would be just fine at Everton. This is not Everton. I was hoping he would have been smart enough to have figured that out by now.

          So I’m dissappointed.

      • Stephen

        10 September 2013 at 09:21

        Mate, trust me I understand your concerns, it is only natural. To blame Moyes for the Coentrao transfer is unfair, yes we should have moved earlier but it was Real who failed to sign his replacement. Zaha, needs time to develop, Valencia gets far too much stick and we stuffed Swansea, so cannot blame team selection there. Zaha has hardly done enough to say, “if he had played we would have won” He has never played at this level and needs time to settle. He isn’t even in the English full team, no one can really blame Moyes for playing Valencia who has started the season well. For me he gets far too much stick and Nani gets away with murder, but I like the pair of them People forget that Klopp did Mainz relegated, people gave him a chance and he took it, maybe Moyes needs the same chance.
        I agree, the the appointment of Moyes was underwhelming, but lets just him at least half a chance. He is also working along side a muppet in Woodward, had Gill still been at the club I am sure the Summers business would have run a lot smoother.

        • The_Philosopher

          10 September 2013 at 09:48

          @Stephen: I will concede that it is very harsh to blame Moyes for the Coentrao deadline day issue.

          I blame him because I feel like if he had said in July that he wanted: Coentrao, Herrera and Fellaini it would have most likely happened.

          We were minutes away from the Coentrao deal but were thwarted by a fax machine.

          As the leader of this club Moyes should have done better.

          I don’t mind Moyes starting Valencia. Its always good to start games with some stability. So by all means play the experienced player.

          But when we’re struggling to create chances to not even give a player as dynamic and fluid as Zaha 15minutes at the end of games is derelict.

          We have not scored any goals in our last two games.

          And Zaha would gave any defense a headache.

          Moyes didn’t even gamble. And his safety first tactics still resulted in defeat. . .

        • Redrich

          11 September 2013 at 04:45

          @Stephen: You and I will not decide Moyes’ future, nor will any itchy-feet owners (which I don’t think we have). Moyes’ future is in his own hands and it’s up to him to navigate a minefield of failure.
          He has failed the first test by failing to get his way in the transfer market, and so now, he will have to expose his football chops by making this motley crew into a winning machine.
          I fear for him because I think he’s a very genuine package – trouble is, his wholesomeness might not serve him well in this league.

  42. Jeet

    10 September 2013 at 10:35

    I am hardly a fan of Grognard (and that’s putting it rather mildly), but credit where it’s due – this is mostly well thought through and well written.

    Obviously I disagree with him on Evans, who I think is absolute quality. Cleverly is the new Fletcher, fewer and fewer people appreciate him. He’s no Scholes but one of the things I am liking about him is that he seems to have toughened up, become more astute defensively and doesn’t shy away from getting stuck in. I used to like, really like, Ando, but it’s hard to defend him these days. However, I don’t see any harm in giving him a few chances to partner Carrick instead of Cleverly.

    I do have high hopes of Fabio. My wish would be to see Fabio and Rafael hold down the right-back berth (remember Fabio is right footed). Good form continuing, Evra plays LB with Buttner as back-up. The latter is not expected to be first choice anytime soon, so I wouldn’t mind seeing a top LB bought next summer.

    In terms of best formation and line-up I largely agree. 4-4-2 doesn’t do it for me. I think the best formation is 4-2-3-1, which we should play CONSISTENTLY, so that players become used to it, and learn their proper roles. I think we have been doing a version of it, specially with Cleverly playing much deeper. My biggest problem over the last 12 months has been the inconsistent (both tactically, and performance wise) wingplay. Tactically, because if you are doing a 4-2-3-1, wingers like Valencia and Young are not the “best fit”. You ideally need 2 footed wingers who can cut in at pace, shoot with their “opposite” foot, i.e. RW curling it in with his left – like that bald Dutch bastard (how I hate him!). Otherwise not only does the wingplay become predictable, you isolate the middle of the front 3, who carries the pivotal attacking role in the 4-2-3-1. So yes, I would like to see Nani in there.

    Other points:

    1. I think Fellaini is not what many of us want, but exactly what we need. He’s a better player than many give him credit for, and will add some much needed snarliness in the midfield.

    2. Welbeck does not do it for me. I love the lad, his attitude, his love for the club, his work rate, but at the moment he frustrates the sperms outta me. I’m not saying he should be sold, but he’s not first XI material in my book. Not at the moment.

    3. I think our secret weapon is the Rooney-Kagawa axis. They have had little by way of playing time on the same pitch, but when they have, it’s looked dynamite. Utilizing that combo could be a BIG trick.

