Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Moyes Sacked

So the inevitable has just happened. Moyes has been sacked by Manchester United. EXACTLTY one year ago we were celebrating another league title and now we’re looking at our club standing in 7th place, out of Europe and managerless. What’s very worrying is that we’ve adopted Chelsea-like tactics and fired our manager without even giving him enough time to build a team of his own. If I’m honest, I’ve got mixed feelings about this decision. The fact that United only managed 6 points against teams in the top 6 was very worrying. We didn’t even put up a fight in some of the games against the top teams. Liverpool, City, Everton and Chelsea blew us apart in our recent games. Sometimes there were games when the team played well and you’d just think that we’re improving, however, these always proved to be false dawns and a good performance was normally followed by two very poor games. What was more worrying is the fact that Moyes almost always stated that the team played well after defeats. Now that would be acceptable if it was true but usually it wasn't. In fact most of his post-defeat interviews were absurd, to say the least. So maybe I’m a bit relieved that we can look forward to another way of thought by a new manager. I’m relieved that the style of play, which was evidently not working, will go away with Moyes.

However, I feel sad for Moyes. I pity the guy. Whatever happened at our club is not entirely his fault, even though some of our fans think he’s the one and only reason why we’re in this mess. First things first, Fergie left the club in decline. Some of the players Fergie left at our club are not fit to play for a relegation struggler. For example, Anderson’s presence at the club still bemuses me. Why Fergie never replaced Scholes is a mystery. Furthermore, our midfield is an aging and poor one and anyone with half a football brain realizes that you cannot really compete against the top sides with such a midfield. Fletcher, Cleverley and Anderson combined aren’t fit to polish Yaya Toure’s right boot, nevermind go head to head against him. Carrick is a very good player but age is catching up on him now. He excelled last season but failed to dictate games this season. What was very puzzling is Fergie’s refusal to play the excellent Pogba (two years ago) and opting for the return of Scholes instead. Eventually, Pogba left on a free transfer and he’s now worth 70 odd million. Pogba is the kind of player our midfield is crying for. What about the Rooney vs Fergie mess? Moyes inherited a very difficult situation which, probably, took a lot of his time during the summer.

Fergie aside, there are other factors that led to our current situation. One of the main players in this mess is our CEO. What’s very ironic is the fact that Woodward met Moyes this morning and told him he was being fired from the post when, in reality, Woodward is as much to blame as David himself. During the summer, our club identified targets but our CEO failed to get them. What he did at the end of the transfer window was pay well over the odds for Fellaini. If I’m not mistaken, he was worth 23m in July but Woodward splashed 28m for Fellaini on deadline day. Poor business. Very poor.

The players themselves also have a lot to answer for. Some of them didn’t perform to the best of their ability. For the next manager to be successful, he’ll have to clear the deadwood first and bring in 3, at a minimum, world class, hard working, footballers. A team should be built around De Gea, Jones, Januzaj, Mata and Rooney. This quintet has a lot of potential and I expect them to flourish together in the coming seasons. Rafael, RVP, Welbeck, Smalling and Valencia ain’t half bad either. There is a good foundation for a successful football team. This will be a big big summer.

As for Moyes, it was not meant to be. Unfortunately, the final standing will define his season at Man Utd. People will fail to look at the good things the man has done for the club. True, these might be few but resolving the Roo situation will probably prove to be very important in the future. Furthermore, his willingness to involve an 18 year old Januzaj in the team was also a bold move. Yes, he has the talent and for us, now, it is obvious that he plays but Pogba also had the talent but was left to rot on the bench by a much revered manager.

So goodbye Moyes and thanks for your work ethic during the season. It didn’t work and we’ll never know whether you were able to improve the situation. The results were poor, very poor and I’d be lying if I said I was pleased. However, I always believed that Man Utd under Moyes were going to improve in the coming season but David was not given enough time. It was a year from the depths of hell but I was willing to wait for much brighter days with Moyes at the helm. I wanted him to do well. I was hoping he does well to silence his doubters. I believed in the guy but must admit that my belief in him was gradually degrading. So thanks Moyes and good luck in your next adventure.

What does this sacking mean for the immediate future? Well, the work Moyes and his team were doing to identify possible targets to play for Man Utd next season has been thrown down the drain. The new manager will probably bring his own backroom staff and this will mean that we will be prolonging the transitional period. The new manager will probably be new to everything that is Manchester United and, like Moyes, will take time to bed in. So to all the MoyesOut brigade, don't expect our team to fare much much better than this year.
A foreign manager will probably be appointed in summer. Let's hope a manager who knows what we stand for is appointed. Let's hope a manager who believes in British players is appointed. Let's hope  that whoever is appointed, does not destruct the reputation of this great club. I don't want arrogant twats at the helm. I don't want this great club to turn into a much bigger version of Chelsea. I don't want Manchester United to start firing mangers at will. I want Manchester United to be the honorable Manchester United I've grown to love, even if that does not guarantee instant success. I'm willing to wait.

