It may seem to Manchester United fans that Murphy’s Law has continually enforced itself on a season that many cannot wait to see end. After 31 games, United lie seventh in the Premier League table, 18 points behind league leaders Chelsea and 12 away from that coveted Champions League spot.
Fingers (and abuse) from all directions have been directed to the man in the hot seat: the Chosen One a.k.a David William Moyes. At Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game in charge, the Scot urged fans to “stick by their new manager” through thick and thin. Problem is, Moyes has looked clearly out of depth at Old Trafford so far, making it hard for fans to sing his name and stand by him.
Moyes inherited a squad that clinched the title with such panache last term, but that same team, plus Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata, are now the butt of jokes for rival teams and are mostly “there for the taking,” according to Spurs boss Tim Sherwood.
So what has gone wrong? The defeat to Manchester City on Tuesday and Liverpool last weekend cemented all doubts fans had about Moyes. It was not the defeat per se, but the way United performed against arguably their two fiercest rivals – the lack of creativity, desire and most glaringly, the lack of confidence.
This unfortunate season has certainly raised doubts on whether Moyes is the right man to continue the steady flow of silverware the club has amassed under Ferguson.
Publically, the board continues to back their manager but with the recent spate of abject losses and the potential exit from Europe by German juggernauts Bayern Munich, something may have to give way. Or will it?
Ironically, based on away form alone, United would be right at the summit. Yes, top of the “Away Games Only” league, if something like that exists. Thirty of United’s 51 points so far have come from their travels – a real oddity, with fans who are used to seeing how ruthless the Red Devils are in their own backyard.
What does that tell you about Moyes’s tactics? Why are United better away from home? There are a number of reasons that we can speculate upon, but the real answers will come only if Moyes is given more time (unfortunately).
I have no doubt Moyes is a good manager. His record at Everton speaks for itself; however, the jury is still out if he is the right manager for a club like United.
To be fair, his acquisition of Mata, Fellaini and the way he handled contract rebel Wayne Rooney proved he still has the dressing room in his hands. There were also glimpses of the United of old at West Ham and Bayer Leverkusen – some promise for United fans to hold on to – but with over 600 million fans globally scrutinising your every move, your interviews and your team sheets, I can only hope the excuse of “club in transition” and Moyes’s woeful record-tarnishing achievements never see the light of day ever again.
Our season has already ended. Let’s start working for next term now.