Another late goal at Old Trafford in the game against Southampton yesterday afternoon, but unfortunately for United the celebrations took place in the South-east corner of the ground.
Manchester United capped off another sloppy performance by conceding an 89th minute equalizer, adding to David Moyes’ problems, those of which include not only his team’s league position and points tally, but his inability to gain some consistency and ultimately win over the United fans.
United have played four home games this season; one win, two draws and one defeat. Last season they only dropped points at home on three occasions, three defeats, one of which was against Chelsea when the league had already been won. However, that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story about United’s home form. Form is usually calculated by assessing the results and making a judgement on those results as a whole. However, some of United’s performances in those 16 victories at Old Trafford have resonated with the general performances that David Moyes has endured in his maiden season.
Alex Ferguson’s team lost the lead a total of eight times last season, three of which could not be overturned (Spurs and Man City were the other teams to come away with the 3 points). Fulham, Stoke, QPR, Newcastle and Southampton all scored first while visiting Old Trafford last season. These games required last-gasp winners (Javier Hernandez against Newcastle) and holding –on-for-dear-life-defending (a mix-up between De Gea and Vidic against Fulham, culminating in an own goal for the latter set up a nervy finish with Moussa Dembele running perilously at the defence).
So it is no surprise to watch United at 3pm on a Saturday against a mid-table team and watch them stutter and labour in what an accompanying match report would describe them as being “hardly vintage” and “well below-par”. The performances under Moyes at Old Trafford this season have been anything but vintage and while the dugout now houses a fresh-faced management team, watching this type of United is nothing new. United seem to have this complacency; sloppy passing, far-from-clinical finishing and the (sometimes) misconception that they’ll eventually come out on top.
While they took the lead against the Saints, they looked far from being the better team, even before Robin van Persie scored the opener. It seems to be a common theme watching United at home, particularly in these on-paper, winnable games, regardless of whether it was the master that was Ferguson or the rookie (certainly at this level) that is Moyes.
The difference in turning these games around no doubt was the presence of Sir Alex, be it a berating at half time in the dressing-room or the sheer influence of the great master on the touchline which gave the players the drive to turn things around.
Moyes clearly does not possess this fear factor to instil in his players, but this is a harsh criticism to compare this personality trait to that of Ferguson. Moyes does need this “time” thing that everyone talks about. Unfortunately for him he doesn’t have a 38-trophy haul over a 27-year period to back up his position.
United have Stoke next Saturday, a team who have scored 4 goals all season, who could hardly be given the credit of being threatening or likely to snatch something. United will need to pounce in this fixture to get some of the confidence back. There’s not a lot of so-called easy home games to spare, and with the visit of unstoppable Arsenal to come in three weeks, United could do with a home performance that will have fans beaming just like their counterparts in North London have been doing over the last number of weeks.
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