TATA Moysie
(P.S. my dig at Fergie does not mean that I do not appreciate the greatness of the guy. It does not mean that I don't appreciate the years under his excellent stewardship. He is the best manager to ever grace the world. However, he is not infallible and I just think that Sir Alex could have left a better team for Moyes to work with.)
"I actually think if Sir Alex was here this year it would be difficult for Sir Alex as well, and I'm sure he'd be aware of it,"
"I think people are aware there's a squad that is a bit more aging, so I think it would have been a tough season for probably whoever was in charge of Manchester United this year."
David Moyes

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Everton 2 - 0 United

Jones Smalling Evans Buttner
Fletcher(Chicharito) Carrick
Nani(Valencia) Mata Kagawa

Well, that was very poor once again. Our players looked clueless against such a determined Everton side. On paper, Moyes put out a very attacking minded team but in reality they did little to test Howard and his defenders. I can't fathom how the likes of Nani, Mata, Kagawa and Rooney couldn't assemble a decent attack in Everton's half. We seem to be excelling against the minnows and then struggle against the top half teams. In that respect, something's mightily wrong and the management, all managers/directors at the club, will have a summer to try and put things right. If you ask me, I just don't know what is wrong. I've always been pro-Moyes, still am, but there's something in his way of play that is not working and I'm not sure whether he has any plan B, C and D. Sometimes I do wonder whether the men in power will trust Moyes with the money that the club is willing to spend this summer. If he spends a lot of money on wrong players, then we could be looking at a very gloomy future at United. Irrespective, I will stand by what the Club decides. Surely, they know better than I do about what's best for Manchester United. Don't get me wrong, I still support Moyes butI've been saying that things will get better all season long and the truth is that nothing has changed. It's also very easy blaming the coach but the players must shoulder a massive part of the blame as well. What I saw today was a team of players who look unwilling to work that extra sweat for the United cause. A major overhaul is indeed needed. 

There's nothing I can say about the game except that Everton wanted to win it more and they deservedly won the 3 points. True, the blues had more to play for but I still expected United to fight for the points at stake. I was very disappointed today. When we lost vs Bayern, I was very proud because our boys gave the Germans a run for their money. Today United went down without a fight and stuff like that really disappoints me. There are some players in that team who don't deserve to wear the red of United again. 

Three games to go and I can't wait for this season to end. It was a disastrous season and to add insult to injury, this season will churn our stomach one last time when Liverpool, in particular Luis Suarez, lifts the Premier League trophy. I think I handled United's catastrophic season brilliantly but I'm not sure I will be able to stomach Liverpool's repugnant Uruguayan dancing around Anfield with our trophy. Unless Liverpool experience an unlikely stumble of biblical proportions, they'll be crowned champions next week and that will be hard to take, especially given United's apparent downfall.

Let's hope our fall is only temporarily, let's hope United emerge out of these depths and excel to new heights next season. Whatever happens, I'll support our boys. Most of them have given us so many moments of joy that we just cannot turn our backs on them during these delicate times. Let's hope next season will be a good one and that we play some good football in our final three games this season. Come on United! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bayern 3 - 1 United

Jones Smalling Vida Evra
Valencia Carrick Fletcher(Chicharito) Kagawa
Rooney Welbeck

This morning everybody was trying to guess how many goals United were going to concede to the mighty Bayern Munich. Three, four, five, someone even said Bayern will hit SIX! We just didn't have a chance. So I watched today's game with no expectations whatsoever, I knew we were playing the best team in Europe (mind you, I don't think Bayern will win the CL...it's a gut feeling) and I just wanted United to bow out of the Champions League with a performance worthy of the great football club that we are. Our players didn't disappoint. At the end of the day we did concede three but some of our players gave their all for the red shirt and I'm very proud of them. Jones was United's man of the match, absolutely excellent. 

A moment of brilliance from Patrice Evra (of all people) did give us some time to dream, not a lot of time though, just 72 seconds. Evra hit the sweetest volley he'll ever hit in his life, probably one of this year's best CL goals, and I was going bezerk at the place where I watch United. I was about to get back to my seat when I told my friend "I think we scored too early, Bayern will up a gear now". I don't think I had finished the sentence when Bayern leveled. Those two minutes showed us the brilliance of Evra when going forward and the harsh fact that he's become shit when defending. I think he was to blame for Bayern's first. Their first goal could have easily been defended but our level of concentration decreased exponentially when Evra hit that super strike. At 1-1 Rooney had one heck of a chance to make it two but he missed and that's when we lost the game. Bayern took over, scored two and put the final nail in our season's coffin. That was our last Champions League game for, at least, another year. 

