In recent weeks and months, the mere suggestion of getting behind David Moyes, or even backing one solitary decision of his, has been fervently jumped on by certain sections of the United faithful like wild dogs. It’s almost like every good thing to happen to United this season (granted there haven’t been many) has been nothing to do with the manager at all.
There’s an old saying in football that players get positive results and managers get negative ones.
However, even the most avid member of the ‘Moyes Out’ brigade must have woken this morning with a smile on their face, even though the man whose head they hunt so hungrily remains in charge. We came up against the so called best team in the world, and we came out with a positive result.
I don’t care how against Moyes you are, United achieved something last night that every team on the planet would proclaim to be a good result. Not only did they achieve that, they also did it on the backdrop of a truly disastrous domestic campaign and the anticipation of an absolute hiding.
It drew, for me, comparisons to the 2008 semi-final performance at home to Barcelona. We went into the game last night knowing exactly how Bayern would approach it and we successfully combated that approach for the entire game, bar one momentary lapse.
Granted, that momentary lapse may well cost us a place in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite competition, but we can be proud of the lads and the shift they put in last night. There is absolutely no shame in drawing with Bayern Munich, regardless of who you are, let’s not forget that.
There were some rather heroic shifts put in last night. Defensively, we were terrific. It was a back four which picked itself, thanks to injuries and suspensions, but my word they didn’t disappoint. It was like the Vidic and Ferdinand of old, they rolled back the years and certainly didn’t look out of place.
Phil Jones was his usual tenacious self. I worry that it verges on rash and reckless at times, but he did well last night and kept Ribery relatively quiet. On the other side, after a nervy start, Alexander Buttner put in a superb performance and most definitely showed he was a more than worthy replacement for Patrice Evra.
The midfield worked their socks off all night. The weakness there is clear for all to see and has been well documented. There is no one who seems capable of putting a foot on the ball and calming things down, which we could have really done with last night.
Carrick did well defensively, as did Valencia, who put in another terrific shift. Giggs didn’t quite seem up to the pace of it though and it was a brave, but ultimately, correct decision to remove him on half time for Shinji Kagawa, who looked bright.
The main blot on Moyes’ score-sheet last night came in the shape of Marouane Fellaini. He is a presence. Apart from that right now, I don’t see much else from him. He consistently lost the ball in the first half and was actually getting a bit of stick from the fans. He played a role of sorts, but it was his fault for losing Schweinsteiger for the goal.
Danny Welbeck was terrific, but will really be kicking himself for that missed opportunity. Wayne Rooney did what he had to do, however unspectacular it was.
So where does Moyes fall into all of this? Well he actually didn’t do too badly really. He set up as he needed to. If you attack Bayern, they’ll destroy you, plain and simple. It’s a philosophy he played more often than not with Everton, it’s not United’s philosophy, but if this is what we need to do to get positive results in Europe, then so be it.
Sir Alex wasn’t the most adventurous in games against the best in Europe. You have to be disciplined. If this is where David Moyes excels, it’s not going to allow him a long Manchester United career, but it appears to be giving us an extended European vacation.
I felt at the start of the season, that United could perhaps be considered dark horses for the Champions League, based on the example set by Chelsea not so long ago, proving it’s possible to be successful on foreign shores even when it’s not going your way domestically.
It’s a long shot I know, but football is a funny old game. If you need any further proof of that, looks who’s top of the league..