    My first XI would look like this:


    Rooney starts on the left because he is better at it than Kagawa IMO, not necessarily because he is worse in the middle. The big idea is to have a fluid, interchanging front 4 of Nani, Kagawa, Rooney and RVP. RVP can drop deep or on the right, Rooney can cut in or play spearhead, Kagawa can drift out, Nani can cut in and switch flanks. It would take time to perfect, but it would be a nightmare to mark against.

    Not least, I think the overall balance of the team would be just right with Fellaini and Carrick alternating at traveling upfield while the other sits back to cover for the fullback (hopefully just one!) who’s bombed forward in the quest for width.

    Support cast of Hernandez, Jones, Cleverly, Ando (!), Zaha, Januzaj. The last one is special – as The Great Man would say, “no doubt about that!”.

    Long winded post, but what the heck – isn’t that the prerogative of the keyboard tactician?!

    Let’s hope David Moyes does as well as his predecessor, and that we have a successful season ahead, full of exciting football.

    • The_Philosopher

      10 September 2013 at 11:00

      @Jeet: I love your line up mate.

      I agree playing Rooney and Kagawa on the same pitch at the same time could be dynamite. I really hope Moyes can figure that out sooner rather than later.

      I love love love your line up. Its awesome. Rooney and Kagawa partner up to handle play from the left flank with Evra running in to provide extra width.

      Nani floats around just being a general menace.

      But I like the idea of putting Rooney on the left flank. I could work so well.

      Playing Carrick and Fellaini together in midfield gives us more stability than we’ve seen in a long time.

      This formation is something that Moyes is more likely to go with than my formation of Zaha on the right with Nani on the left.

      We have soooo much attacking talent in this squad. I hope and pray that Moyes will figure out a way of playing some attractive football because we have tonnes of attacking football in this squad.

      Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Nani, Wilfred Zaha, Shinji Kagawa, Adnan Januzaj, Jesse Lingard and Chicharito. We have a wealth of talent.

      Giggs needs to move on to coaching.

      Valencia needs to move to right back.

      Youngs needs to move to another club.

  43. The_Philosopher

    10 September 2013 at 11:27

    You know I have to be honest. After much thought I’m starting to wonder about Ferguson’s liking of Welbeck.

    Welbeck injects a lot of energy into our play. He harasses the opposition and runs around giving defenses tonnes of problems.

    But is he particularly skillful?

    Take away his energy and will his game be good enough to make it onto the pitch?

    All I’m questioning is this. Was Ferguson lazy in deciding to up the tempo of our style of play?

    When Berbatov started seeing truck loads of bench time Ferguson said it was because we as a team were increasing the tempo of our play. And Berbatov’s languid style was no longer congruent with the squad’s new approach.

    But isn’t that the easy way out? “We can’t out play you so we’re going to out run you”

    This high tempo high intensity game lends itself to the workman like performances we’ve seen of late. Happy with the grinding out of results. The constant 1-0 victories.

    But isn’t that now the death of the beautiful game? This mechanical style.

    Isn’t Ferguson admitting that he is just too tired/lazy to try figure out another style of play.

    So now Moyes (Ferguson’s mini me) is following suit.

    Its like this one time when I went to a struggling restuarant. Every dish was so sweet right from the starters all the way through to desert. The meat was sweet. The salad was sweet. Everything.

    It took me up until the end of the meal to figure out what was going on. These guys we’re saying “We don’t have any good chefs so we’re gonna put sugar in everything so that it will taste nice”

    By deciding to just up the tempo and out run and out work your opponent aren’t you saying “We have no idea how to play good football so we’re just gonna work harder than you so we can win”

    Its this kind of thinking that I suspect is behind the abuse and subsequent exit of Berbatov. And more recently the neglect of Kagawa.

    Adnan Januzaj probably doesn’t stand a chance because he isn’t the strongest or fastest player around so his skillful wizardry will get overlooked for a clunky more mobile player like Welbeck.

    • Redrich

      11 September 2013 at 04:13

      @The_Philosopher: How can you say that?
      Ferguson never put sugar in his wine, his Haggis, on any defeat that he suffered or on any contentious relationship he had.
      Mate, their was no sugar in SAF’s pantry. All salt and vinegar. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  44. The_Philosopher

    10 September 2013 at 13:30

    Have the Red Rants writers gone on strike?

    Its been awful quiet of late.

    “I confess I was a little worried when I went on as substitute, with us 2-1 behind and down to 10 men,’ added Nani. ‘But then Ronaldo took over and helped us secure a really important win that keeps us in the running for top place in the group.”

    These are the words of Nani after Portugals game against Northern Ireland.

    Nani was nervous about coming on against Ireland because his team was 2-1 down. This guy doesn’t believe in himself.

    What football player in the world would worry if they had Nani’s ability?

    Ronaldo was probably not worried. That guy just wins.

  45. Redrich

    11 September 2013 at 03:48

    Kagawa frustrated by Moyes’ stance. OK. United fans frustrated at Kagawa’s efforts. Well most of us anyway.