I cannot fault our performance up to the 60th minute. I can't help but think that the worst thing that happened to us tonight was indeed when we scored first with half an hour still to go. You just get the feeling that a team of Bayern's excellence will come up with a reply. They hit us at the worst time possible. Anyone who plays football knows that conceding a goal seconds after scoring one is a killer blow. To make matters worse, I thought all three goals were very defendable. Our defence didn't put a foot wrong for an hour but everything when balls up after we scored our only goal. 

The likes of Fletcher, Welbeck, Kagawa, Jones, Valencia and Smalling impressed me today. The levels of energy they put in was a joy to watch and augurs well for the future. I expect all of them to still be at the club come next August. Vidic and Evra evidently tired out as the match wore on. I was slightly disappointed with Rooney coz he could have snatched a brace today but hesitated and did what Welbeck usually does in front of goal i.e. scuffed his chances. I guess Roo was really injured and perhaps it wasn't the wisest of ideas to play him the whole game today. However, had he not started the game the Moyesout brigade would have absolutely hammered our manager. 

I like what I've seen lately from United. We bowed out of the CL with a real fight and put to the sword a couple of Premier League teams in the past weeks. I do wonder whether RVP's exclusion from the side (due to injury) has helped our team perform better since Mata and Kagawa have been playing in their ideal position. What's even more encouraging is the fact that, contrary to what these keyboard warriors like to suggest, Moyes does have a clue about tactics as he was spot on in the first leg and again in today's game. His game obviously needs some polishing but the past few performances bode well for the future. I was becoming a bit sceptic when our team lost comfortably to the likes of Chelsea, City and Liverpool. Our players looked tame in those games, however, they were fearless when they played Bayern. 

So this is the last Champions League post on this blog for the foreseeable future. Don't worry Europe, we'll be back. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Newcastle 0 - 4 United

Again, I missed United's match today because I had a league game with my local football team. That's the second match I missed this season...United scored four in both matches. Perhaps that was the problem with United this season, Moyes is not the problem, I am. I think I should give Wednesday's game a miss, maybe United would put four past Bayern! Wishful thinking. 

There's not much I can say except that all four goals were well worked out. Mata scored two and brilliantly assisted Januzaj, it's a shame the Spainiard is ineligible for our game vs Bayern. He looks like he's finally bedding in our team and we could do with his passes vs the Germans. What's very worrying is Rooney's absence today. Moyes said that he's got a toe injury. To be honest, I don't really believe our manager 100%. I think he was rested today and Moyes played some kind of mind game before Wednesday's game. Regardless of the mind game played, Bayern will still have a plan for United side with Roo in it, so it won't really affect them. Anyway, I hope Roo's not really injured and if he is, then we're in trouble. Roo is the heart of our football team. 

My thoughst on Wednesday's game? I don't think we'll go trough, Bayern are too good a side. However, it doesn't hurt to dream so come on United, give us something to shout about!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

United 1 - 1 Bayern Munich

Jones Rio Vidic Buttner
Carrick Fellaini
Valencia Giggs Welbeck

Let's all be honest, we expected to be out of the tie after today's game but hey, we're still in it! A brilliant header by Vidic put us in front but we gave away the lead after a lapse of concentration some 8 minutes later. The goal we conceded could have easily been avoided had Fellaini tracked back and marked Schweinsteiger. Anyway, it's useless crying over spilt milk. We should just be happy that our players played with the same spirit and passion that most United players had shown in the past. Well done boys!

Every player played his part, Rio and Vida rolled back the years and were immense at central defence. Jones made some important interventions. Buttner handled the Robben threat much much much much better than I expected. In fact, after that performance, I think he deserves to start the second leg as well. It's obviously highly unlikely that'll happen but anyway, I'd even play an under 18 player as long as I don't see Evra in the starting line-up. He looked disinterested this year. Fellaini was a bit of a mixed bag. His distribution was abysmal but he got stuck in and that's the main reason why we bought the guy. Still, he's got plenty of room for improvement before we can say he's a United player. Roo defended, threw himself into tackles and tried to set up team-mates... usual day at the office for him. Welbeck worked his socks off, as usual, but he did waste the best chance of the game. If only he placed in goal instead of going for the chip...

Anyhow, considering the opposition, that was definitely our best performance this season. We've played against the likes of Chelsea, City and Liverpool this season but never rose for the occasion. Today our players raised their game, avoided a potential humiliation vs Bayern and kept themselves in the tie. If our players can play like that, why didn't we play with the same drive in the EPL this year? We would surely be in a better position!

