5 Things We Learned: Manchester United 0-1 Everton
1. The #MoyesOut mob are morons
THERE’S no point pretending that nothing’s wrong but let’s not go overboard.
Manchester United rarely lose at home but already we’ve lost twice at home this season, as well as two draws, in seven outings at Old Trafford.
Last night’s loss was already a fourth defeat in 14 games.
Instantly, the keyboard warriors took to Twitter and I saw a few #MoyesOut hash tags on my timeline. I listened to a few phone-ins and read lots of comments on web sites too, with a lot of disillusioned fans claiming David Moyes should be sacked and that he’s not the man for our team.
If you have opinions, that’s fine, and there are obviously numerous fans who didn’t want Moyes in the first place, but your vocal opposition to him now is not helping.
United are the biggest club in the country. We’re a class above the rest. We’re not Manchester City and Chelsea who have hired and fired managers with such regularity in recent years that they’re dangerously close to being a real life representation of that in play manager sackings advert from Paddy Power.
We don’t boo our team when they don’t perform and we don’t sack a manger four months into the season – especially one who’s brave enough to step into the shoes of the club’s most successful manager of all time.
Moyes is just starting his project, beginning to mould his own squad and imprint himself on the club. There’s going to be ups and downs.
Our success of the last two decades has turned us fans into the pampered primadonas that the beautiful game is littered with today.
Shame on you if you don’t want to support the team in good times and bad.
And just who else would these clowns like us to replace Moyes with if he was to get the sack, or resign? Who would you like to come and ‘rescue’ us at this point from your so-called crisis? Alan Curbishley? Iain Dowie? Harry Redknapp?
United fans in the last 20 odd years have been spoilt and in this period of unquestionable transition it’s time to keep the faith and believe, not turn against the team and new manager.
2. United’s aura has gone
WITH Ferguson’s retirement, gone too is the cloak of invincibility that Ferguson’s United teams donned.
Moyes has triggered a new era at Old Trafford and he needs to create his own aura.
On the playing side hardly anything’s changed. This is still the same squad that won the league by 11 points last season, so we’ve not become a worse team all of a sudden.
Our form this season is a reflection of the changes behind the scenes.
With United in transition, we’re the weakest we’ve been in a while and teams will and are exploiting that.
Moyes, despite all the doubters, is a brilliant manager, and I have faith that he will be successful.
But that cocksure swagger with which we used to play under Ferguson is definitely not there right now.
His teams were famed for late goals but you never really sensed United were going to equalise after Bryan Oviedo scored last night.
There was no charge of the light brigade after that, United hardly touched the ball.
Moyes needs his team to rediscover their confidence or before too long we really are going to be out of the title race.
3. Our Achilles heel
MIDFIELD has long been a cause for concern and especially when Michael Carrick isn’t playing in it, but whereas Ferguson’s sheer will was probably enough to carry our weakest link through games, under Moyes teams are well aware where they need to and can attack us.
No-one seems to be able to impose themselves in that engine room.
Marouane Fellaini was bought to add some steal into the middle of the park but he’s played so far very much like a player in awe of his new surroundings.
We’ve got some tidy, reliable and experienced midfielders, but we haven’t got anyone who’s going to dominate games or scare opponents.
Even Roberto Martinez said his team played last night with an arrogance.
Teams, playing with arrogance…at Old Trafford? Unheard of. Away teams never even used to be able to even believe they could beat us at home.
With Ferguson gone, so has the fear factor.
Ross Barkley, Gareth Barry and James McCarthy had the freedom of Old Trafford last night for large spells, exploiting ruthlessly the gaping hole in our midfield.
When I compare our midfield to the other top sides, I am envious, but I’m not disheartened.
We’re not completely devoid of talent in there and I take umbrage with the criticism of some players.
Fellaini’s certainly not pulled up any trees but at a big club like United I’ll allow for the fact he needs to acclimatize.
Everytime we lose and Giggs plays, critics drag out the grandad card – even though they were waxing lyrical when he was immense last week against Leverkusen.
Yes his powers are waning, he’s just turned 40 for Christ’s sake. He career is in the dying embers but he’s still a superb player, our last European game proved that.
I’ve long decided that Anderson is living on borrowed time. Fitness and injury issues have plagued him admittedly but he’s done depressingly in in the SIX years he’s been here.
I remain a fan of Cleverley, but I readily admit that if he doesn’t impress himself more on this team or make more of an impact before the end of the season, the his time could be up too.
After all, he’s not a young whippersnapper still wet behind the ears, he’s 24, although he does only have just over 50 appearances for United, over 100 less than Anderson.
I don’t see the need for drastic, sweeping changes, but Moyes definitely needs to bring a midfielder in January.
When Carrick’s fit, he brings stability, but we need someone alongside him with flair, craft, stamina and an eye for goal to start attacks and hurt teams.
It’s not a crisis but the midfielders we have either need time to settle, can’t be relied on to go on forever or are simply failing to perform.
4. David de Gea needs a settled defence in front of him
IN HIS early days at the club, the Spaniard attracted a lot of criticism and you wonder whether the back four had full confidence in him.
Roles have dramatically now been reversed and you wonder if he has confidence in the men in front of him.
De Gea has gone from being an expensive flop deemed not to possess either the physical or mental toughness for the Premier League to one of the world’s most promising young goalkeepers.
Aside from Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, he’s very close to breaking into that world class player bracket, with Barcelona sniffing around him.
It’s certainly not helping Moyes that he can’t field a regular back four, either because he can’t decide on his preferred collection or because of injuries.
Rio Ferdinand’s back has to be monitored, Nemanja Vidic in into his thirties, while Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones have all had their injury troubles.
Rafael has been injured for a part of this season too and Smalling has had to fill in for him – and has done a superb defensive job I have to add this season.
Patrice Evra continues to be a threat going forward and from set pieces, but he’s not the player he was, yet Moyes doesn’t really have a suitable alternative.
I’d love for Moyes to find a settled centre back partnership and give them a run.
That would help De Gea and it would certainly help the team.
5. Superman needs some help
WAYNE Rooney’s been in absolutely stunning form this season but he can’t win all our points.
Other players need to take the attacking burden off him or at least slacken it.
Our strategy in games so far this season largely seems to be give the ball to Rooney and see what happens.
He’s a terrific player and he’s had a new lease of life under Moyes, but with the likes of Fellaini failing to make an impact so far, as well as Cleverley and Anderson, the drastic decline of Ashley Young and the inconsistency of Antonio Valencia, Nani, Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez, he’s carrying the team right now, especially in the absence of Van Persie.
Even when the Dutchman returns, a team challenging for trophies needs regular goals from a supporting cast to support their leading men.
Last season, much was made of Van Persie’s goals and we were labelled a one man team.
In truth we had lots of goal scoring contributors.
When Ferdinand volleyed in the winner against Swansea City in the penultimate game, he became our 21st different scorer of the campaign.
We had more goal scorers last year than in any other Premier League season.
So far this season, 13 players have found the net and after Rooney and Van Persie (10 each), the next highest is Hernandez with four.