    Can I be the first to say that the overall impression of his first season was that it was either filled with injury, or performances that were filled with efforts to avoid injury. Shinji does not like to make contact and, obviously, doesn’t like to get injured.

    Moyes frustrated with his efforts in training, more like!

  46. Stephen

    11 September 2013 at 09:12

    “I fear for him because I think he’s a very genuine package – trouble is, his wholesomeness might not serve him well in this league”
    Beautifully written Rich, couldn’t put it better myself.

  47. Jay Wire

    11 September 2013 at 10:20


    Actually,you can add me to that list. It’s quite baffling to me just how much hype surrounds Phil Jones,no matter his age. I also don’t understand why he gets so much game time and why in the world he can be considered by any sane person as a midfield option. He is simply a player who applies a lot of energy and guts. A less talented Wayne Rooney. It’s all physical and energetic with him and that is where the Rooney comparison ends. No tactical discipline. Very little technical ability. What in the world is the fuss? What did Ferguson see in him that some of us are clearly missing? I’m actually puzzled.

    This is amongst the things that have really made me not to trust Moyes. I’m now beginning to understand his priorities. It’s mostly all physical. I like Welbeck but no way he should play ahead of Kagawa. I can also understand why,as The Guardian revealed,it was Moyes’ reluctance that lead to the abandoning of Thiago,whom we had been monitoring for three years. I can understand why he would prefer to go all out to get Fellaini and reject the offer of Ozil 3 weeks ago by Madrid. At Everton he played a largely physical game with players like Tim Cahill and Fellaini playing behind the striker,who was Yakubu or Vaughn or some other physical presence, With players like Gravesen and Phil Neville amongst his midfield enforcers. I have a strong suspicion that Fellaini is going to play behind RvP and this is most likely the reasoning behind the peripheral role that Kagawa has played so far. In fact zero appearances. Which means,it’s likely he will be behind all -action favorites,Rooney and Fellaini for that SS or trequartista role. I don’t see DM dropping Cleverely anytime soon and can’t see how a Fellaini-Carrick will work fluently or maybe I just don’t see much art in it. More like functional. Moyes used Fellaini in the hole mostly while at Everton and Belgium has started doing the same. But in the Champions League we will be found out. You need precision and skill in the tactical warfare of Champions League and Rooney can’t provide the required very high levels of these traits. Fellaini may bulldoze through but is likely to incur massive fouls if he is played in this role,because he will be up against multi talented theatric performers like Busquets,skillful anchors like Javi Martinez and all action players like Vidal.

    I certainly don’t want United to play ugly unimaginative football,for obvious reasons,but also because you get frustrated,by the skillful pass and move super clubs like BvB,any Spanish club,Munich,well to be honest pretty much every opponent you face on the continent. That’s when you need to combine the ruthless technique of RvP, cerebral movement and passing of Kagawa with the unpredictable explosiveness of Nani and Rooney. But from what I see,I think Moyes is not the “thinking coach”, that can combine these dynamic players into a sophisticated system. That’s why all the talk was about “this team can win the Premier League” etc etc. Nothing about the Champions League which is the one we have struggled to retain. And which is one we ought to work towards.Clearly Moyes is being very cautious and I believe he has said absolutely nothing about the Champions League since he came. He has a long way to go before he can prove his worth but for me a Manchester United manager should be judged on their competence via the Champions League. Pep,Mourinho,Klopp,Ancelloti are the top technocrats in football right now because of their performances in the Champions League and also their influence in every year on how the competition is played. Is it tiki taka,is it counter attack is it high field pressing or a wonderful combo of all. They dictate the tactics that determine the football that everyone has to play. Can we trust DM to react accordingly or to have the self belief,arrogance and confidence to make his mark on the continent,because newsflash,you are the manager of Manchester freakin United. We expect the club to not only gun for the Premiership,but for the Champions League trophy,every season. No excuses. The transfer policy should reflect this ambition. The tactics should reflect this ambition. The team selection should reflect this too.

    With all this, I can’t say definitevely,Moyes is the right calibre,simply based on what he has done and neglected to. There is no excuse for transition so we should not give him any room to breathe. He declared that this team is good enough to win the league,so we don’t take excuses. Pep went from Reserve football to a treble in his first year. Klopp led BvB to two titles and a CL final in less than five years. AvB won Europa and Liga trophies in his debut season at Porto if I am not mistaken. Conte led Juventus to two league titles and successive quarter final spots from his first season. So I’m sorry,I am not prepared to handle Moyes with care because he actually had it better,because according to general consensus esp amongst his peers,he has been auditioning for this job “all his life”. It’s time to prove yourself or be gone.

    P.S. It’s not all about trophies. We are United and we play with style

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