Most criticism this seasons has been directed at David Moyes and if you criticized Moyes after defeats, now you should have the decency of admitting that Moyes was tactically perfect today. He managed to hold the best football club in the world with a makeshift defence and a couple of important players missing. Well done Moyes, well done United! 

P.s Old Trafford was absolutely buzzing tonight so a big well done also goes to the supporters. We make Man Utd the biggest club in the world. No room for petty protests against Moyes, we need to stand by our players and manager and believe that we can go places in the not too distant future. Whatever happens in Munich, today's game was a real confidence booster. Come on United!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

United 4 - 1 Villa

Didn't watch the game because I had a football match with my local team. From what I've heard, United did well to bounce back from an early setback. Mata seems to have had a very good game. He scored one and won a penalty. I've seen the highlights and I think that Kagawa and Januzaj did well to assist the other goals too. Nice to see Chicharito on the scoresheet but he's surely on his way out. Roo's form is a good thing for our upcoming game. We'll need him at his prime. Anyhow, I can't really comment on the game because I didn't see it so I'll talk about the shameful act done by some muppets who flew a plane over OT calling for Moyes' head. You might not agree with the man and you might think he's not fit for the job, and that I understand, but you don't embarrass this club and its faithful fans with that stupid move! Thankfully, our supporters inside the stadium didn't approve that message and booed the plane. We've had a dreadful season but our supporters need to stand up and support our manager. What good did that message do? Moyes looks a broken man and that foolish act by a few supporters won't do our team any good. Furthermore, we've been made to look like complete twats with fans all around the word. And by the way, do you think the Glazers will sack our Scotsman? He's been given a 6 year contract because whoever advised them to offer Moyes the job, believes the man's good enough. So who are we to question the man's abilities? Sure, the showings this year might suggest he's not good enough but I believe every team above us has a better squad than we do. Get rid of the deadwood during the summer, buy a few quality players and then we'll judge Moyes. We should be patient. It was a turbulent season but I still believe someday things will revert back to normal. Unfortunately what I believe hasn't been backed by our team's showings lately but our club always bounces back and I live in hope that the United spirit will prevail once again.

Next game is vs. the champions of Europe. Will be tough and if we're going out to them, I hope we go out with a fight. Come on United! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

United 0 - 3 City

Rafael Jones Rio Evra
Cleverley(Kagawa) Carrick Fellaini(Valencia) Mata
Welbeck(Chicharito) Rooney

Late post but after the horrific football my team played today, I decided to vent my frustrations on my friend in FIFA. Three hours and 12 wins later, I'm back home to write something about today's game. Well, first things first, that was a pathetic display. I can't believe we have reduced ourselves to this level. There was no passion shown tonight and that really gets on my nerves. After those two good performances last week, albeit against average sides, the least I expected today was to give some worries to the City defense. That barely happened as we got down without a real fight.  I thought our players and management knew what went wrong against Liverpool but apparently they didn't as we repeated the same mistakes today. We only played well for 15 odd minutes during the first half when Mata and Fellaini should have scored from ideal positions but missed. After those chances Hart's role was more of a spectator than a player.

I know jack shit about tactics so I cannot really criticize the manager in that respect but I do recognize a motivated player when I see one and our players just weren't today. That motivation primarily comes from within the player but the managing staff also play an important role in pumping their players up for such games. True, there's not much to play for but a derby is a derby and I expected our players to be ready to put a dent on our neighbor's title challenge or, at the very least, put up a fight. Instead, our players looked like rabbits in headlights. Scared and clueless. That's difficult to take in, especially since we're quite used to seeing players give their all for this great club.

Any positives from the game? Yes, TWO.  
1. City could have easily scored 6 goals today and gave us a real hiding. So we should be thankful it was 'only' 3-0
2. If this win gives City the edge over Liverpool in the title race, then at least there's some sort of consolation. I hate Liverpool so much that I'd rather see City win the title for 3 years in a row than see Liverpool win a title. Can't believe I'm putting the words Liverpool, win and title in the same sentence but this Liverpool side is dangerously close to winning it this season. I hate City and I equally hate Chelsea - soulless clubs - but nothing compares to my hatred towards the red scousers. I respect their club but I just despise their fans. Deluded bunch.

Regardless, I still live in hope. I still back the manager and won't call for his head until I see that he was given enough time and funds and still failed to deliver. One season with some over-the-hill players is not enough. The likes of Evra, Rio and Vida are not good to play against top sides anymore. I'd rather see a defensively clueless Buttner play at LB than Evra. Apart from last season, he has been underperforming for a good four years now. Is it Moyes' fault that we haven't got a better LB? No, it's Fergie's. Our midfield woes? Fergie's fault. And that's the reason why I'm still hopeful Moyes tenure will turn out to be better in the near future. Time and money, that's what Moyes needs. Until then, I just can't wait for this season to end.